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Oilers lose Game 1; Roloson out for finals

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The big story on the night was Dwayne Roloson's injury with five minutes remaining in the third period. With his injury, Roloson is out of the series.

"Goalie's not good," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish after the game. "Won't be back in the series."

30 seconds after Ales Hemsky had tied the game at 4-4, Roloson was injured after the Hurricanes crashed the net. Marc-Andre Bergeron steered Hurricanes forward Andrew Ladd into the goal and Roloson's knee twisted awkwardly against the post.

The injury meant Ty Conklin drew into a playoff game for the first time in his career.

"That's the first time I've come in with five minutes left in a Stanley Cup Final," said Conklin. "It's going to be a learning process obviously."

The game looked to be headed for overtime until some miscommunication behind the net between Conklin and Jason Smith resulted in Rod Brind'Amour sneaking behind the net to pick up the puck and wrap it in to give Carolina a 5-4 lead.

"I think I just held on to the puck too long," noted Conklin. "I didn't make the play quickly. That was not a mistake that I think I would normally make."

With time winding down, Ward made another huge, game-saving stop with Edmonton pressing to tie it up. He reached across to snag the puck right out of the air with 3.8 seconds to go.

The Oilers got the first power play of the series after Mike Commodore took a boarding minor at the 2:12 mark of the opening frame.

Edmonton generated a couple of chances while up a man but couldn't beat Cam Ward. The best chance came off the stick of Ryan Smyth. His wrister from the left circle was gloved by the Hurricanes netminder.

Several minutes later, the Oilers struck for the first goal of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. Jaroslav Spacek corraled a Carolina clearing attempt and then blasted it on Ward. The shot was tipped on its way to the net but Ward was still able to make the save. Pisani was stationed right in front where he scooped up the puck and snuck around Ward to put it in.

Edmonton's first penalty came with 8:15 left in the first. Steve Staios upended Craig Adams in the neutral zone for the two minutes.

The Oilers were able to kill that one off pretty easily but then took another penalty shortly after to give the 'Canes another chance to tie the game. Marc-Andre Bergeron knocked down Matt Cullen behind the Carolina net to get an interference minor.

On the ensuing power play, Ethan Moreau was able to create a turnover and break in alone. He was hauled down by Bret Hedican 43 seconds into the penalty kill to negate the rest of Carolina's man advantage. Nine seconds later, Niclas Wallin tripped up Spacek to put Edmonton on a four-on-three advantage.

Edmonton buzzed around the Carolina net but couldn't beat Ward or the Hurricanes' shot blockers.

Shots on goal after one period were 8-8.

Ward had to make a pair of big saves early in the second. He stopped a dangerous backhand from the slot by Staios and then was right there for the rebound by Ethan Moreau in front.

Roloson was equal to his counterpart from across the ice. He came across to stop an Eric Staal wrister from the right circle while Carolina was enjoying their third power play of the game.

Midway through the period, Marc-Andre Bergeron's stick broke at the point creating an odd-man rush for Carolina but Bergeron levelled Staal with a nice open-ice hit to break up the play.

During a mad scramble in front, Niclas Wallin put his glove on the puck which resulted in a penalty shot being awarded to the Oilers. Chris Pronger was chosen to take the shot.

Pronger skated in slowly before picking the corner blocker side on Cam Ward to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead.

"I don't think we wanted to get too far ahead of ourselves. Just had a couple of things I wanted to do and kind of opened up, fortunate enough to go in," said Pronger.

With just over three minutes to play in the middle frame, Ethan Moreau wristed a shot at the blueline from the boards that hit Aaron Ward in front before going in.

The Hurricanes came right back and scored to close the gap to 3-1. Rod Brind'Amour was stationed in front and banged a rebound home into the empty net.

With a minute left in the second and Carolina on a power play, Roloson dove out to pokecheck Staal as the Hurricanes forward broke in alone on the Oilers net.

Shots after two periods were 19-15 in favour of Edmonton.

Carolina scored early in the third period to close the gap to 3-2. Doug Weight carried the puck across the line before setting up Ray Whitney at the top of the left circle for a one-timer.

Several minutes later, the Hurricanes tied it up with a power play goal. Mark Recchi drove to the net and was stopped by Roloson. Whitney was right there to put home the rebound and make it a 3-3 game.

After losing the lead, the Oilers went back on the attack to regain it. Cam Ward made a huge stop on Radek Dvorak as the Oilers winger spun and fired it from the slot. The Carolina netminder was able to kick out his pad and make the save.

The Hurricanes made it 4-3 midway through the third after Justin Williams created a turnover in the neutral zone while shorthanded before sending himself alone on a breakaway. Williams made no mistake, picking the corner to give his team the lead.

With 8:22 left in the period, Cam Ward made the save of the playoffs to keep his team in front. Shawn Horcoff had a wide-open net but Ward somehow got across to get a glove on the puck.

Edmonton's pressure finally paid off as Ales Hemsky scored a power play goal to tie the game at 4-4 with 6:29 to go but Roloson was injured 30 seconds later.

NOTES: The Oilers went with the same lineup as Game 5 against Anaheim. Scratches for Carolina were Andrew Hutchinson, Erik Cole (fractured vertebra), Anton Babchuk, Josef Vasicek and Oleg Tverdosky... With Pisani's goal, he has now taken over sole possession of first place in the NHL in playoff scoring with 10 goals... Pronger's goal was the first successful penalty shot in Stanley Cup Final history.
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