October 24, 2014

While the Edmonton Oilers are at the bottom of the Western Conference, they're feeling good about starting the new year in a positive fashion.

In the midst of one of their longest homestands of the season, the Oilers look to continue their success in Edmonton on Monday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Edmonton (16-21-3) has missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons since losing the Stanley Cup Final to Carolina in 2006.

The Oilers, though, have shown promise with an 11-7-1 home record - four wins shy of their total from all of last season.

Their success at Rexall Place includes a season-high seven-game winning streak before returning from the Christmas break to begin a six-game homestand with losses to Pacific Division rivals Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Edmonton, though, bounced back against another division foe Saturday, winning 4-3 in a shootout over Arizona.

"After Christmas, we didn't take advantage of the games against teams in our division," said center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored the decisive shootout attempt. "It was great to see us stick with it after getting down by a goal in the third. We really wanted to come back and get that one and played with some desperation."

Taylor Hall has done much of his damage at home. The left wing leads the team with 16 goals and 41 points, getting 11 and 28 as host after finding the net against the Coyotes.

He has one goal and two assists in two home meetings with the Hurricanes (16-17-6).

Jordan Eberle's success against Carolina isn't limited to any venue as he's collected four goals and five assists in his last six matchups. However, Eberle and Hall were pointless in a 4-1 loss at Carolina on Nov. 25.

Eberle, however, scored twice and assisted on Nugent-Hopkins' tally in a 6-3 home win over the Hurricanes in October 2014.

Carolina, 3-1-1 in its last five games, is coming off Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to Nashville. The Hurricanes owned a 13-4 shot advantage after the second period but never found the net.

"I feel like we played good enough to win, but we got an unlucky bounce on their goal," goaltender Eddie Lack told the team's official website after being beaten on the first shot he faced in OT following 19 saves.

Lack is likely to return to the bench in favor of Cam Ward, the 2006 Conn Smythe winner and one of two remaining Hurricanes (Eric Staal) from that Cup-winning team.

Ward is 1-4-0 with a 3.64 goals-against average in his last six road games, getting pulled twice. He has a 2.78 GAA while winning four of his last five meetings with the Oilers, making 30 saves Nov. 25.

Justin Faulk had two assists in that matchup, giving him six in as many career games against Edmonton.

The defenseman leads the Hurricanes with 30 points, but has none and is a minus-4 over the last three games.

Victor Rask, who is second to Faulk with 26 points, has two goals and one assist over the past four games. His goal Saturday was his 11th, matching his total from all of last season as a rookie.

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