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Game Notes Oilers @ Hurricanes: Is Rest An Advantage?

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
12 days ago
For the first time this season, the Oilers will face a team that is on the second night of a back-to-back. But is it really an advantage?
— Edmonton is 2-0 on the second night of back-to-backs and so are the Carolina Hurricanes. In the 62 second half of back-to-backs, teams are 29-30-3. It hasn’t been a major disadvantage so the Oilers can’t take the Hurricanes lightly. Instead, they need to get a jump on them quickly.
— The Oilers have scored first in six of their 14 games. They are 5-1 when they hit the scoresheet first and 3-5 when allowing the first goal. The Hurricanes are 5-1-1 when scoring first and 3-3 when trailing first. Out of 210 NHL games played thus far, the teams scoring first are 128-62-20, which is a .657 point%.
— Currently only five teams in the NHL have a P% higher than .657: Vegas (.857), Boston (.846), New Jersey (.769), Winnipeg (.708) and Philadelphia (.667). Scoring first is a major advantage and 20 teams, including the Oilers, currently have a P% higher than .657% when scoring first.
— Edmonton has been outscored 17-12 in the first period, while the Hurricanes have outscored teams 11-7. After Monday’s loss to Washington, Leon Draisaitl spoke openly about how tiring it is always playing catch up. Edmonton needs to get an early lead and force Carolina to be in chase mode. Jack Campbell was great in the first 7:45 of Tuesday’s game when Tampa outshot the Oilers 10-0. He kept them in the game until Warren Foegele scored shorthanded and the Oilers got the lead at the 7:45 mark. Edmonton exhaled and then outshot the Lightning, 29-19 over the next 50 minutes and 34 seconds. Tampa Bay outshot Edmonton 8-0 in the final 1:41 with an extra attacker when they were trying to tie the game.
— The first goal gave Edmonton a huge momentum boost, and they carried it for almost the rest of the game until Tampa stormed them in the final 101 seconds.
— Campbell played his best game of the season and the Oilers’ penalty kill did the same. They pressured Tampa’s power play all over the ice. The Lightning only had six shots in 8:50 of PP time. Edmonton decided to attack, rather than sit back and let Tampa set up. Jay Woodcroft also switched up his PK units. Cody Ceci played with Brett Kulak, and Darnell Nurse was with Bouchard. Zach Hyman was paired with Kailer Yamamoto, while Ryan McLeod was with Warren Foegele. Derek Ryan was the fifth killer and split his time with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, and Connor McDavid. RNH was seventh among forwards in PK time at 1:34. He was taken off the top unit with Hyman.
— Dave Manson also switched the defence pairings 5×5. Nurse was reunited with Tyson Barrie, while Ceci played with Kulak and Evan Bouchard skated with Ryan Murray. Markus Niemelainen was the seventh D-man, but he only played 7:22. It was interesting to see how Manson deployed his defenders at 5×5. Nurse still played the most overall (22:54) and at 5×5 (16:51), but Ryan Murray was the second most 5×5 at 14:55, followed by Barrie (14:36), Kulak (12:22), Ceci (12:04), Bouchard (11:01) and Niemelainen (6:45).
— Manson switched his deployments and wanted Ceci/Kulak out against the Point/Kucherov line, while Nurse/Barrie played most against the Stamkos line. Manson challenged Kulak/Ceci to not play more overall, but to play as often as possible against Kucherov/Point. Manson stuck with his strategy right to the end of the game when he had Ceci and Kulak out for the final 80 seconds. Nurse had been on the shift before, but Manson didn’t want to switch the pairs for the final 30 seconds. He challenged Ceci and Kulak to play Kucherov all game, and it wouldn’t have been good to take Kulak off in the final 30 seconds — sends the wrong message to players. He challenged them and they were up to the challenge for the first 58 minutes, so no reason to switch in for the final 30 seconds. The deployment of his D pairs reminded me of Chicago when they’d often use Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya in more of a defensive role, while Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith got more offensive looks, and not as often v. the top line. Of course, Keith and Seabrook faced top guys often, but Joel Quenneville often would deploy Hjalmarsson/Oduya in the defensive slots v. top lines.
— I’m curious which line Manson will play Ceci/Kulak against. Will it be the v. Sebastian Aho/Teuvo Teravainen/Seth Jarvis line or the Andrei Svechnikov/Jesperi Kotkaniemi/Martin Necas line? Svechnikov had a hat-trick in the Oilers’ 6-4 victory last month in Edmonton, but Aho has absolutely feasted on the Oilers in his career. Aho has 9-11-20 in 11 games played. I’d play Kulak/Ceci v. them and have Nurse play against the bigger Svechnikov line.
— I’d expect Jaccob Slavin and Brent Burns to matchup against McDavid’s line. They faced him the most in Edmonton when the Oilers had last change. Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei will get Leon Draisaitl’s line as much as possible. The Hurricanes play their top-two pairs a lot, and they don’t give up much. The Hurricanes are third in the NHL in shots for/game at 37.2 and 2nd in shots against/game at 26.5. Edmonton managed 33 shots in their victory, and we will need to work hard to get pucks on net tonight.
— Carolina recalled goalie Pyotr Kochetkov on Tuesday and send Ryan Suzuki to the minors. Freddie Andersen was hurt in practice and didn’t make the trip to Florida. Antti Raanta started last night and Kochetkov was the backup. Raanta was excellent in the loss, and he stopped many quality chances including a few breakaways. The fact Andersen didn’t travel suggests he might not be ready tonight, and if so then Kochetkov will get his first start of the season and third start of his career.
— I was highly skeptical when the Hurricanes signed Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a one-year $6.1m offer sheet. He had 22 goals and 62 points in 171 career games at that point. Last season he tallied 12-17-29 in 66 games and the Hurricanes signed him to an eight-year extension with a $4.82m AAV. Those supporting the signing said it was great, because Vincent Trocheck’s departure to New York opened up the second line centre spot for Kotkaniemi. It is very early, but through 13 games he has 1-2-3. He’s played almost all his minutes with Svechnikov and Martin Necas at 5×5, but he only has three points while Necas leads the team with 11 points at 5×5 and Svechnikov is second with seven. Kotkaniemi might pick up his offence, but early in year two of essentially a nine-year deal with a $4.92m, AAV Kotkaniemi hasn’t come close to giving good value for his contract.
— The Hurricanes’ second PP unit doesn’t have a goal in 34 minutes of PP time. Currently, 177 skaters have played 30+ minutes on the PP and only eight of them don’t have at least one point:
Sam Bennett (43:58 TOI) and Patrick Hornqvist (32:42) for Florida.
Johnny Gaudreau in 38:40 for Columbus.
Dylan Cozens has skated 35:27 for Buffalo.
Joel Farabee in 34:16 for Philadelphia.
And Teuvo Teravainen (34:10), Seth Jarvis (31:39) and Kotkaniemi (30:09) with Carolina. Edmonton needs to continue that trend tonight.

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