The Carolina Hurricanes will welcome Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers for their annual visit to PNC Arena on Friday night. The Canes look to creep closer to a playoff position in the Eastern Conference as they begin a stretch of eight consecutive games against teams behind them in the NHL standings, including five at home.
The Canes received some good news yesterday as Jordan Staal returned to the practice ice for the first time in 2019, however it is unclear when he will be able to return to the lineup. For the tilt on Friday (the first of a back-to-back), the Canes will roll out a familiar lineup with Curtis McElhinney remaining in net following his win on Tuesday, with McElhinney sporting a piece of headwear.
The lineup should look like this:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Justin Williams
Micheal Ferland - Lucas Wallmark - Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Martinook - Brock McGinn
Warren Foegele - Greg McKegg - Saku Maenalanen
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Expected Scratch: Jordan Staal (IR upper-body)
The Edmonton Oilers enter PNC Arena still on the outskirts of the Western Conference wildcard picture, despite a record below .500. At 1-6-2 in their last nine games, their hopes appear to be fading as the deadline approaches. But with a roster that contains perhaps the most explosive player in the league in Connor McDavid, they remain a team that cannot be counted out in the watered down Western Conference wildcard race.
Coach Ken Hitchcock talked after the team’s morning skate on Friday and discussed what he sees in the Canes this season, particularly on their blueline and the necessity for the Oilers to get pucks behind the Carolina defense:
Coach Hitchcock says the #Oilers will need to "play a territorial game" against tonight's opponent Carolina. The bench boss also provides some lineup notes ahead of the second leg of the three-game trip. pic.twitter.com/wLsoh9JOTP— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 15, 2019
The Oilers are expected to come out with the following lines:
Leon Draisaitl - Connor McDavid - Zack Kassian
Jujhar Khaira - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jesse Puljujarvi
Milan Lucic - Brad Malone - Alex Chiasson
Tobias Rieder - Colby Cave - Ty Rattie
Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse - Kris Russell
Alex Petrovic - Kevin Gravel