On Wednesday night, the Oilers staved off elimination in most dramatic fashion. Fernando Pisani scored a shorthanded goal (his second goal of the night) just 3:31 into the extra session. The win prevented the Canes from winning the Cup on their home ice, gives the Oil some life, and most importantly, gives the Oil some momentum.
Pisani, who also scored just 16 seconds into the first, took advantage of a horrible turnover by Eric Staal only 31 seconds into a Canes power play deep in Carolina's zone. He broke in alone on Cam Ward and did not miss. I suppose this was some sort of cosmic payback for the Jason Smith error in game one of this series.
Initially, Chris Pronger was given credit for the first goal, but I suppose they changed it because they detected a redirection of Pronger's left point shot. I haven't reviewed the game, and this post is late enough as it is, so.... Pronger and Torres with the assists.
Eric Staal tied the game with his eighth goal of the playoffs at 5:54 while on the power play. Doug Weight and Bret Hedican got the assists.
Later, Ray Whitney would give the Canes a 2-1 lead, and lots of excitement. His goal, at 10:16 was another power play. He got a piece of an Eric Staal shot, tipping it past Markkanen. Staal with the primary assist (his 18th), and Mark Recchi with the second (his eighth).
However, this lead would be shortlived. The thing I was fearful would happen did. The Oil finally cashed in on a power play chance, and there was nothing the Canes could have done. Ales Hemsky slapped a one-timer from the left circle in at 13:25 of the first. Tanrnstrom and Staios with the assists.
With the first period winding down, and the teams on a four-on-four, I ran to the bathroom to avoid the intermission crowd. While I was gone. Michael Peca put the visitors ahead. Time of the goal was 19:42. Assists from Alex Hemsky and Chris Pronger.
At 9:56 of the second, Carolina tied it on another power play goal. Staalsy had a few whacks at a loose puck down low after a wrap-around. He finally beat Jussi, and again the emotions were running high. It was Staal's ninth goal. Added to his 18 assists, he has 27 points, tops in the league. On the goal, Ray Whitney and Cory Stillman assisted. Now Stillman's point streak is at 13 games.
No scoring for the remainder of the second, or during the third.
I had a feeling that once the first penalty of the overtime was called, that would be the game. I was partially right on that. The power play started off looking really lethargic, even lazy. They weren't able to get a play going, then the really lazy pass from Stillman to Staal. Pisani spotted the laziness, stole the puck from Staal, and beat Ward. Instantly, all the air in the building was sucked out.
Although Carolina converted three of seven power play chances, and they killed six of seven chances for the Oilers, it was a special teams gaffe that cost them that game.
I'm hoping that the loss will be a slap in the face to the Canes. It should wake them up and tell them that they can't just coast the rest of the way. This isn't quite like heading into the Champs-Élysée with a four minute lead. This is quite different.
Game 6 will be in Edmonton on Saturday night, and I'm sure the building will be more electric than it ever has been. Carolina will have to play a nearly perfect game, or they will find themselves in a very scary winner take all game. The only upside of that is that a potential game 7 would be in Raleigh.
Where I had an arrogant confidence before game 5, I now have a little bit of worry. I know that this is nowhere near over.
4 years ago