However, the trend for the Hurricanes' veterans would change in Game 7 of this Cup Final matchup, as Aaron Ward and Frantisek Kaberle paced Carolina to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. But as they had all series, Craig MacTavish's Oilers never quit. With their backs against the wall, goaltender Jussi Markkanen limited the damage, and after Fernando Pisani lit the lamp just over a minute into the third period, Edmonton was back in the game.
But the rest of that period was dictated by rookie netminder Cam Ward, who protected the Canes' 2-1 lead by stopping 22 shots on the night. Ward's brilliant performance was complemented by a late empty-netter by Justin Williams to send Raleigh into a frenzy and Carolina to a 3-1 victory in Game 7. The Hurricanes' first Stanley Cup championship came full circle, as the veteran Brind'Amour finally hoisted the cup after 16 seasons in the League with tears streaming down his face, thanks largely to the 22-year-old Ward, who took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.