The Edmonton Oilers are riding a four-game winning streak as they kick off a crucial six-game homestand with a Wednesday clash against the Carolina Hurricanes.
After a horrid start to the season, the Oilers finally appear to be finding their stride, having won seven of their past 10 games.
"We still have some work to do to at least get to .500," Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl said. "This is a great chance to be home, feel comfortable and try to crawl our way back into it."
The Oilers also have an opportunity to exact a bit of revenge against the Hurricanes. Since their last meeting, a 6-3 Carolina home victory on Nov. 22, the Oilers have been perfect while outscoring their opponents 20-7 in the four wins (not counting the extra "point" for a shootout victory).
"I think we've tightened things up defensively, especially off the rush, and then I think the special teams lately have been really good," Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch said of his team's changes since the last game against Carolina.
The Oilers must hit a reset button. They have not played since Thursday, when they earned a 3-1 road victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
"We're on a bit of a roll, so in general I think we probably would have liked to keep playing to keep the rhythm up," said Draisaitl, who also noted the break was an opportunity for players to rest and tend to injuries. "But we're going to get back at it (Wednesday)."
It also was an opportunity to reinforce what Knoblauch has been trying to implement since taking the head-coaching job on Nov. 12.
"As the week went on, practices got a little more precise, a little shorter, a little more intensity," Knoblauch said. "We touched on some things, offensive zone, forecheck, our systems. We wanted to touch on everything and get our guys a lot of puck touches. ... We'll see if we did a good job."
The Hurricanes arrive in Edmonton after opening a six-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to the Jets on Monday.
As disappointed as Carolina was with the result, it was one of those games that could have gone either way. After all, the Hurricanes outshot Winnipeg 15-3 in the first period and 14-6 in the third en route to firing 43 shots on goal.
"We played a good game. That's a really good team," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I thought we pretty much dominated the first period, and we were down one. That's just the way it goes sometimes. We weren't able to find the back of the net. I thought the middle period was pretty even, and in the third period we were pretty good.
"We had a lot of opportunities, again, we just weren't able to find the back of the net."
The loss snapped Carolina's streak of four games in which it earned at least one point, yet it still leaves the club on a 5-2-1 run.
That said, the Hurricanes also know they must do a better job of burying their scoring chances. They were blanked on three power-play opportunities against the Jets and have scored with the man advantage in only one of their past five games.
"We always get a lot of shots, and we don't give up that many shots," Carolina center Martin Necas said. "And when we do, they're Grade A (chances) and that's tough on goalies. We've just got to figure that out because it happens a lot this season in games like that."
--Field Level Media
|11/22/23||EDM 3||CAR 6||27||20||0-5||23||21||1-4|
|Carolina Off vs Edmonton Def|
|Edmonton Off vs Carolina Def|