It took only 26 seconds for the Hurricanes to swell on the Oilers. Four first period goals, all within the opening 7:19 of the opening frame set the tone and allowed the home side to cruise to victory. Sergei Samsonov, Erik Cole, Patrick Dwyer, Jeff Skinner, Chad LaRose and Joe Corvo (2) scored for Carolina, while Dustin Penner recorded the Oilers' lone tally in the third period.
It was quick, and it was painful. Just 26 seconds into Tuesday's game and the Hurricanes had already established a 1-0 lead over the visiting Oilers. Patrick Dwyer's fourth of the season set the tone and kickstarted an offensive game that sunk the Oilers in only period of play. The Oilers were unable to rebound and generate much in the way of offence once Carolina broke the brief goose-egg. As it turned out, this goal was just the appetizer for the home side as they added four more on the night to win in a rout.
It was perhaps the lone positive to take from the night, but the team's struggles in the faceoff circle appear to be improving. On this night, the Oilers won 50% of all the draws taken. Gilbert Brule had the best percentage, going 75% in the dot.
The Oilers showed a tremendous commitment to physical play on this night, recording an impressive total of 29 hits.
Trips to Carolina have yieled some unfortunate results in recent history. In two of the Oilers' past three visits to the RBC Center, they have given up seven goals against.
The Oilers and Hurricanes combined for 19 giveaways tonight. While Carolina had control for much of the night, it was still a sloppily played game on both sides.
It's a play that has victimized the Oilers a number of times this season, and the sequence certainly gets magnified when the penalty kill is struggling. Carolina's second goal of the night came on the powerplay when Eric Staal found a seem in the high slot to a wide-open Hurricane; his slap-pass connected with former Oiler Erik Cole, while goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was unable to corral the perfectly-placed deflection. The goal put Carolina up 2-0 and set a deeper tone to an already disappointing start for the visitors.
Unfortunately for Oilers fans, strong performances from Eric Staal hold an emotional connection due to his heroics in the spring of 2006. Staal continued his strong start to the 2010-11 season with a four-point (all assists) night against the Oilers; a team-high that led his club to an impressive offensive outburst. Staal's patience and elite decision making were especially difficult for the Oilers to handle on the penalty kill, which operated at a mere 50% efficiency tonight.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk got his first action since his start in Columbus on October 28th. While the circumstances in which he was given the opportunity to play weren't ideal, it was valuable ice-time for the young netminder that he responded to in a big way. After Khabibulin was pulled early in the first period, Dubnyk came in and played exceptionally well; stopping 31 of 34 Carolina shots and keeping further damage to a minimum.
While there wasn't any one particular hit that stood out on this night, the Oilers were imposing an all-encompassing physical game all night long. Theo Peckham's return to the lineup shouldn't have gone unnoticed, as the physical blueliner racked up an impressive six hits vs. Carolina to add to an already solid season total. Peckham's efforts weren't enough to change the score of tonight's game, but his addition to the lineup is an important aspect of the team's physical game moving forward.
The RBC Center hasn't been a friendly place for Oilers since their surprise visit to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006. In two of the last three visits to Carolina, the Oilers have given up seven goals against. On January 18th 2008, the Oilers fell 7-2 on a night where Eric Staal, the second star in tonight's game, had another all-star performance.
"I saw a team that, because we didn't get a penalty call and a powerplay on the ice, decided that the world was against them tonight. You can't win that way. Bottom line."
- Head Coach Tom Renney on the loss to Carolina
Thursday, November 11 at Detroit 5:30 p.m. MT (Sportsnet EDM/630 CHED)
Having gone 1-1-0 in the first two games of the marathon road trip, the Oilers now travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings in the first half of a back-to-back set. The Oilers will be looking to get back on track and improve on their .500 trip record so far.