The NHL is set up with five games on the board for Sunday night. One of the games on Sunday night will be between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers. Both of these teams are sitting outside the playoff picture and need to go onto a run if they want to try and secure a playoff spot before it is to late. This should lead to a good game on January 20. The puck is set to drop at Rogers Place at 9:30 PM Eastern time.
Carolina has started this season with a record of 22-20-5, which has them sitting in fifth place of the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes are sitting nine points out of the final wild card spot right now. Carolina has lost two games in a row to the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers. The Hurricanes will look to bounce back with a win on the road on Sunday night.
The Oilers have jumped out to a start of 23-22-3 this season. Edmonton is sitting in fifth place of the Pacific Division and one point outside of the playoff picture. Edmonton is coming off a loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night, which could lead to some fatigue. The had won two in a row and three of their last four before Saturday night’s loss. Edmonton will look to bounce back from the loss the night before against the Hurricanes.
Sunday night’s matchup will be between the Hurricanes and the Flames will be the first matchup of the season series. These two teams are in opposite conferences, which means they will only meet one more time on February 15. Both teams will look to get the leg up in the season series before it shifts to Carolina later in the season.
Last Season’s Matchups
The first matchup of last season’s series was hosted by the Oilers. Ryan Strome had a goal and an assist for Edmonton, but it was not enough. Jordan Staal had a big night as he scored a goal and three assists. Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and Jaccob Slavin had a goal and an assist to help lead the Hurricanes to victory. Cam Ward stopped 48 of 51 shots to give Carolina a 5-3 win on the road.
The second game of the season series shifted to Carolina in the later part of the season. Sebastian Aho put up a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists, while Pontus Aberg had a goal and two assists. Yohann Auvitu, Jesse Puljujarvi and Ryan Strome each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers dominated the Hurricanes for a 7-3 win.
These two teams split up the season series last season, with both teams winning a game on the road. Carolina and Edmonton have split the season series for the last four seasons. The Oilers were the last team to win both games in the season series. I believe this should help lead to a close game as these teams have matched up well in the past.
The Hurricanes have had some difficulty on special teams so far this season. Carolina has scored on 16.5 percent of their power play chances, which is well below the league average. The Hurricanes penalty kill has stopped teams power play 79.2 percent of the time, which is much closer to the league average.
Edmonton’s power play has been their strongest part of their special teams. The Oilers have scored on 21.6 percent of their power play chances. Edmonton’s penalty kill has not been great, it has stopped their opponents on 77.6 percent of their power play opportunities. The Oilers are coming off a rough night to the Flames where they allowed two power play goals on seven chances.
The Oilers have had a pretty big edge on special teams for Sunday night’s matchup. Edmonton’s penalty kill has not been doing great, but the Hurricanes power play has been doing even worse. The Oilers power play has a chance to go off for a big night against Carolina’s weaker penalty kill. I believe this could give Edmonton the necessary edge to pull off the win on Sunday night.
I expect Petr Mrazek to start in net for Carolina on Sunday night. Mrazek has put up a record of 9-10-2 in his starts this season. He has a save percentage of .898 and a 2.74 GAA. Mrazek has not been doing great this season, but he could have a solid night if the Oilers come out a little bit flat footed on Sunday night.
Mikko Koskinen started in net for the Oilers on Saturday night, so Cam Talbot will likely get the nod in net on Sunday night. Talbot has a .896 save percentage and a GAA of 3.17 this season. He has a record of 9-13-2 this season. Talbot will need to put up a solid performance if Edmonton wants to get the win at home on Sunday night.
These two goalies have put up similar numbers this season. I believe that this will lead to a tightly contested matchup. This could be another high scoring affair between these two teams. Talbot had a really solid job in his previous season’s, but if he keeps this up, he is going to lose his starting job to Koskinen.
Both Carolina and Edmonton have put up solid starts to this season, but could both use a nice winning streak to get back into the playoff picture. The Oilers are coming off a game the night before, but because they lost, I believe they will come out angry. Edmonton has the better special teams and both goalies are matched up pretty evenly. I believe this will help lead to a win on Sunday night.
The Hurricanes are listed as a -118 against the money line by BetOnline. This implies that Carolina will win this game 54 percent of the time. Edmonton played the night before, which could lead to them being tired. I believe that after the Oilers tough loss to their rival they will come out quick against the Hurricanes. I am taking Edmonton as home underdogs.