Game 7. Puck drop approx 2015h Eastern, Royal Bank of Canada CentER, Raleigh.
I thought "all the marbles" just as Brind'amour said it to Elliotte Friedman.
While the jingoism from both sides this series has been annoying, it's kind of nice to see the CBC remember what that first C means. Every shot in their pre-game montage was the Oilers scoring. Most were Oilers delivering hits. No question about whose side they're on, that's for sure.
The pre-game show is terrifying: I've never seen a 50 foot high picture of Doug Weight before. The less said about the anthem singer, the better. Poor woman.
Start was unexciting - Carolina won and it went back into their zone, both teams look a bit tentative the first minute or so, but then Carolina came out with Cole and looks like they're getting going... Aaron Ward scored on a screen shot from the blueline, just after Markkanen made a great save off Cullen - 1:26 in and Carolina's up 1-0.
Edmonton needs to hit a few guys or get a decent chance. Samsonov is flying around, he got a decent shot off, but Ward barely had to move to make the save. Energy line came out, Moreau and Harvey made a couple hits, but then mysteriously vacated the zone with the puck deep in Carolina's zone. Looked away for a sec, looked back and there was a cane sprawled on the ice with an Oiler on him. Now Carolina's out hitting, but a bit too enthusiastically - Staal took Markkanen down at the side of the net. Staal's upset, but he had all the time in the world to see Markkanen there, and that's how the calls have been getting made.
Hemsky started out the PP just how Edmonton *doesn't* need to play - he coughed the puck up trying to do it all himself. And again. First minute dead. Pronger got a shot fromt he blueline with Smyth in front - that's how Edmonton needs to do it. Kevyn Adams blocked a very deliberately wound up Pronger slapshot and went off in agony. Williams hit Stoll twice and put the Hurricanes in good shape coming off the PK.
Staal got tripped up by the Oilers net, probably should have been a tripping call on the Oilers, but right now it's all canes anyway. Dvorak going in on a 1 on 2 - that's about the least threatening thing I've seen these Finals. Edmonton got some pressure on, but no great chances, and Carolina came back. Cole is flying. Harvey and Moreau should *not* be getting outhit by a guy just coming off a broken neck. Commercial break.
Torres threw a hit, but not a good one. Jason Smith threw Cole off. Torres and Peca got a couple of decent licks in, but nothing like what the Hurricanes have been dealing. Smyth along the boards deep in Carolina's zone, all by himself but for three red jerseys. Puck support not so good. Every time an Oiler has the puck, there's at least one Hurricane on him. Finally the Oilers control deep, Stoll with Samsonov and Dvorak, Greene and Tarnstrom, for about 45 seconds.
Staios gave the puck away to Erik Cole, but was able to actually get back in time, although it was scrambly; Spacek wound up getting called for holding as he shoved Recchi away from the side of the net. First Carolina PP. Brind'amour won the faceoff despite Mike Cvik's warnings, but they couldn't get a shot away despite 30 seconds of control before Edmonton cleared it. Nothing at all for the next minute and a half until the PP was about to expire and they had a weird bounce that wound up coming back at Markkanen as Moreau tried to chop the puck out of the zone and missed.
Hemsky got pasted, but Smyth wound up getting a rush. Came back, C Adams controlled it almost to the net and was denied. Carolina shot it back in as Staal was out on a super long shift, and Recchi hit Staios just after the whistle - Staios had something to say to the linesman after that one, but didn't take much issue with it with Recchi, so he couldn't have been too upset.
Shootin, Dvorak was behind the net, and Commodore was all over him, free hand around his neck - good thing the ref wasn't looking. Carolina rush, great shot from the line, and Carolina's all over the Oilers again, although Brind'amour's taking a beating from Pronger and Smith. Smith nearly had Cole lined up and Cole got out of the way, much to the delight of the fans. Edmonton's discipline seems to have disintegrated somewhat, they're not executing cleanly. Greene got his arm up on Kevyn Adams and just whaled him to the ice - Adams had been looking the wrong way and didn't see Greene. Interference - well, Adams didn't have the puck, but that could have just as easily been roughing. Adams should just be thankful it was "only" Greene instead of Pronger or Smith or Torres.
Cole pulled an Oiler move and left the puck for Moreau at the Oilers blueline, but Moreau lost control on the rush with Peca. Nevertheless, first minute killed uneventfully. Second minute started with Carolina gaining control in Edmonton's end, but again, not much doing - they finally got a shot away but #8 deflected it into the netting, and that finished that. Edmonton picked up the hitting, took a penalty, Carolina went in on the rush and it's not clear that the puck went in, although the Hurricanes were raising their arms. Staios covered it up in the crease, and the Hurricanes kept jamming after the whistle. Looks like Moreau might be going off for high sticking. But maybe there will be a penalty shot. Or maybe not. Now they're calling it as being under review. Clear signal from the ref: no goal. No penalty shot either, but Moreau is the box. Last 4 seconds went with an Oilers faceoff win. Edmonton was lucky to get out of that period with it only 1-0.
Explanation was that Staios touched the puck in the air, so the play went dead (why wasn't it dead when Spacek did earlier then?). So even though he covered it up after, the play was dead so it didn't matter.
Peca fed Pisani who somehow got in on his own, but missed the net; then Murray just missed after that. Who is on the power play here? Carolina coughed it up at the Oilers blueline to Murray, who was just about dead so they shot it in - Hurricanes are lucky that wasn't Horcoff, who hasn't been on the PK in some time - I think whichever other weblogger said he thought Horc was playing hurt must be right, because he's been killer on the PK. Fabulous kill for the Oilers - Murray should have had a better shot, but he was likely so surprised at being all by himself that he just took the shot. Edmonton iced it. Won the faceoff, rush by Moreau. Carolina got it deep and got the hit, but didn't get the puck. Hemsky lost it doing everything on his own agian. Spacek got rocked as the puck went behind the Oilers net. More back and forthing, what a golden chance by the canes as Tarnstrom missed a bouncing puck, Greene missed the pass block, and Cullen fed Recchi but Markkanen robbed him. Stoll went back the other way, got hauled down with two Hurricanes on him, no call.
Faceoff, puck went back into Edmonton's end, Spacek got his stick on him and twisted around - called for holding. Um, I can maybe see interference, but holding? His other hand wasn't on him! Faceoff, Kaberle, and it's in off Smith. I'm not entirely certain how that was a penalty when the play on Stoll wasn't, but maybe some replays would educate me.
Save me, now the CBC crew are quoting Shakespeare. Staal jawing at Smith after a whistle - I was hoping he'd take a poke at Smith and get an instigator piled on top of his asskicking, but no joy. Play resumed, Cole absorbed a heavy hit from Pronger, but stayed on the ice; Carolina iced it as Recchi got hit hard too. Cole: "he's just coming off a bad neck injury" - well, maybe he shouldn't be playing then.
Whitney just missed a glorious chance to bury the Oilers on a back pass between the legs from Cullen - Markkanen robbed him. Edmonton's forgotten what won them the last game; first Smyth tried to pass off to Horcoff and Samsonov passed off to... Carolina's blue line, I guess, both on shooting chances that could have turned out well. Carolina wants to score more than Edmonton right now, is the difference.
10 minutes left, Carolina's in on the forecheck and doing well. They're not schooling the Oilers, but they're keeping it in and keeping it deep, and that's all it takes. Funky bounce off the end boards with Markkanen out of the net, it went out front but nobody quite there and Staios got it first - Jussi's got the luck of the gods.
Carolina's playing the 2-2-1 perfectly now - they send in 3 when the puck's deep, but are otherwise hanging back. Edmonton needs to attack with speed and draw a penalty, if nothing else. This is not the Oilers team from the first couple of rounds, but it's definitely the Carolina team that took third place in the East.
Edmonton's turning it around physically even if they aren't in scoring chances: Greene buried Whitney, missed who did whom just after. Finally, a penalty call off a rush, as Smyth did his best to give the puck away with a pass instead of a wraparound but got hooked anyway. Edmonton's only had 4 shots in the second period - perfect period by the Hurricanes. Faceoff, looks like Aaron Ward put the puck over the glass - golden chance for Edmonton, they cannot blow this one. Ward knows he might have just put the Oilers back in it. Edmonton passed it around, passed it around, and finally... Carolina was rewarded as Smyth got the hook on Wesley and now it's just a 4 on 3.
More passing and passing, finally Horcoff went to the net and Pronger took the shot, but Ward was right there and he didn't let out the huge rebound. Yet more passing and passing, finally... Hemsky of all people took the shot (and it was a good one, but a better save), a scrum near the Carolina net, and Edmonton's 21-some minutes from elimination as Carolina goes on the PP. Fortunately, they got Edmonton's disease, and they just passed it around a lot until they got a shot with nobody in front, and Markkanen stopped it. Second period over, shots are 21-13 Carolina. So far, so good (if you like the red and black) - there's still a lot of hockey left, but Edmonton doesn't seem to want it as bad as the Hurricanes do now. "They" say you can't always get what you want, and I'm certainly not going to get that, but I'll settle for half of it. I'm not feeling great for the third period though. Edmonton needs to come out like Carolina did in the first period - if they can get a quick goal they'll be right back in it, and can get Carolina guessing a bit. If they don't get one in the first five, they're likely sunk.
Stoll came out for the faceoff and won it, but it went back into Edmonton's zone. Snakebite Dvorak got a nice backhander away, but Ward stopped it and Carolina came back off the rebound. Edmonton rush - Pisani knocked it in just after Peca got hammered right in front of the Oilers bench by .. a shootin, looks like. Net came off as Pisani knocked Ward and the net over, but the puck was already in the net so it's good. So far, so good in the third! 2-1 Carolina, and Saint Fernando gets them back into it.
Carolina got it deep and set up, but Edmonton cleared, although they changed before they could do much. Ol' Snakebite is all over the place; he almost set one up for the other Snakebite, Sergei Samsonov. Euros don't play for the Cup? Sorry, Mr. Cherry, I gotta call bullshit on that one. Shots are 5-1 Oilers in the third, 16:30 left.
Murray rushed with Harvey but Hedican made a nice defensive play to knock it off his stick. Carolina got it deep, somebody dropped their stick in Edmonton's end and a Carolina player fired the stick into Markkanen - niiice sportsmanship there. Out and in again, Jason Smith made a nice block and Markkanen grabbed the shot off the rebound. Neale changed his mind about 5 times about how Peca got hurt; finally he settled on what was patently obvious to anybody with eyes, which was the puck hit him on the ankle.
Peca's line is back out - sounds like Larose got knocked over at centre ice but no call on it, it was off-cam so I didn't see it. Hemsky coughed it up trying to stickhandle out of his own zone. Maybe he needs to sit at even strength, he's not being very effective tonight. Dvorak's seeing more lumber tonight than Monty Python's Flying Circus. All kinds of Edmonton pressure, Carolina's on their heels and making soft clears. Edmonton can't possibly keep this up and not score, although... they're getting few shots on goal off their rushes, and aren't able to set up for very long.
Carolina came back to life after a commercial break; Markkanen's post robbed them again off a beauty chance by Brind'amour. Samsonov got dumped late after the whistle after he shot and took exception to that, linesman went right after him to head him off. Cullen and Ladd are causing all kinds of problems for the Oilers now... 8:30 left.
Hemsky made a beauty pass to Torres, who juked around the Carolina dman and got a decent shot away, they're flying around now, they know it's now or never. Horcoff and Smyth drove the net and Ward barely got a glove on it; penalty call, maybe for some of the extra-curricular activities? Could be the turning point of the game. It's Hedican on Horcoff; Smyth got away with high-sticking Stillman. Edmonton needs to score. Peca put in yeoman's work, Smyth was getting worked over in front of the net by Aaron Ward. Pronger to Spacek for the one-timer - he missed, what a shock, and it came all the way back with 1:10 left on the PP.
Now Edmonton's having trouble setting up again. Never. Miss. Far. Side. Stoll barely kept the puck in (crowd thought it was out) and now 30 seconds left on the PP. Great PK by Carolina as they finally cleared. No shots on goal for the Oilers. Staal got knocked down, no call, so he hauled down Smith, no call. 4:45 left in the game now.
Carolina got it deep and Edmonton couldn't clear: 3:45 left. Edmonton rush, and Saint Fernando was outdone by Cam "Patrick" Royd as The Other Ward somehow got his leg on it - that's a gamesaver right there.
Faceoff, lots of guys flying everywhere. Looks like the refs have put their whistles away as both Edmonton and Carolina got away with interferences. 3:04 left and a faceoff, Edmonton takes a timeout. Didn't do them much good though, Carolina keeps clearing it. 2:00 left. Pisani muffed the shot, just went off the heel of his stick - 1:45 left and Markkanen's out. Play dead in Carolina's end. Um, MacT made the timeout signal - didn't they just take it less than a minute ago? Or is Carolina now?
Oh, I guess the devastated kid from G5 was Glen Wesley's - no wonder he was so crushed.
1:17 left, Stoll wins it. Carolina can't clear right away... they do, and Justin Williams puts it in the empty net. That's it; I'm sure MacTavish will keep Markkanen out because you never know, but... you do.
Under a minute left, it's getting a bit rough - not sure why they're piling on each other. Williams was picking himself up off the ice after - wonder if he said something snarky. Oilers should have left it alone, but I can't blame them if he did.
Hemsky's devastated - again, Cherry, Euros don't want it? BS. Todd Harvey had his head down, shoulders shaking... I know what he feels like. Murray looked poorly off too - he and Harvey have got to know this was likely their last chance at it.
Wade, not sure what I'll send ya, but hopefully it'll be worthy. 2006 playoffs, out.