In exactly the kind of energetic and exciting you might expect from a game that contained the young star power of a matchup between the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers, the Canes emerged victorious in their opening game of a five-game road trip as they downed the Oilers 6-3. Five different Canes scored on the evening, while 11 different Canes made their way onto the scoresheet with at least one point.
To begin to set the tone, Sebastian Aho stayed hot following his five-point game on Saturday to begin the scoring with a stuff from the doorstep just over four minutes into action to give the Canes the early 1-0 lead, his 100th career NHL goal. Just minutes after the Aho tally, the Canes survived a penalty kill situation created as Julien Gauthier was sent to the box on his first shift after committing a hook in the offensive zone, offering a golden opportunity to the high-powered Oilers power play. The penalty kill was put to the test again with just over six minutes remaining in the first period as this time Nino Niederreiter was sent off on an offensive zone infraction.
After the Canes killed his penalty, Niederreiter drew his own penalty, then capitalized on the man advantage as he tipped one past Mikko Koskinen to extend the Canes lead to 2-0. With the period drawing to a close, Zack Kassian was sent away for interference with just 10 seconds remaining. That was more than enough time for the Canes, as they closed out a phenomenal period with Ryan Dzingel snapping a power play goal home from the left circle to push the lead to 3-0 after the first period.
As the action wore on into the second period the Canes continued to produce chances early, but it was Edmonton who dented the scoreboard first in the period as Kassian fought his way to the front of the net and poked home a rebound to get the Oilers back into the game at 3-1. The goal gave the Oilers a burst of energy as the period neared the midpoint, but Reimer stood tall to maintain the two-goal advantage. Eventually, the Canes reclaimed control of the play, even though they did not score in the second, and due to that they carried their two-goal lead into the third period.
Nursing a two goal lead, Jaccob Slavin committed an uncharacteristic mistake just 20 secons into the final period as he flipped a puck on edge into the netting for a delay of game penalty, providing the Oilers a prime chance to cut into the lead. Compounding the task, Teuvo Teravainen received the gate just 38 seconds into the man advantage to push it to a five-on-three advantage.
The adversity continued, as the Oilers were awarded a penalty shot after Brett Pesce was called for covering the puck with his hand in the crease. The Canes somehow dodged that bullet without even facing a shot as Connor McDavid inexplicably lost control of the puck on the penalty shot. Nevertheless, the Oilers eventually clawed back one goal as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tapped home a pass from Leon Draisaitl with just eight seconds remaining in power play time.
All in all, escaping that trio of mistakes with a lead intact was a victory for Reimer en company. The Oilers continued their push after the penalties, however, and with just over five minutes of action completed, the Canes lead was completely erased as Kassian again won a battle to the front of the net and scooped home a puck on a delivery by McDavid from behind the net to tie the score at 3-3.
Starting from scratch again after building a three goal lead in the first period, the Canes continued to be pressed hard by the Oilers. But with one mighty rush up ice, the Canes got the puck deep on a wing drive from Andrei Svechnikov, and as a loose puck made its way towards the point, Jordan Martinook, fresh onto the ice from a change, took control and wristed one past Koskinen to again provide the Canes with an advantage at 4-3.
After retaking the lead, Kassian, who played with an edge all evening, went a bit too far as he face-washed Reimer after the netminder froze the puck in the crease. A scrum ensued, but the end result was Kassian heading to the box. Once again provided with a man advantage, the Canes cashed in for the third time on the evening as Aho fought his way to the front and directed his second goal of the night home on a hard feed from Svechnikov to make the score 5-3.
The Canes would break the Oilers’ back just minutes later as Dougie Hamilton faked a dump-in from the red line and wired an impressive strike past Koskinen, who had cheated out of the crease anticipating the dump-in that never came. Having reclaimed their three-goal advantage, the Canes ultimately claimed victory as they doubled up the Oilers 6-3.
Reimer put together a very solid effort in a contest that featured numerous quality chances on each side, as he turned away 33 shots. His positioning was on point most of the evening, and his timely work allowed his team to reassert themselves on a couple of different occasions.
The Canes return to the ice in Vancouver on Thursday as their tour of western Canada continues.