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Strader Blog for June 10th

Saturday, 06.10.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Strader Blog for June 10th

Hello Panther Fans!!

Well, as I said in my last installment, I had picked against the Oilers in the first three rounds of the playoffs. I said that if I had to make a pick, I would go with the Oilers in six games over Carolina in the finals. Now that Edmonton is down two games to none, especially in light of what happened in game one, it's going to take a monumental comeback for the Oilers to win their first Cup in sixteen years.

Game one was one of the craziest Stanley Cup games that I have ever covered. Edmonton built a 3-0 lead well into the second period. The 3 goals included a successful penalty shot by defenseman Chris Pronger, the first successful penalty shot in Stanley Cup Finals history. The 'Canes stormed back to take a 4-3 lead in the third before Edmonton's power play produced the tying goal. It looked like we were headed for overtime when a collision between Carolina's Andrew Ladd and Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson caused a knee injury that knocked Roloson out for the rest of the series. Backup goalie Ty Conklin faced only 3 shots in the final six minutes of regulation, but a poor exchange between Conklin and defenseman Jason Smith led to an easy tap in goal for Rod Brind'Amour with only 33 seconds left in regulation.

The loss of Roloson changes everything in this series. I had said that Carolina rookie goalie Cam Ward needed to match the veteran Roloson in terms of big saves. Although Ward yielded four goals in game one, he may have been the best player on the ice. He made several highlight reel type saves. It could have been 3 or 4 to nothing by the end of the first period. Ward then followed that performance with a shutout in game two, the first by a rookie in the finals since Patrick Roy with Montreal back in 1986.

The Oilers went with Jussi Markkanen in goal rather than Conklin. Markkanen was OK, but Ward was much better at the other end. It appears that Oiler coach Craig MacTavish will stay with Markkanen the rest of the way.

The atmosphere in Rexall Place will be a much needed boost for the Oilers and a test for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward is a native of nearby Sherwood Park and he has 23 family members including his fiance' coming to the game. He will need to keep his composure against an Oiler team that is averaging 3.6 goals per game at home with a 6-2 record.

The trip to Edmonton from Raleigh was much easier on the NHL's charter flight that was made available to members of the media. It was an Air Canada 767 that made the trip in about 4 hours and 15 minutes. I spoke with a member of the Raleigh media who flew commercial yesterday through Chicago (there are no direct commercial flights from Raleigh to Edmonton). His flight from Chicago to Edmonton was cancelled and he had to stay overnight in Chicago. After a short night, he was put on a flight from Chicago to Denver before finally getting to Edmonton in time to see the end of the Hurricanes practice. He also told me that Carolina GM Jim Rutherford had a kidney stone attack on the team's charter flight on Thursday. The plane landed in Chicago where Rutherford spent the night for treatment. Rutherford was well enough to make the trip to Edmonton on Friday.

Other tidbits: Carolina's Aaron Ward played in Germany during the lockout for a team called ERC Ingolstadt...they have had a "Hockey Night" in the town everytime one of the NHL players who played on their team is on TV during the playoffs...the Devils' Jamie Langenbrunner also played on that team and Aaron told me the fans weren't too sure whom to root for during the New Jersey-Carolina series...chances are the fans in Ingolstadt are watching the NHL International broadcast that I am working!...Ward says the hockey fans in Germany are crazy, much like the soccer crowds...I recieved some good news today that NBC Sports has picked up the option on my contract for next year's NHL coverage...I'll be back after game 4.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 73 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 71 15 26 -2 41
J. Jokinen 75 8 33 -2 41
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 75 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 66 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 65 14 17 -1 31
B. Campbell 76 3 22 2 25
B. Pirri 43 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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