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Canes strike early and often in 7-4 defeat of Oilers

El Nino tallies twice as the Hurricanes blow through Edmonton

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Edmonton Oilers Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes put together one of their best offensive efforts of the season in Sunday night’s 7-4 pasting of the Edmonton Oilers to begin the Western Canada road trip that will close out the first half of the NHL calendar. Petr Mrazek was the recipient of offensive explosion, stopping 17 of the 21 shots he faced in net.

Offensive standouts were available up and down the lineup and were on hand immediately, as newcomer Nino Niederreiter notched his first goal as a Hurricane to open the scoring less than 30 seconds into action. Andrei Svechnikov made it 2-0 shortly after at the 6:35 mark of the first with a tip on what was originally credited as a goal for Jaccob Slavin. Then, Niederreiter poured in another after chasing down a deflected stretch pass below the goal line and returning to the front of the net at just over 11 minutes into the first period, sending Cam Talbot packing in favor of Mikko Koskinen after allowing three goals on 15 early shots. Canes penalty trouble, including a brief five-on-three, provided Edmonton with opportunities to strike back. Just before the end of the first, the Oilers struck back as Brandon Manning snapped one past Mrazek on a solid feed from Connor McDavid.

Early in the second following a few quality chances for the Oilers, who appeared to have life following their late first period goal, the Canes got the goal back to make it 4-1 as Brock McGinn beat Koskinen. Zach Kassian attempted to jolt some energy into his mates and the crowd with a hit and a few jabs to Jordan Martinook which, incredibly, didn’t draw a call.

Moments later, after Sebastian Aho drew a trip away from the puck, the Canes made the penalty pay as Lucas Wallmark took a beautiful entry and feed from Svechnikov to push the lead to 5-1. The action settled for almost 15 minutes through the rest of the second period, until Martinook provided a nifty redirect of a shot-pass from Warren Foegele. Finally, just as the period was coming to a close, Leon Draisaitl converted another late-period tally for the Oilers on a two-on-one that was created after a Cane defenseman collided with the linesman in the neutral zone, making the score 6-2 heading to the third period.

With a comfortable 6-2 in hand for Carolina, the Oilers got to work early on the deficit as Kassian got a deflection on a Matt Benning shot from the blueline just 14 seconds into the final period, making it 6-3. The push continued for the Oilers as they forced back-to-back powerplays, culminating in Draisaitl’s second goal of the game cutting it to 6-4 with under 13 minutes remaining. Alas, the Canes were finally able to settle the action a bit as they continued to drain the clock inside three minutes, nursing their two-goal lead. From there, Wallmark applied the exclamation point empty netter at 17:38 of the third period to provide the final marker.

In the victory, the Canes managed to play to a 1-1 draw on special teams, despite the Oilers having three additional opportunities. Four Canes - Aho, Slavin, Svechnikov and Wallmark - tallied three point nights. The Hurricanes will stay in Alberta as they head to Calgary for a reunion with former coach Bill Peters, not to mention Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin and Derek Ryan, on Tuesday night.