Rogers Place - Edmonton, AB
December 10, 2019 - 9:00 PM EST
As the great Willie Nelson hit goes... we're "On the Road Again"! The Carolina Hurricanes (18-11-1) kick off their trip in western Canada as they visit the Edmonton Oilers (18-10-4) at Rogers Place on Tuesday night. This will be the first of five games during a grueling western swing, in which the Canes will not see home ice until December 21. This will be a critical contest for the Canes in order to build momentum for the trip itself, and to remain competitive in an insane and unforgiving Metro division.
Carolina closed out their home stand Saturday evening with a 6-2 pounding of the Minnesota Wild, in which many believe was one of the most dominant performances of the season thus far (see Aho contributions). Edmonton dropped a 3-2 overtime decision at home to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night. It will be the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. Carolina took both meetings last season: 7-4 in Edmonton on January 20, 2019 and 3-1 in Raleigh on February 15, 2019.
While I love match-ups with the Western Conference opponents, Edmonton has especially been one of my favorites (not just because of 2006). The "Oil" have offered up some excellent competition in recent seasons with the Hurricanes. With Leon Draisaitl and Conner McDavid on frightening paces in racking up stats and leading their team, the Canes will have their hands full once more. Edmonton leads the Pacific division and has something to prove this season. After a sub-par performance at home vs the lowly Sabres, they will be primed to give their fans a show Tuesday night.
The Canes are hoping to establish some consistency in the "W" column. As mentioned, keeping pace in the Metro division is not for the faint of heart, and the current road trip could really make or break them. All five games on the trip are certainly winnable, with the final one at Colorado being a daunting but doable task.
The keys to this game will be a "copy and paste" of ones past. This is not the time for lack of discipline to surface. Staying off the PK will be essential. This game has Optimus Reim between the pipes written all over it, but we'll have to wait and see on that.