The Carolina Hurricanes have talked a lot this season about not get the right breaks, the right bounces in games.
They did Wednesday in beating the Edmonton Oilers 4-1.
Canes center Jordan Staal had a shot glance off the skate of Oilers defenseman Griffin Reinhart for a late first-period goal that was an energizer for Carolina.
Carolina’s Jeff Skinner had a Justin Faulk pass go off his skate and into the net.
As for the Oilers, they twice had shot attempts glance off the iron — near-misses but misses all the same. Benoit Pouliot, who had scored a first-period power-play goal, even raised his stick, believing he had scored.
“It all starts with hard work,” said Canes goalie Cam Ward, who had 30 saves in another strong effort. “Certainly there have been some bounces and some calls that went against us that probably weren’t very warranted, but you have to put your head down and go to work and earn those opportunities and luck chances, too.
“They’re starting to bounce our way. Hopefully they continue to do that.”
The Canes (8-10-4) also held on to the lead. After Staal’s goal with 15.3 seconds left in the first tied the score 1-1, goals by Elias Lindholm and then Skinner in the second pushed the Canes’ lead to 3-1.
The Oilers (7-14-1) made a push in the third, but the Canes were efficient enough in the defensive zone while Ward confidently patrolled the crease. Andrej Nestrasil, who assisted on Staal’s goal and was effective on the forecheck, had a late empty netter for Carolina and Faulk finished with two assists.
“Guys generated chances because of hard work, because they spent time in the offensive zone,” said Skinner, who scored his fifth goal and could have had others. “Guys were skating. We were moving the puck up quick and get in their end quickly. It was a fun game.”
Lindholm’s goal came after an explosive burst of speed up the left boards. He carried the puck into the Oilers zone, then beat goalie Anders Nilsson with a five-hole blast on a two-on-one rush with defenseman Brett Pesce.
Lindholm had a hat trick in a five-point game against the Oilers last season in a March game. His goal Wednesday was his third in 22 games this season.
Oilers coach Todd McLellan was angry after the game, saying, “That’s a really, really disappointing effort.”
The Oilers won the right to draft Connor McDavid, hailed as hockey’s next wunderkind, with the first overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft. The talented forward is sidelined, out with a broken clavicle.
Edmonton also lost forward Nail Yakupov, a former No. 1 pick, during Wednesday’s game. In a freak accident, Yakupov was yanked down from behind by a linesman during a face-off and left the game with an apparent left leg injury.
“But we were outworked,” McLellan said. “It’s the determination factor that I’m looking for and I didn’t think we were a very determined team.”
Canes coach Bill Peters had no such complaints. The Canes were hoping to make the most of their nine November home games. They finished 3-3-3 by topping the Los Angeles 4-3 Sunday and then the Oilers.
Peters noted the Oilers are good skaters and dangerous in transition but said, “We were heavy, we were dynamic, we were moving our feet and doing good things.”
The Canes lost a tough game Monday in Philadelphia, losing to the Flyers 3-2 after making a third-period comeback. Center Victor Rask was called for a questionable penalty early in overtime and the Flyers scored on the power play.
But Carolina rebounded Wednesday — for the Canes, a nice way to go into Thanksgiving before a road game Friday in Buffalo.
“You have to hate to lose,” Peters said. “Every game is a dogfight. Losing is a disease and winning an unquenchable thirst that you have to have.”
A few good bounces also help.