for this game

Oilers host 'Canes in clash between struggling clubs

Dec 7, 2011 - 3:42 PM
(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers haven't played so hot lately and perhaps tonight's showdown with the struggling Carolina Hurricanes at Rexall Place can cure what ails them.

The Oilers have lost four of five and nine of their last 13 games, including Saturday's 5-3 loss versus the Calgary Flames in the continuation of a season- long six-game homestand. Lennart Petrell, Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal apiece for the Oilers, who are 1-2-1 so far on the residency and 8-4-2 as the host this season.

Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 27-of-31 shots in defeat.

"We've got to work on discipline and relying on our game plan," Oilers head coach Tom Renney said.

Edmonton will close out the residency versus Colorado on Friday and is third in the Northwest Division -- 10 points off Minnesota's lead. On the injury front for the Oilers, forward Ben Eager (back) and centers Shawn Horcoff (ribs) and Anton Lander (hand) are listed as probable for tonight.

Carolina is suffering through a seven-game losing streak (0-6-1) and has just two wins in its 12 games. In Tuesday's 7-6 loss at Calgary in the opener of a four-game road trip, Eric Staal had two goals and an assist to lead the way.

Jamie McBain and Tim Brent each had a goal and assist, while Jiri Tlusty scored on a penalty shot in defeat. Cam Ward gave up six goals on 32 shots.

"We're going through a part of our schedule where it seems like every miscue we make comes back to haunt us," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "The guys have to stay the course and battle through this."

The Hurricanes will also visit Winnipeg and Toronto on the trek, and are 3-8-2 outside of Raleigh this season. Carolina is last in the Southeast Division with an Eastern Conference-low 20 points and is allowing a league-worst 3.41 goals per contest. The Hurricanes have lost four straight since Paul Maurice was fired and Kirk Muller took over behind the bench.

In injury news for Carolina, goaltender Brian Boucher (lower body) and defenseman Jay Harrison (upper body) are doubtful for tonight. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen (upper body) is listed as questionable.

Carolina and Edmonton are meeting for the only time this season. The Hurricanes won last year's meeting by a 7-1 score at home, but the Oilers have taken three of five and four of the last seven meetings. Carolina has lost two straight trips to Edmonton, last winning there Dec. 9, 2003.