Sunday, May 28, 2006

Oilers bound for Stanley Cup final - CBC Sports / Yahoo Sports

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Last Updated: Sun May 28 00:52:38 EDT 2006

Edmonton captain Jason Smith poses with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, awarded to the Western Conference champion. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

The Edmonton Oilers survived an early Anaheim barrage and then took advantage of their scoring chances to advance to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years.

Forward Raffi Torres scored the game-winning goal of Game 5 as the Oilers defeated the Ducks 2-1 Saturday night in Anaheim.

Edmonton wins its best-of-seven Western Conference final 4-1 and will play the winner of the Buffalo-Carolina series in the final round.

The Oilers, who will try to capture the franchise's sixth championship, haven't played for hockey's ultimate prize since their 1990 Stanley Cup run.

Edmonton can also become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens completed the feat back in 1993.

"For the whole organization and all these players that have been here for so many years and battled tooth and nail, the core of our team, I couldn't be more happier for those guys," elated Oilers coach Craig MacTavish told Hockey Night In Canada.

"[There's] a great party I'm sure in Edmonton on Whyte Avenue tonight and everybody's got to enjoy it. The city needed it, as [Oilers chairman] Cal Nichols said before. It's good for the soul of the city and we're real happy to be going to the finals."

Edmonton grabbed a 2-1 lead at 8:31 of the second period following heavy pressure in the Ducks' zone.

Torres deflected defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron's point shot, which changed direction and sailed over Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

The Oilers then overcame a parade to the penalty box in the third period to hold on for the win.

Edmonton goaltender Dwayne Roloson regained his form Saturday night to make 32 stops, including several key saves in the third period.

"The guy's been unreal, he's just a rock back there and never once has his composure faltered," MacTavish said of Roloson.

"He was the guy, when they were running him in the third game, [who] said, 'Don't worry about me, don't retaliate, we'll score on the power play,' so the guy is a rock and is the last concern we have in terms of coming unglued."

Roloson's most important save of the night came when he got his right arm on a Rob Niedermayer shot in the third to preserve the 2-1 lead.

The 36-year-old veteran struggled in the four periods prior to Saturday night's game, allowing nine goals during that stretch.

"It's special," said Roloson. "It's always special, any time you get a chance to go the finals.

The Ducks can point to their ineptitude with their power play as one of several reasons for their exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Anaheim had a glorious opportunity to even the game with less than three minutes remaining, but failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play.

The Ducks even pulled Giguere in a rare 6-on-3 chance for 18 seconds, but failed to generate consistent shots at Roloson.

"They were crowding pretty hard, especially when they had the 5-on-3, but we were able to block some shots and I was able to see a couple of the shots coming through so it was great that [we] were able to clinch it here," said Roloson.

Despite opening the scoring on the power player, Anaheim went a paltry 1-11 in Game 5 and a staggering 3-39 in the series.

The Oilers used their four-man box perfectly while short-handed, making it difficult for the Ducks to get a clear shot on net.

"It's unbelievable," said Oilers forward Ryan Smyth. "It's a great feeling. Great team effort tonight and we got a great team, and we just want to continue the success.

"[The last three minutes were] a little nerve-wracking, but for most of the game we clogged them up and kept them on the outside."

The Ducks took the early 1-0 lead at 7:30 of the first period. After Ryan Getzlaf centre won the faceoff, defenceman Francois Beauchemin's quick point shot sailed through traffic and beat a screened Roloson over his right shoulder.

The Oilers tied the game 1-1 at 3:42 of the second period on a nice second effort by winger Ethan Moreau.

Giguere initially stopped Moreau on a wrap-around attempt, but the rebound beat the Anaheim netminder just under his glove.

Giguere, who had reclaimed the No. 1 job from Ilya Bryzgalov, played solidly and stopped 23 shots.

The Oilers recovered from a first period that saw Anaheim dominate physically. The Ducks used their speed and aggression to outshoot Edmonton 14-8 in the period, but could only manage a 1-0 lead.

"We didn't create enough inside," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We had opportunities in the hockey game to go inside a bit more, to get more traffic. I think we were guilty of not shooting the puck enough.

"We were in positions at times, from our perspective on the bench anyways, it looked like we could have shot the puck, and we didn't. We chose to pass off and I thought at times we got a little too cute with it."


Blogger Spencer said...

You all do love your hockey. Sorry for removing your comment the other day on my pissed off post I took the post down after I took a nap. haha

Hope your having a good weekend!

5:12 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

So cool man... I don't have much internet access right now so I just saw this...

Just wait till they win the cup!

10:37 PM  

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