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Oilers season comes to an end

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers

Unlike either of the past two games, the Hurricanes got off to a fast start. Mark Recchi had a great scoring chance early on with a backhand from the slot but was turned away by Markkanen.

Seconds later, Aaron Ward teed up a shot from the right circle that found the back of the net to put Carolina in front 1-0.

After a goaltender interference call on Eric Staal, Edmonton went on the game's first power play. The Oilers had several chances to tie it up including a Pronger blast from the high slot, but Ward was there to turn it away.

Midway through the period, the line of Stoll, Samsonov and Dvorak had a couple of good scoring chances. Dvorak almost shoveled the puck in at the side of the net, while Tarnstrom's shot from the left circle was also turned away.

With four seconds to go in the opening frame, a bizarre set of events caused a lengthy delay. With a delayed penalty on the way, Craig Adams batted the puck out of the air toward the Oilers net. Jussi Markkanen stopped the puck with his pads and Steve Staios snuck in behind him to ensure the puck did not cross the goal line.

What followed was first a review to see if the puck did indeed cross the line. After it was confirmed that it did not, both officials discussed whether a penalty shot should be awarded on the play as a result of Staios covering it in the crease.

After a ten-minute delay, it was determined that when Staios covered the puck, the Oilers had possession. With the delayed penalty on the way, the whistle went.

After one period, shots on goal were 10-5 for Carolina.

The Hurricanes started period two on the power play but the Oilers had the first two scoring chances. Fernando Pisani had a partial break but shot the puck high and seconds later, Rem Murray broke in alone but was stoned by Ward.

Four minutes in, Markkanen made a huge stop on Recchi after the 'Canes forward accepted a cross-ice pass in the slot. Going back the other way, Jarret Stoll took a long feed from Dick Tarnstrom but could not get a clear shot on his partial break.

Carolina doubled their lead to 2-0 on a power play goal a minute after that. Frantisek Kaberle blasted a shot from the left point past Markkanen for the goal.

Markkanen made a huge stop to keep the Oilers in the game with 13 minutes left in the second. Matt Cullen made a nice behind-the-back pass to Ray Whitney who one-timed it from the slot. Markkanen was able to get his right pad down and keep the puck out.

The Oilers had an opportunity to get back in the game with less than four minutes to play. Penalties to Wallin and Ward five seconds apart gave the visitors an extended two-man advantage. A minute into the five-on-three, Ryan Smyth was sent off for hooking and Carolina's PK unit did a good job killing off the remaining minute.

Shots on goal after two periods were 21-13 for the Hurricanes.

The Oilers scored 1:03 into the third period to cut Carolina's lead to 2-1. Rem Murray, Raffi Torres and Fernando Pisani each fired consecutive shots on Ward and finally Pisani's found its way past the Hurricanes netminder.

Rod Brind'Amour almost regained Carolina's two-goal lead near the midway point of the third but Jussi Markkanen was able to dive across and get a shoulder on the puck.

With 7:22 to go in the third, the Oilers had one final power play to tie the game. Bret Hedican was sent off for roughing to set up the man advantage. Carolina was able to kill off the penalty but not without Edmonton creating sustained pressure in their zone. The Hurricanes did a good job blocking shots and not letting the Oilers get anything through to Cam Ward as the Oilers desperately tried to tie the game.

With 3:40 to go, Pisani and Torres broke into the Carolina zone. Torres took the initial shot and Pisani was right there for the rebound but so was Cam Ward, sticking out his left pad to make a miraculous stop for the Hurricanes.

NOTES: The Oilers went with the same lineup as Game 6, while the Hurricanes sat Josef Vasicek in favour of dressing Chad LaRose... The home team has now won Game 7 18 straight times in the championship game when you consider NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball. The last road team to win a Game 7 was the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Baltimore Orioles in 1979.
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