The Carolina Hurricanes’ recent problems suddenly look trivial compared to those of the Edmonton Oilers.
The Hurricanes enter their Thursday home game against the Oilers coming off a shutout loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers on Wednesday and having scored only one goal over the past two games.
In their last game, the Oilers saw a teammate sustain an injury that set off alarms around the team and the NHL in general. Now, Edmonton will try to demonstrate a strong mental approach amid a four-game, East Coast trip.
Oilers left winger Evander Kane skated off the ice with a wrist injury that required emergency medical attention because of a cut that resulted in considerable loss of blood Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
The injury to Kane, which occurred while he was down and Lightning forward Pat Maroon skated over his wrist, was scary in nature and will result in him missing at least three months of action.
“Evander is a real popular teammate and he’s an important piece of our team,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said.
Despite Kane’s injury, Edmonton beat Tampa Bay 3-2. The Oilers had been a bit off their game before that, losing three straight. The remedy for some of their recent missteps?
“It’s nice to show we can play a little bit of defense,” center Conor McDavid said.
And with that, there’s a renewed sense of confidence.
“It has taken a little while for us to get it back on the rails,” Woodcroft said. “That’s a credit to our players for digging in and finding a way.”
To take Kane’s place, the Oilers called up Klim Kostin and Mattias Janmark from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League.
As for the Hurricanes, getting right back to work in the second game of a back-to-back set may be a good thing.
“Flush this one down the toilet,” Hurricanes defenseman Dylan Coghlan said of the loss to Florida.
Carolina had forward Jack Drury in the lineup for the first time this season after calling him up from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. He won six of eight faceoffs.
“He was a bright spot for me,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I tried to bump him up a bit (in the lineup) because he was going. But really, we had too many guys that we need to play well that didn’t up front. That’s not going to work.”
Edmonton has split its first two games of a four-game trip to face Eastern Conference foes. In the Tuesday win at Tampa Bay, former Carolina forward Warren Foegele produced a short-handed goal, his first goal of the season.
“His start (to the season) didn’t go how he wanted statistically,” Woodcroft said. “We felt good about him being on the ice.”
Perhaps that will mark a turnaround for what the Oilers can do with their penalty killing. Their 70.5 percent mark ranks third worst in the league.
“We’re trying new things and seeing what works,” McDavid said.
Meanwhile, the power play is going well for Edmonton, which has a league-high 17 man-advantage goals this season.
The Oilers hold a 4-1-0 road record.
Carolina is 27-7-3 against Western Conference opponents in the past two-plus seasons, marking the best winning percentage by an Eastern Conference team against the West since the start of the 2020-21 season.
The Oilers beat the Hurricanes 6-4 in Edmonton on Oct. 20. Kane had a goal in that game, and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid each notched a goal and three assists. Andrei Svechnikov produced a hat trick for Carolina in the loss.
–Field Level Media