Of all the goals that were scored during the 2006 playoff run, the one that still gives me goosebumps (other than the obvious Justin Williams empty netter that clinched the Stanley Cup in Game 7) was Eric Staal
’s goal in Game 2 vs. New Jersey.
That goal tied the game with just three seconds left, and came only 18 seconds after the Devils’ Scott Gomez seemingly gave his team the lead for good. It was about as unexpected as they come, which combined with the eruption from the crowd and the exuberance from the players, at least to me, made it one of the more memorable goals I’ve ever seen.
Fortunately, the game highlights on CanesVision Online go back that far, so here’s another look at it courtesy of the Outdoor Life Network (throwback!!)
Although that goal didn’t win the game, instead setting the stage for Niclas Wallin’s (who else?) overtime winner, it has its place in that playoff run. The Canes went ahead 2-0 in the series en route to a five-game victory over the Devils, who were the league’s hottest team coming in.
On the RBC Center press level, many of the best moments from 2006 are captured in oversized photos along the hallway wall. Almost all of them are of the aforementioned Game 7 or subsequent celebrations involving the Stanley Cup, but that goal (pictured) still made the cut.
That being said, Jussi Jokinen’s goal last night might top that famous tally. In-game emotion swings don’t get much wilder than they were last night, with the Devils seeming to have recaptured the momentum of the entire series with their three-goal comeback. Had the Devils won in overtime, things would have been scary heading back to New Jersey for a potential elimination game.
With just .2 seconds left on the clock, I have to imagine that was the only walk-off regulation goal in playoff history. There wasn’t even enough time left to drop the puck. If you haven’t seen it, our game-night wallpaper (right) has a fantastic shot of the puck heading in just after it hit Jokinen’s skate.
How will this affect the rest of the series? To be honest, I don’t know that we’ll get a dejected performance from the Devils tomorrow night, however tough to swallow that loss may have been. They’re too smart and too composed for that. However, I do expect the Canes to come out with a swagger and a purpose, which is good because they’ll need to win two games in a row and at least one on the road at some point to win this series. Best to get that out of the way tomorrow night.
The Canes are catching an early 1 p.m. flight to Newark today, so there won’t be a practice or media access period. We’ll still have some posts for you today, however.
Finally, you’ve probably seen the highlights once or 20 times, but here’s the goal, once more for good measure.