EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers are making good on their quest to erase their poor start to the season.
Zach Hyman scored a hat trick, Connor McDavid recorded three assists, and the Oilers scored early and often as they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 on Wednesday.
“I think it’s just calming to get back on track,” Hyman said. “To get back to the team that we know we can be, and I think there’s still room for us to grow and build and it’s just great to find our team confidence again and play like this. And we’re going to continue to do it.”
Ryan McLeod, Mattias Ekholm and Warren Foegele also scored for the Oilers (10-12-1), who extended their winning streak to five games.
“I thought it was a real mature effort tonight,” Foegele said. “We pot two goals quick and then we stayed with it. We weren’t cheating for offence after that lead.
"To win in this league you have to hold leads and it is nice that we did that."
Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner made 37 saves for the win.
Jordan Staal responded for the Hurricanes (14-10-1), who have lost two in a row.
“It was just all-around crap,” Staal said. “No fight back, everyone was just hoping for a chance and just giving them 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s.
"Against a team like that they’re obviously going to make you pay.”
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour wasn’t sugar-coating things either.
“It was just a bad game from start to finish, we didn’t have anything going,” he said. “I haven’t seen a game like that out of us, so I’m a little bit of a loss for words. It’s not acceptable, not for sure, and our top guys especially have to show up more.”
Edmonton didn’t appear to have any rust from its five-day break heading into the contest, scoring on the game’s first two shots.
Just 28 seconds in, Foegele stole the puck behind Carolina's net and sent it in front to McLeod, who scored his second of the season on Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov.
Only 13 seconds after that, McDavid sent a pretty pass through the crease to Ekholm for an easy tap-in. Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard extended his point streak to a career-best nine games with an assist on the play.
The Oilers kept up the pressure with another goal coming 5:46 into the opening period as Hyman scored his first of the game. That would be it for Kochetkov, who was yanked for Antti Raanta after allowing three goals on a paltry six shots.
Edmonton made it 4-0 with six minutes to play in the first as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found Hyman for his second of the game. McDavid picked up a second assist for his fifth multi-point game during his current seven-game point streak.
Carolina outshot Edmonton 16-11 in the first period despite the deficit, but Oilers starter Skinner was solid in net.
The Oilers kept it coming with another goal three minutes into the second period as Mattias Janmark blocked a shot that sent Foegele on a breakaway for a goal. Janmark was credited with his third assist of the game on the play.
Carolina broke Skinner’s shutout bid seven minutes into the final period when Staal scored his third.
Midway through the third, McDavid split Carolina's defence and dished a pass across to Hyman for his third goal of the game.
It was Hyman's second hat trick of the season and third of his career. He has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games.
Edmonton’s two goals in the first 41 seconds were the second-fastest two goals to begin a game in Oilers history. The record is 24 seconds in 1982, scored by Mark Messier and Dave Lumley… McDavid recorded his 570th career NHL assist, passing Jari Kurri for the third-most in Oilers franchise history… The Hurricanes are currently ranked dead last in the NHL when it comes to combined goalie save percentage. Edmonton isn’t much better, sitting two spots up in 30th.
Hurricanes are right back at it on Thursday night as they head to Calgary to face the Flames for the third game of a six-game road trip.
The Oilers host the Minnesota Wild in the second game of a six-game homestand on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2023.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press