‘Canes come back, capture Game 1
RALEIGH, N.C. ” After a stirring comeback, the Carolina Hurricanes won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals with a gift of a goal.
Rod Brind’Amour scored off a flukey mistake with 31.1 seconds remaining after Edmonton’s backup goalie botched an exchange behind the net, and the Hurricanes, after falling behind 3-0, rallied to beat the Oilers 5-4 Monday night.
Ty Conklin had to take over in goal for Edmonton with just under six minutes remaining after Dwayne Roloson, the star of the eighth-seeded Oilers improbable playoff run, was injured in a collision that knocked the net off its moorings. That proved to be the deciding factor.
With overtime looming, Conklin went behind the net to play the puck on a seemingly routine play. But he appeared to cross up teammate Jason Smith with a backhanded pass, the puck deflecting off Smith’s stick and sliding in front of an open net.
Brind’Amour scored his second goal of the night ” and he’ll never get an easier one. Smith dove in a futile attempt to knock the puck away and Conklin was still coming around from behind the net when it crossed the line.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Raleigh. Then, the series shifts to Edmonton for the next two games.
With two small-market finalists and an obscure cable network televising the first two games, the Edmonton-Carolina matchup was expected to draw minuscule television ratings.
Maybe a few more people will flip over after the Oilers and Hurricanes put on a stirring display with all sorts of twists and turns.
Emonton’s Chris Pronger scored the first penalty shot goal in finals history, helping the Oilers build their three-goal lead. Carolina finally scored late in the second period, then strung together three rapid-fire goals in the third. Justin Williams put the Hurricanes ahead for the first time on a shorthanded breakaway goal with 9:58 remaining in regulation.
The Oilers weren’t done, either. After Carolina goalie Cam Ward made a brilliant stop on Shawn Horcoff, flinging his body back across the crease to somehow get an arm on the puck, Edmonton tied it up on a power-play goal by Ales Hemsky with 6:29 to go.
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