The Carolina Hurricanes celebrated the beginning of the hurricane season by storming the Buffalo Sabres end of the rink and taking game seven by a score of 4-2. In a fast and furious final game to the eastern conference the Canes and Sabres exchanged rushes, with a weary Buffalo squad gamely trying to hold onto a 2-1 lead long enough to secure the win and a berth in the Stanley Cup finals.
But in the end the Canes overpowered the Sabres, they took charge of the game for good in the third period and Buffalo found itself slowly watching the clock tick away and with it their dream of a Stanley Cup ring for another year.
The veteran roster of Carolina finally rose to the occasion as Weight, Brind’amour, Stillman and Hedican had a very strong game in aid of the 4-2 victory. Buffalo with a depleted blue line could only try to hold on and hope for a lucky break to try and tie the game, in the end the lucky break went the way of the Hurricanes.
The bane of hockey teams through the playoffs the clearing pass that goes up and out proved to be a costly mistake for Buffalo. The delay of game penalty (which will no doubt be refined in the off season) cost the Sabres the game as Carolina scored on the power play to put themselves ahead for good.
By that point a visibly tired and spent Sabres team seemed to have problems getting out of their own end, passes didn’t make it their destination and shots on net went wide or were deflected aside. The game always was within reach, but Carolina finally put things to rest with an insurance goal in the last minute of play.
The Hurricanes showed a lot of determination in the back and forth match up, heading into the third period they were trailing thanks to a last second goal in the second period, with Buffalo holding the lead 2-1 Carolina could have found things a little tight around the neck, but instead they returned to their game plan and did a remarkable job of regaining control of the game.
The win sets up the first all ex WHA final since the merger, Carolina (nee Hartford) will meet the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night to open up the Stanley Cup Finals. Somewhere (either on earth or above) Gary Davidson, Dennis Murphy and Wild “Bill” Hunter will be smiling and offering up a glass to glory days gone by