A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Canes take game one with a bizarre finish.

On Monday night, the Hurricanes had a four-goal third period to outlast the Oilers 5-4. They have taken a 1-0 series lead, and will remain home for game two on Wednesday.

Of course I tempted fate by calling Mick McGeough a "good official" and predicting that Paul Devorski would make some questionable calls. You'll have to forgive me. Being an Eastern Conference fan, I have only seen McGeough about four times in my life. I had forgotten that he has more in common with Kerry Fraser than being lidless. They both enjoy taking the spotlight away from the players with overdramatic gesturing and showboating. They both make some lousy calls at critical moments. Today was no different.

Early in the game, it looked like Edmonton was going to dominate the game and run away with it.

While they were controlling the pace of the game and drawing penalties against the Canes, the Oilers scored first at 8:18 of the first. Fernando Pisani scored his 10th goal of the post-season. He picked up a loose puck out front and slammed it past Ward right after two Edmonton skaters cancelled Eric Staal behind the Carolina net. Raffi Torres and Jaro Spacek got the helpers.

I was surprised to see that at the end of the first, the shots were even at 8 apiece. It seemed like the Oil were totally dominating. Perhaps, though, that was because the Oil enjoyed a full two minutes of five-on-three. That segment was bookended by other power play time, so it seemed like an eternity with a man advantage. Fortunately, the Canes did a superb job of killing it all off.

The big controversy came midway through the second period. While there was a mad rush in front of the Canes net (south end of the arena during the second), the Canes Nic Wallin was penalized for smothering the puck in the crease. From behind the north goal, some 240 feet away, it looked like the puck had vanished from sight and play should have been whistled dead about three seconds prior to the penalty. However, some friends on the south end said they could see the puck the whole time. They still questioned the call, but were sure that the official never lost sight of it. Clearly, if the ref never lost sight of it, AND the Canes player covered the puck inside the crease, then the right call was made. Penalty shot. Because MacT had his fourth line out there, he thought that Chris ("former Whaler") Pronger would be his best bet for the PS. It turned out to be the right call, because Prongs abused Wardo on the shot. It was apparently the first successfully converted penalty shot in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals. The last time a PS was awarded was June 7, 1994 when Pavel Bure (then with the Nucks) came up empty against Mark Richter of the Rangers in game 4.

At 16:23, the Oil got what seemed at the time like a coffin nail. Ethan Moreau beat Ward on a long bomb shot from the right circle. The shot went through an Aaron Ward screen and glanced off Cam Ward's equipment before finding the back of the net. Defenseman Matt Green got the only assist.

Only 54 seconds later, the Canes got on the board with a very numerically appropriate goal. If you're into all that numerology crap, by the way, today's date is 06.06.06. Anyway, the goal came from Rod Brind'Amour (#17), and the time of the goal was 17:17 of the second. As the Canes came in on a semi-break, Cory Stillman beautifully set up Viva with a pass from the right circle to the left. Viva's shot was turned away, but Roli gave up a big rebound to his left. Brindy jumped on the loose puck and shoved it in from there. Although the Canes were still down 3-1, and had been outworked and outshot in that period, something about that goal screamed "momentum shift". Although it never factored into a scoring play, the period ended with an Oiler in the box, which made things seem much better than they really were.

Just 1:40 into the third frame, Ray Whitney one-timed one from the left circle past Roli to trim the lead to 3-2. Dougie Weight and Andrew Ladd got the helpers.

Indeed, the momentum had shifted. The Hurricanes got an equalizing goal on the power play at the 5:09 mark. Again it was Ray Whitney. He attempted a snap shot from the top of the right circle, which was stopped. Mark Recchi took a stab at it, but Roli made another stop. Whitters crept in on the front doorstep and beat Roli high over the left shoulder. The arena nearly erupted. Recchi had the first assist and Eric Staal, who had been held pointless two games in a row, got the secondary.

However, that was nothing compared to the euphoria of the next goal. The Oil were on a power play, and the Canes attempted a clear that should have been held in by Fernando Pisani Steve Staios on the left point. However, he slipped, the puck sailed through the neutral ice zone. Viva was able to break away with it and beat Roloson on the stick side from the high slot. The shorthanded goal, Carolina's second of the playoffs, was the fourth unanswered goal, allowing the Canes to take a 4-3 lead. Chad "Sharpie" LaRose, whose clearing attempt started the whole play, got the only assist. It was Sharpie's first career playoff point. Aaron Ward got the second assist.

At 13:31, things settled down a little when Ales Hemsky knotted the game at 4 with a power play goal. He made a dazzling move to explode through the slot and force a shot past Cam Ward as he charged in on him. It took an acrobatic move to avoid contact with Ward AND to score the goal. Somehow, he pulled it off. Jarrett Stoll and Chris Pronger got the helpers.

Just when it felt like it was going to overtime, the Oilers got a bit of a bad break. At 14:06, as the Canes were applying pressure in the Edmonton end, there was a collision that resulted in injury to star goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Andrew Ladd was streaking towards the net and was hit hard by Marc-Andre Bergeron. The hit drove Ladd into the goal, knocking the net off the pegs and Roloson to the ice. No replay was shown in the arena, but I was able to catch a glimpse of CBC's monitor. That replay (the only one I have seen) showed that it was not an incidence of goaltender interference, but one of a bad turn of events. Roloson was very slow to get up and had to be replaced by Ty Conklin, who hasn't played since the regular season. At this point, I don't know any details of the injury other than it was to Roli's knee. In the post-game presser, Craig MacT announced that Roloson would be lost for the rest of the series with an injury that is "the same thing as Radek's". This refers to a knee injury that kept Oilers right wing Radek Dvorak on the shelf for eight games earlier in this playoff season. This means that the Oil will have to start Ty Conklin or Jussi Markkanen in net. I don't know a thing about either one of these guys except that the Oilers faithful don't seem to have very much faith in them.

Carolina didn't get very many shots off against the rusty Conklin. The first shot against him yielded a huge rebound, but no second chance. I thought Carolina would make an effort to throw everything at him, but they didn't get much of a chance. Fortunately for the home team, they didn't need very many chances.

At 19:27, Brindy scored the game winner unassisted. Jason Smith made a tremendous mistake leading to it. I won't say it was like Steve Smith in game seven of the 1986 Smythe Division finals, but it was a huge mistake that cost his team the game. After Conklin went behind the net to play a puck, Smith attempted to make a pass, but barely nudged the puck a few inches to Rod Brind'Amour who was staring at a completely vacant net. He easily backhanded it in for what would prove to be the game winner.

The last :30 were furious, and Edmonton actually had some quality chances, but Cam Ward stood tall every time, holding out for the win.

With a goal (6) and an assist (10), Viva was the third star.
With two goals (7, 8), Ray Whitney was the second star.
With two goals (10, 11), including the game winner, Brindy was the first star.

Game two will be Wednesday night at 8:00.


Anonymous said...

It wasn't Fernando on the short hander, it was Staios who screwed up.

And Smith didn't screw up, Conklin did. Apparently Smith was yelling at him to leave it and Conks backhanded it onto Smith's stick.

Good summary. The atomosphere looked pretty good there (in the 3rd at least). The commentators seemed to say there was a lot of drinking going on.

d-lee said...

Thanks. You're right. I took bad notes. It was #24 rather than #21. I've made the adjustment in the post.

Yeah. The third period was a blast. The rest of the game .... not so much. I'd say Edmonton controlled at least 60% of the game, but were victimized by errors. Special teams, and also the miscommunication between Conklin and Jason "Don't Call me Steve" Smith.

Bill Purdy said...

"The commentators seemed to say there was a lot of drinking going on."

I noticed the opposite. The parking lot beforehand was downright placid compared to the Buffalo series, and the beer lines were noticeably short at times when they are typically noticeably long (The Deck between P2 & P3, in particular, which felt like it might have been hosting an afternoon tea). Blame it on the late start on a school night. Nobody wants to go to work hungover if they can help it.

That said, last night was the first time I've seen fans throw stuff on the ice at the RBC since Staal had a hatter on John Deere cap night back in January, and the first time I've seen in done in disgust. I'm not sure that was the result of alcohol abuse, though. More likely it was the result of McGeough's whistle abuse.

The Acid Queen said...

I won't say it was like Steve Smith in game seven of the 1986 Smythe Division finals

Oh gawd, don't even bring that up--even after 20 years an a team switch, it still makes me upset!

Chris said...

Yeah, the thown stuff on the ice was annoying. My wife commented that the Canes were lagging in the first two periods - Roddy really sparked them to life at the end of two and they played their game. This just goes to show again that you cannot sit back on a lead against the Canes.

As far as the penalty shot, I watched the DVR after the game and it was the right call - Mcgeough was on top of it.

CasonBlog said...

I found McGeough's theatrics a bit much as well. If they're gonna call hooking/tripping tight they need to call the diving as well. Moreau basically fell on Heddy during his breakawy-Heddy goes to the box. Hemsky took a dive on the penalty Roddy took as well.

Man how momentum can shift. The Canes blueline (Wes excepted) had the Tverdovsky's in the first.

After a couple of series, it looks like Cam may be living up to all the Pierre McGuire glow.

Great Summary D. Love your look at the covering the puck play in the crease. McGeough is usually quicker than most to blow the whislte on lost pucks.

Bill Purdy said...

From where I was sitting, I saw Wallin in the crease on all fours. The puck came across from the left, between his legs, and popped out the other side. I assumed it simply passed through, or was knocked through by a stick -- perhaps Cam's.

Watching the replay, though, again and again, it looks like Wallin doesn't so much freeze the puck in the crease, as clear it from beneath him with his left hand or knee. Is that illegal? Mick McGeough, who understands hockey rules better than I do, certainly thought so. If it was illegal, then I suppose it was a good call.

But it was close enough that I think it could have just as easily been overlooked, as Bergeron's stickless (and gutless, and clearly illegal) trip on Kevyn Adams with 10:30 to go in the 2nd was overlooked. Since Craig McTavish had his choice of players to take the penalty shot (as opposed to the typical take down on a breakaway penalty shot, where the shooter could have been banged up or winded on the play), it basically amounted to handing Edmonton a goal.

And they STILL couldn't win. Heh.

d-lee said...

I still haven't seen a replay, and in a moment of retardation (actually, I was retarded for most of the day), I forgot to set the DVR. I'll never see the play on which the penalty shot was awarded.

If Nicky used an open hand to move the puck, that's legal. You can't smother or close your hand on the puck in the crease unless you are the goaltender.

Like I say, my vantage point is about 220 feet away from the south goal, and through the glass, so it's hard for me to pick that stuff out. Thanks for all the "south side" POV.

By almost every account, Mr Magoo made the right call. Of course we didn't like it, but it's one of those situations like sending the puck over the glass. There's no grey area or discretionary wiggle room.

I'll say again. The Oilers should not give up. They're way too good for that. They spent the majority of the season with Conkkanen in net and did okay.

mudcrutch79 said...

I don't know a thing about either one of these guys except that the Oilers faithful don't seem to have very much faith in them.

You're overstating our confidence in them.

Brian said...

Anyone else think the OLN announcing team (Clement, Jones, Engblom, Davidson) seemed a little pro-Edmonton?

I don't usually pay attention to stuff like that, because it's usually dreamed up by paranoid losers, but I feel like I saw something...

Desdemona said...

If it was illegal, then I suppose it was a good call.

But it was close enough that I think it could have just as easily been overlooked.

Riiiiighhht. "Overlooked", we'll tell the refs to keep that in mind next time.
Rule 59a)If a player, except a goalkeeper, closes his hand on the puck, the play shall be stopped and a minor penalty shall be imposed on him. A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for "closing his hand on the puck".

Rule 59d) A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player, except the goalkeeper, who, while play is in progress, picks up the puck off the ice with his hand.

If a player, except a goalkeeper, while play is in progress, picks up the puck with his hand from the ice in the goal crease area, the play shall be stopped immediately and a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending Team.

I don't know why Wallin didn't just stay still. The puck was right next to his knee and in front of Ward. There were enough bodies there so that the whistle would have eventually gone if he had just stayed still. Instead, he put his hand in the crease and got rid of the puck.

Desdemona said...

Oh, and at no time did Edmonton have a full 2 minutes of 5-3. Otherwise, great blog.

DrFrankLives said...

wait a minute. I don't see in the rule posted above where a penalty shot is to be awarded for covering the puck in the crease.

Did Wallin pick up the puck or just cover it and scoot it out?

mudcrutch79 said...

I don't know what the deal is with the rule cited there but covering it is enough.

Desdemona said...

Dr. Frank, he scooted it out. I cited the rule, because people were asking whether or not it was legal and mixing up 59a with 59d.

kubiak said...

My dad told me that he heard they're going to show the away games at the RBC Center. Anyone else heard this?

They did it for the Red Wings games back in the day and it was a blast. If they do it, I garauntee I'll be there Monday (and probably Saturday).

Great blog, btw. I've been reading for a long time now, just started posting yesterday.

Chris said...

Yeah, the big ATM will be open for the away games.

For our fans enjoyment, the RBC Center will be open for viewing parties to be held for all three possible road games in the Stanley Cup Final! Doors for all games will open at 7 p.m., and admission and parking are both FREE to all fans. The game will be shown on the Jumbotron and on all in-house TVs at the RBC Center. Food and beverages will be on sale in a limited capacity, there will be intermission activities, and Stormy and the Storm Squad will be on hand as well!

d-lee said...


Bret Hedican was guilty of tripping at 14:46.
Nic Wallin was whistled for tripping at 14:55.
Rod Brind'Amour was called for hooking at 16:33.

Heddy and Nicky were in the box together from 14:55 to 16:46. This is 1:51. They had also been joined by Brindy, who enjoyed their company for 13 seconds. After Hedican was free to go (but Carolina was not able to get a man back), Nicky still had to hang out with Brindy until his penalty was over. An additional nine seconds. That's two full minutes with a two man advantage. Add to that nine seconds of 5-4 before the Wallin penalty, and the 1:38 of 5-4 after the Wallin penalty expired.

Between 14:55, and 16:55 (the duration of the Wallin penalty), Edmonton had a 5-3. It wasn't two solid minutes of the same guys in the box, but the three penalties overlapped enough for there to be two minutes of 5-3.

What are we arguing about anyway? Nine seconds.

Christy Hammond said...

Did you hear that not only did Roloson strain his MCL, but he also hyperextended his elbow? Poor guy.


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