Three things to watch as the Carolina Hurricanes host the Edmonton Oilers on Friday at PNC Arena.
The Canes’ starting goalie
Canes goalie Cam Ward left the ice early Friday at the morning skate, leading to speculation that Eddie Lack might start against the Oilers.
Ward appeared to be hit by a puck during warmups before the skate and had some discomfort with his right, blocker hand. After the skate, Canes coach Bill Peters said the starting goalie would be a gametime decision.
Lack missed 26 of 30 games with a concussion and has not started a game since Nov. 6. He played well for the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) in a two-game conditioning stint last weekend and Peters said Lack had been sharp in practice.
The Canes play a road game Saturday against the New York Islanders and Ward has a 20-4-4 career record against the Isles. That also could factor into the decision.
Oilers center Connor McDavid leads the NHL in points (59) and assists (42) but was contained well by the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
McDavid played more than 21 minutes but was minus-2 in the 2-0 road loss to the Preds. He had three shots and lost five of seven faceoffs.
Peters, who coached McDavid with Team Canada in the 2016 World Championship, said either Jordan Staal or Victor Rask could be matched up against McDavid.
Said Staal: “He’s fast, he’s dangerous. We’ll try to keep him at bay as best we can.”
Aho and the offense
It has been a fun few days for the Canes’ Sebastian Aho. The rookie forward had his first career hat trick Tuesday against the Flyers and returned to the PNC Arena locker room Thursday after practice to find his seat filled with bags of hats.
It’s back to business Friday. It will be interesting to see how Aho responds after his big game and whether the Canes can build off their five-goal outburst against the Oilers.