Edmonton vs. Carolina - Game 7, Stanley Cup Final
By Jesse Campigotto
Stanley Cup final. Game 7. Need I say more?
Allright, you twisted my arm. The fact that this series is going the limit seems fitting, given how even it's been.
Consider: Both teams have eked out a 2-1 win. Both teams have registered a blowout - Carolina won Game 2 by a convincing 5-0 score and Edmonton is coming off its 4-0 pounding of the Hurricanes in Saturday's Game 6. And, of course, both teams have won three games apiece.
In fact, if any team can claim an edge heading into Game 7, it's the Oilers, who are riding a two-game winning streak after dominating Game 6 even more thoroughly than the lopsided score would suggest.
But Carolina, which has scored one more goal than Edmonton in the series, promises to be refreshed by its return to the friendly confines of the legendary RBC Centre in the hockey hotbed of Raleigh.
Either way, anything can (and will) happen tonight. After all, it's down to one game. For all the marbles. Enough said.
GAME OVERThanks for joining us tonight. And thanks for following CBC's coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs, both online and on television. It's been a slice. See ya next season.
GAME OVERCongrats to the Hurricanes on their first-ever Cup. And a tip of the hat to all the old Hartford Whalers supporters out there. This has to be bittersweet for them. And this has to be just plain bitter for Edmonton fans, who lent their team a tremendous amount of support all year, and especially in the playoffs. But, being so improbable, this playoff run had to be an extra-fun ride. You guys sure made the most of it.
GAME OVEROne of my favourite Stanley Cup traditions: hearing players spray copious f-bombs all over the rink while hoisting the Cup. The Hurricanes do not let me down.
GAME OVERBefore handing the Cup to Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour, Gary Bettman says, "[Hurricanes owner] Peter Karmanos had a dream that hockey could work in Carolina." Actually, Gary, I think Peter (who moved the team from Hartford) had a dream that he could extract more television and luxury box revenue in Carolina.
GAME OVERIt's time for the Conn Smythe presentation. And the winner is... Cam Ward.
GAME OVERThis is the second straight year in which a Canadian team lost Game 7 of the final. The '93 Canadiens remain the last Canadian club to win the Cup.
GAME OVERThe ecstasy and the agony: the Hurricanes celebrate wildly as many Oilers reamain on the bench, watching with long faces the celebration they surely thought they'd be a part of.
THIRD PERIOD, 20:00Final score: Edmonton 1, Carolina 3. Hurricanes win Stanley Cup.
THIRD PERIOD, 18:59Edmonton 1, Carolina 3.And that's that. Justin Williams scores an empty-netter. The Carolina Hurricanes will win the Stanley Cup.
THIRD PERIOD, 18:46The Oilers talk things over in a time out. This is it.
THIRD PERIOD, 18:17Another great chance for Pisani, who took a feed in the slot and was ready to shoot, but a Carolina player lifted his stick at the last second. The Oilers are really pressuring. Marrkanen is off for an extra attacker.
THIRD PERIOD, 16:20Cam Ward makes a potential Cup-saving stop. Pisani charged in for a rebound and didn't get good wood on it, allowing Ward to get his left pad out to stop the puck from going into the gaping net.
THIRD PERIOD, 14:38Another precious-metal opportunity squandered by the Oilers. With Mr. Kristi Yamaguchi (aka Bret Hedican) off for roughing, Edmonton works the puck around nicely on the power play but can't score the equalizer.
THIRD PERIOD, 11:30Cup caretaker Phil Pritchard is shining up the trophy behind the scenes. He seems to enjoy his once-a-year time in the spotlight. I wonder if he shined the Cup at home last year during the lockout. And then presented it to himself. And then proceeded to drink champagne out of it until it ended up at the bottom of his swimming pool.
THIRD PERIOD, 8:57Great action here in the third. We just went several minutes without a whistle as the Oilers press and the Hurricanes try to keep them at bay. The offence is pretty much all Edmonton right now. This has to be tough for Hurricanes fans. There's nothing worse than watching your team sit back and cling to a one-goal lead in the third period of a game. Well, until the other team scores.
THIRD PERIOD, 3:01The Oilers are playing like a desperate team. I mean that in a good way. They're really pressuring Carolina and had a couple of chances to tie it with shots in close. Radek Dvorak, who did nothing for so long until springing to life in Game 6, had a good chance as he tried to split two defenders but had the puck taken away.
THIRD PERIOD, 1:03Edmonton 1, Carolina 2. As Bill Walton would say, Go to the net, young man. Pisani charges to the goal and bangs in the rebound off a rebound to put the Oilers right back in the game. Huge goal.
SECOND PERIOD, 20:00Edmonton kills off the Smyth penalty, but Carolina has a 2-0 lead after two periods. It's not impossible for the Oilers to score three goals to win this game, but it sure looks unlikely.
SECOND PERIOD, 18:23The Carolina penalties expire and now the Hurricanes will have a 5 on 4 for 59 seconds.
SECOND PERIOD, 17:21Make that an aluminum opportunity. Smyth takes an unthinkable penalty, hooking a Carolina player in the offensive zone to reduce the Oilers' advantage to 4 on 3.
SECOND PERIOD, 16:12Make that a platinum opportunity. Aaron Ward was just called for shooting the puck over the glass in his own end, giving the Oilers a two-man advantage for 1:56.
SECOND PERIOD, 16:16A lengthy stretch without a whistle ends without any good scoring chances. The Oilers are having a tough time breaking through the Maginot Line Carolina has constructed at its blue-line. But good news for Edmonton: the whistle was for a penalty on Nic Wallin. Golden opportunity for the Oilers.
SECOND PERIOD, 10:01The Oilers looked to have a great opportunity a minute ago with Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff streaking in. But Smyth tried a back pass to no one, wasting the chance.
SECOND PERIOD, 6:17Cole was just shaken up when he was hit from behind (!) by Pronger as he tried to take a pass along the boards in the Carolina end. Cole stayed on, though, and looks to be okay.
SECOND PERIOD, 4:18Edmonton 0, Carolina 2. With Spacek in the box, the Hurricanes strike eight seconds into the power play as Kaberle fires a point shot that hits Jason Smith, who was sprawling to block the shot, and beats Markkanen.
SECOND PERIOD, 4:00Markkanen just made the save of the night, sliding over to rob Recchi with his right pad on what looked to be a sure goal off a 2 on 1.
SECOND PERIOD, 1:58We'll be back with more Fashion File later. Fernando Pisani just had the OIlers' best chance of the game when he broke in and fired a shot from the hash marks, but it went wide.
FIRST INTERMISSIONKudos to Don Cherry, who finally eschewed the floral-print blazers and went with a classic pinstriped number for tonight's Coach's Corner.
FIRST PERIOD, 20:00Edmonton dodges a bullet by avoiding the penalty shot, but still heads to the dressing room trailing 1-0. And they'll have to do some penalty killing to start the second period.
FIRST PERIOD, 19:55We finally get the call: no goal (which we already knew) and no penalty (shot or otherwise) on Staios. Still, the Oilers will be shorthanded because of the original penalty on Moreau. Got it?
FIRST PERIOD, 19:55They're still discussing that play. Complicating matters is the fact that a delayed penalty was being called on the Oilers, so as soon as they touch the puck the whistle goes. I guess the debate is over what constitutes the "touch" - Markkanen's save doesn't because he didn't control the puck, but should Staios' (apparently) illegal gloving of the puck in the crease count? And would that whistle then supercede a potential penalty shot call? Glad I'm not Bill McCreary right now.
FIRST PERIOD, 19:55The Hurricanes nearly score when a shot hits Makkanen, bounces up and trickles toward the goal line. But defenceman Steve Staios dives in and sweeps the puck out with his glove. The refs are talking it over. A penalty shot could be on the way.
FIRST PERIOD, 17:33After some great end-to-end action, the Oilers' Matt Green nails Matt Cullen with an elbow at the Edmonton blue-line and is called for a penalty. The hit is vintage Green - overexuberant and totally unnecessary.
FIRST PERIOD, 14:15Edmonton kills off the Spacek penalty rather easily. It will be interesting to see if the referees stick to the NHL's "zero tolerance" policy on hooking and holding in this, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
FIRST PERIOD, 11:03Jaroslav Spacek (for those unfamiliar with Czech, that translates to "defensive liability" in English) is called for holding - the Oilers' first penalty.
FIRST PERIOD, 10:07Some great pressure by the Oilers, who got several chances as they kept the puck hemmed in the Carolina zone. As you'd expect, both teams are playing at a breakneck pace to start the game.
FIRST PERIOD, 7:21The Hurricanes kill off the Staal penalty and are flying all over the rink. Looks like they've turned it around after their sluggish Game 6. Funny how Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final will get you excited.
FIRST PERIOD, 3:17Our first penalty. Staal goes off for goaltender interference. Let's see if the Oilers power play, which was excellent in Game 6, can keep up the good work.
FIRST PERIOD, 1:26Edmonton 0, Carolina 1. The Hurricanes fire the first salvo. Aaron Ward blasts a slap shot from the top of the circle through a crowd and past Jussi Markkanen.
FIRST PERIOD, 0:32Our first stoppage. Harry Neale fills the time before the puck drop with some World War II quotes.
3 MINUTES TO GAME TIMEGoodbye, Carolina Anthem Singer Girl. Happy trails. It's been a great ride.
8 MINUTES TO GAME TIMEWhat a treat. After being on hiatus since the Olympics ended, the Tim Horton's commerical with the old Asian guy and his son makes its triumphant return. No, I'm not crying. I just have something in my eye. Ming-ming bah!
10 MINUTES TO GAME TIMEThank you, Raleigh Arena Music Guy. As Ron MacLean and Kelly Hrudey discuss tonight's game, our favourite "dramatic pre-game music" song is heard playing in the background.
15 MINUTES TO GAME TIMEThe requisite dramatic pre-game video montage featured music from Nickelback. Okay, I get the Alberta connection, but can we all just come to an agreement that from here on in every dramatic pre-game video montage for every sport will be set to Aerosmith's "Dream On"?
30 MINUTES TO GAME TIMEIt will be interesting to see how Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette uses Erik Cole tonight. After Carolina was drubbed in Game 6, some observers opined that Cole shouldn't have been in the lineup. I disagree - Cole scored 30 goals in 60 games this season and, even though he hadn't played in three months, should be on the ice if he's fit enough to play.
The call I thought was more questionable was Carolina coach Peter Laviolette's decision to put Cole on a line with Eric Staal, the Hurricanes' best player, and the rapidly decomposing Mark Recchi. Perhaps Laviolette thinks Cole can keep up with Staal, but what in the name of Rob Brown is Recchi doing on the top line?
Since coming to Carolina before the trade deadline, "Mr. Minus" has been an anchor - I don't mean that in the "he's a solid player" sense, but rather in the "he's holding the team down" sense. Witness his minus-5 rating in the playoffs - worst among Carolina forwards and second-worst on the team to defenceman Frantisek (I wish I was Tomas) Kaberle's minus-8.
50 MINUTES TO GAME TIMEEven Pete Rose is laying off tonight's game. I mean, a lot of people are saying the Oilers have all the momentum and should be the favourites tonight. But consdier this: the Oilers suffered a heartbreaking one-goal defeat in Game 1, were blown out in Game 2, and were written off as they returned home for Game 3, which they ended up winning. Carolina lost Game 5 in overtime, was blown out in Game 6, and now looks like the Walking Dead as they return home for Game 7.
Just think before you take out that loan at two points a week from that guy who calls himself Billy Bats.