EDMONTON OILERS (4-4-1) at
CAROLINA HURRICANES (5-2-2)
Start Time: 1:08 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Hurricanes Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR SATURDAY
The Edmonton Oilers look to end a five-game winless skid in a place that's probably familiar to all Oilers fans - RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Saturday afternoon will be only the second time that the Oilers have played in Raleigh since dropping Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006. They played there this past January, dropping a 7-2 decision to the Hurricanes.
The Oilers are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators to fall to 0-4-1 in their last five games. Sheldon Souray
scored the lone goal in that game. The team is currently on a season-high seven-game road trip with Saturday's game being the second.
Carolina just completed their longest road trip of the season - a six-game cross-country trip versus the Kings, Ducks, Penguins, Islanders, Canadiens and Blues that saw them go an impressive 3-1-2. In their most recent outing, the 'Canes eked out a 1-0 win over St. Louis.
This is the only meeting of the season between the Oilers and Hurricanes.
Just The Facts...
Dwayne Roloson will be starting in goal this afternoon for the Oilers.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Former Carolina Hurricane Erik Cole will be in the spotlight Saturday afternoon for good reason. Cole played six seasons for the Hurricanes and ranks seventh in Hurricanes history (since 1997-98) in games played (418), sixth in points (280), third in goals (129), sixth in assists (151), sixth in power play goals (32) and tied for first in hat tricks (4).... Dustin Penner
is expected to slot in alongside Ales Hemsky
and Shawn Horcoff
on Saturday, reuniting that line for the first time this season. Moreau, Pisani and Cole will remain together which means the Kid Line is back as well (Nilsson, Gagner, Cogliano).
HURRICANES TO WATCH:
At the top of the Hurricanes leaderboard is two familiar faces. Eric Staal has four goals and seven points in nine games to lead the club. Right behind him is Rod Brind'Amour with four goals and six points... Fort Saskatchewan's Ray Whitney is off to a strong start with five assists and six points so far this season.
Edmonton – Jason Strudwick
(shoulder) is doubtful; Carolina – Joni Pitkanen (knee) is out. Brandon Sutter (concussion) is out. Frantisek Kaberle (fractured leg) is out. Scott Walker (hand) is out. Justin Williams (achilles tendon) is out.
Carolina was 5-2-2 in October, tying the 1996-97 Hartford Whalers for the second-best October in franchise history... Saturday marks the 63rd all-time meeting, and the lone 2008-09 meeting, between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers. Including their time as the Hartford Whalers, the 'Canes have a 19-31-12 all-time, regular-season record against the Oilers, including a 12-11-7 home record and a 7-20-5 record in Edmonton... Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette is two wins shy of tying John Tortorella (239) for first on the list of wins by American-born NHL head coaches.
Cole looking forward to Raleigh return
- Erik Cole was playing a friendly round of golf with Carolina Hurricanes teammate Justin Williams at the time his NHL career took a sudden turn. It was a phone call from good friend Mike Commodore, in fact, that tipped him off. ...more
The Other Side
- Hurricanes, Cole meet again - Only nine games in to a new stage of his career, Erik Cole is back in Raleigh to face the only team he knew prior to this season. The Hurricanes and Oilers face off Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET ...more
- The Hurricanes Report: Episode 2 - In the second edition of the Hurricanes report, we discuss the team's recent road trip, the defensive pairing of Dennis Seidenberg and Niclas Wallin, Sergei Samsonov, the return of Erik Cole and more | Listen | ...more
- Hurricanes Update with Jim Rutherford - In an exclusive interview with CanesVision online, Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford discusses the team's recent road trip, injuries, the team's general play so far and more ...more
Odds and Ends
- Christmas Pack Priority Draw Now Open - The Edmonton Oilers have released details on their 2008 Christmas Packs. The Priority Draw is now open for your chance to purchase the packs. Follow the link to view the options and register for the Priority Draw! ...more
- The LINK: Rookies, ICE School and HNIC - In today's episode of The LINK, host Crystal Leriger intros features on a behind-the-scenes look at the Oilers Rookie Tournament, ICE School and HNIC anthem winner Colin Oberst. ...more
- My 5 with Ladislav Smid - If you haven't tried the Czech delicacy svickova, don't ask Ladislav Smid to prepare it for you. Check out what else he refuses to eat, along with his Top 5 in three other categories. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
The reason for the Edmonton Oilers' losing streak is pretty simple according to coach Craig MacTavish - his team is not scoring enough goals.
The Oilers again try to get their sputtering offense back on track as they look to avoid dropping their sixth straight game when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
After opening the season with four wins - its best start since winning its first five games in 1985-86 - Edmonton (4-4-1) has recorded just one point in its last five contests.
The Oilers opened a season-high seven-game road trip Thursday with a 3-1 loss to Nashville as Sheldon Souray tallied the lone goal, his second of the season.
Edmonton's offense got off to a solid start to the season, scoring 13 goals during the winning streak, but the team's scored just five times during the skid.
"I have seen it enough to know that we have to be more productive," MacTavish said. "A constant for us has been missed shots. We are not producing offensively. It's that simple."
The Oilers, who have not lost six straight games since Dec. 18-31, have not been to the playoffs since falling to the Hurricanes (5-2-2) in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals.
In their first trip back to Carolina since losing Game 7 of the finals, the Oilers suffered a 7-2 defeat on Jan. 18. Edmonton is 1-3-0 with two ties all-time at Carolina.
While the Oilers' offense is slumping, goaltender Mathieu Garon has also not been as sharp lately. Garon stopped 22 shots Thursday, and has yielded 13 goals in losing his last three games after allowing six in winning his first three.
Backup Dwayne Roloson has been playing better, stopping 66 of 70 shots in his two appearances. He was saddled with a loss in each of those outings, though, as Edmonton failed to score in either game.
Garon is 1-2-0 with a 3.14 goals-against average and a shutout against the Hurricanes. He allowed six goals in 53 minutes before being pulled in their meeting in January.
Roloson is 2-4-0 with a 2.56 GAA in eight career games versus Carolina.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 1-0 win over St. Louis on Thursday to finish their road trip 3-1-2. Left wing Tuomo Ruutu scored the game-winner, as he deflected a slap shot by Eric Staal from just inside the left circle at 9:41 of the third period.
Cam Ward made it stand up with 19 saves for his seventh career shutout.
"That's probably one of the best defensive games that I've seen us play in my three years," said Ward, who improved to 2-0-1 with a 1.62 GAA in his last three games after opening the season 1-1-1 with a 3.29 GAA. "That's a compliment to the guys. They worked really hard."
Ward, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in the 2006 playoffs, made 16 saves in the win over the Oilers in January.
Staal, who leads the Hurricanes with four goals and seven points, recorded a hat trick in that game.