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Edmonton
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27 SOG
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Oilers-Hurricanes Preview

Monday, 06.19.2006 / 8:00 PM

Associated Press

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Oilers-Hurricanes Preview
Edmonton Oilers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

GAME: Edmonton Oilers at Carolina Hurricanes.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Stanley Cup finals, tied 3-3.

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.

Lord Stanley's Cup has made yet another five-hour trip. The Edmonton Oilers can take it on one more if they complete one of the most impressive comebacks in NHL playoff history.

With a shot at their first championship since the Wayne Gretzky era, the Oilers can achieve something even those celebrated Edmonton teams never did as they try to finish off a stunning turnaround from a 3-1 series deficit and deny the Carolina Hurricanes their first Stanley Cup.

"We all talk about belief. We all talk about urgency, the will to win and never quitting and keeping positive through the whole situation," Oilers winger Ryan Smyth said. "We have given ourselves an opportunity to play in Game 7. And, you know, it's few and far between to get to a place like this in your career, so we'll obviously make the most of it and we'll do our best to put our names on the Cup."

The NHL season will end in Raleigh with a Game 7, the 14th in finals history. Eleven of the previous 13 have been won by the home team.

"There's one game left for the Stanley Cup, and it's in our building. No place we would rather be," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "We won an awful lot of games there this year."

Carolina already blew one chance to claim the Cup on home ice, losing 4-3 in Game 5 on the first short-handed overtime goal - scored by Edmonton native Fernando Pisani - in finals history.

That result sent the championship trophy to Edmonton as the Hurricanes took a second crack at winning the first title in the franchise's 27-year history, but they were badly outplayed in a 4-0 loss that forced a winner-take-all Game 7.

"There is no excuse for it," Carolina goaltender Cam Ward said. "You don't expect this in the Stanley Cup playoffs with the opportunity to win it. It's disappointing to put in an effort like that. But that being said, it's over and done with."

Now, what some consider the most fabled trophy in North American sports is back in Raleigh.

The Hurricanes will keep it there if they can recover from two devastating defeats, or the Oilers will take it back to hockey-crazed Edmonton if they can join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only teams to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

"You know that they are going to come out with their best effort of the playoffs and it's going to be up to us to combat that," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, a player on three of Edmonton's five Cup-winning teams. "I don't think there's a residual effect negatively for them going into the next game and maybe just the opposite ... there might be a positive motivator for them."

MacTavish's team certainly appeared to be the more motivated one Saturday, charged up by a home crowd seeing its last game of the season in Edmonton.

The younger Oilers skated circles around the Hurricanes, who gave up three power-play goals after allowing only two through the first five games of the series.

"We're not running out of gas. We didn't waste any," Carolina center Ray Whitney said in a sarcastic dig at his own team's Game 6 effort. "We should have plenty of energy for Monday night."

Pisani, Smyth and Shawn Horcoff all scored with the man advantage. Edmonton finished 3-for-7 while Carolina went 0-for-6, losing for the fifth straight time when failing to score at least once on the power play.

"We know the power play is going to play a tremendous role in the next game," MacTavish said. "Whoever wins the special teams is going to have a huge advantage."

Just as rallying from a 3-1 deficit would make this title run an improbable one for Edmonton, it would be nearly as surprising because of the goalie they've had to rely on.

Jussi Markkanen hadn't even played since March 1 entering this series, but suddenly found himself in the starting role after Dwayne Roloson went out with a knee injury in Game 1. A 5-0 loss in Game 2 seemed to signify Markkanen and the Oilers might have trouble winning a game in the finals, let alone the series.

Markkanen, though, has bounced back to concede just six goals over the last four games. He made 16 saves in Game 6 to notch his first career playoff shutout and first in any NHL game since Nov. 25, 2003.

"Well, he like all of us has one more job to do," MacTavish said. "He's been very impressive in the way that he's played, obviously, and to get the shutout (Saturday), he had to make some good saves. It wasn't a gimme."

The Hurricanes are likely to again be without center Doug Weight, who injured his shoulder in Game 5 and was not available Saturday night. Stepping in for Weight was Erik Cole, a 30-goal scorer during the regular season who was expected miss the playoffs due to a broken vertebra in his neck.

"We're playing with anybody," forward Eric Staal said. "Whoever is in is in and we're just going to try to get it done."

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Oilers - 95 points, 8th seed; beat Detroit Red Wings 4-2, Western Conference quarterfinals; beat San Jose Sharks 4-2, semifinals; beat Anaheim Mighty Ducks 4-1, finals. Hurricanes - 112 points, 2nd seed; beat Montreal Canadiens 4-2, Eastern Conference quarterfinals; beat New Jersey Devils 4-1, semifinals; beat Buffalo Sabres 4-3, finals.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Pisani, 13 goals; Chris Pronger, 16 assists and 21 points; Georges Laraque, 44 PIM. Hurricanes - Rod Brind'Amour, 12 goals; Staal, 18 assists and 27 points; Bret Hedican, 40 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 17.5 percent (24 for 137). Penalty killing: 86.3 percent (132 for 153). Hurricanes - Power play: 24.2 percent (30 for 124). Penalty killing: 85.0 percent (113 for 133).

GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Markkanen (3-2, 1 SO, 2.19 GAA); Ty Conklin (0-1, 10.00). Hurricanes - Ward (14-8, 2, 2.19); Martin Gerber (1-1, 1, 3.53).

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Jun 19 '06EDM 1 at CAR 3F. Kaberle
Jun 17 '06CAR 0 at EDM 4F. Pisani
Jun 14 '06EDM 4 at CAR 3 - OTF. Pisani
Jun 12 '06CAR 2 at EDM 1M. Recchi
Jun 10 '06CAR 1 at EDM 2R. Smyth
Jun 07 '06EDM 0 at CAR 5A. Ladd
Jun 05 '06EDM 4 at CAR 5R. Brind'Amour
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%