Thursday, June 08, 2006

Canes in control

The end result was exactly what many Oiler fans had hoped to avoid, a one sided score that gives Carolina the momentum and a commanding two games to none lead on Edmonton. For Oiler fans game two was a nightmare scenario from the second period on. It gives a bit of credence to those that suggested that the Oil’s run for the Cup had run out of gas when Dwayne Roloson suffered his series ending injury. On Wednesday night, the Oil looked like anything but a contender for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The Hurricanes took charge of the play in the second and began to roll the points over on the way to a 5-0 victory over an overwhelmed looking Oiler squad. Edmonton held their own in the first period, holding off the Hurricanes attack time and time again, power play opportunities went for naught for the Canes in the first as Edmonton locked things down for the first twenty minutes. In the first the Oilers seemed to withstand the Hurricane attack, fighting off the pace that the Canes tried to bring to the game and shutting down their explosive offence for the first part of the game.

But in that second the roof seemed to come down on top of Edmonton, they took far too many penalties which put them deep into a hole early on as Carolina took the play to the Oilers finding success again and again on Oiler goaltender Jussi Markennen. Though to be fair to the Oiler stand in, he was left on his own far too much and faced some pretty impressive scoring plays from a fired up Hurricane squad. Once the Canes got a 2-0 lead they seemed to pick up an extra gear and began to take the play deep in the Oiler end on pretty well every shift.

The loss puts the Oilers in a familiar position, down two games and facing long odds to make a comeback. While the faithful will point to the San Jose series for inspiration, they may have a tougher road ahead this time. Carolina seemed to gain confidence with each shift and each goal, the 5-0 victory on Wednesday a convincing statement that they can see the Stanley Cup on the horizon and are closing in on it fast.

Game three goes Saturday night in Edmonton, it’s a must win for the Oil who will be hoping that he Rexall Place regulars are still on the bandwagon. They’ll need much more than the noise of the crowd and high octane atmosphere of the hockey hotbed, but having the home fans onside will be a huge boost for a team that arrived in Raleigh with high expectations and now returns home to Edmonton just hoping to get back into the series.

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