RALEIGH, NC - DECEMBER 01: New coach Kirk Muller of the Carolina Hurricanes watches his team play the New York Rangers at the RBC Center on December 1, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Rangers won, 5-3. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
With the help of the Oilers' mistakes, Carolina finally earned new head coach Kirk Muller his first win with the team, defeating Edmonton, 5-3. The Hurricanes are now 1-4-0 with Muller behind the bench.
You can now scratch Kirk Muller off of the list of coaches winless with their new teams: the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Oilers, 5-3, thanks to a series of poor plays by Edmonton throughout the entire game. The victory comes after a seven-game losing streak for the Hurricanes and a 0-4-0 record with Muller, including a 7-6 loss to the Flames Tuesday night.
The game started with a couple of reviewed goals, one for each side to see if the scorer in question made a deliberate kicking motion for the goal. While Carolina's goal was washed out, Edmonton's goal was allowed, and gave them a 1-0 lead off of Eric Belanger's first goal this season (he hadn't scored in 35 games dating back to March 20th).
That would be the last of any momentum for the Oilers the rest of the game, as the Hurricanes took over. The results began to show as in the waning seconds of the first period, as Edmonton chipped the puck around the boards in their own end, but the puck ended up in the middle of the zone. Jeff Skinner took the loose puck and scored on a point-blank shot in front of Devan Dubnyk for the power play goal.
Just under five minutes into the second period, the 'Canes struck again on the power play, courtesy of a wrister from Jamie McBain, giving Carolina a 2-1 lead. The Hurricanes scored two more goals, including a shorthanded goal from a send out from Bryan Allen in the defensive zone to Chad LaRose. At that point, the Hurricanes were up 4-1 on the Oilers.
Down 5-2 in the third period, team-leading scorer Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded one goal at the 13:21 mark to move up to seventh in the NHL in points, but that was all Edmonton would be able to muster for the game.
Looking like a team that hadn't played since Saturday, the Oilers were lucky they were not down 1-0 to start. They played sluggish defensively, setting themselves up for the almost-goal in the first half of the first period. The lackluster defense continued throughout, committing untimely penalties, turning over the puck and allowing the 'Canes to undress everyone in the Edmonton zone. Ultimately, it gave the Oilers less time offensively, keeping the game in their own end.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes will finish their three-game Western Canadian road trip Friday against division opponent, the Winnipeg Jets. This would be a good time to turn it around and start their climb from the depths of the Eastern Conference.