With the Carolina Hurricanes Stanley Cup Championship 10-year reunion coming up this weekend, the theme for most or possibly all of my Daily Cup of Joe posts for this week will focus on that magical season and its playoff run.
Today’s post will look at the biggest goals for the Hurricanes in the 2006 playoffs going in chronological order.
Round 1; Game 3; Rod Brind’Amour scores midway through the third period to tie the game at 1
Lost by some in the magical run that followed is the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes came very close to never getting off the ground in the playoffs. The Canes had home ice but lost both of the first 2 games at home. Carolina was blown out 6-1 in a disappointing start to the playoffs. And despite a tremendous comeback in game 2, the team lost again 6-5 in double overtime. With a win in game 3, the Canadiens would have been up 3-0 in the series and almost certainly on their way to a series win. And despite the Canes tightening things up defensively in front of rookie starter Cam Ward, Montreal was seemingly on its way to grinding out a third win carrying a 1-0 lead deep into the game. Rod Brind’Amour broke through scoring on a partial breakaway with only 8:33 remaining in the game and gave the Hurricanes life and a chance to climb back into the series also setting up the next huge goal.
Round 1; Game 3; Vs. Montreal: Eric Staal scores in overtime to get the Canes back into the series down only 2-1
Rod Brind’Amour’s goal to force overtime was half of what was needed. Eric Staal provided the other half when he scored his first of 9 playoff goals on the power play only 3:38 into overtime pushing the Canes into the win column and making a series of it.
Round 1; Game 4; Vs. Montreal: Rod Brind’Amour scores the game-winner in the third period to pull series even at 2-2
After storming out to an early 2-0 lead, the Hurricanes allowed 2 goals in the second period setting up a ‘next goal likely wins it’ third period that could have seen the Canadiens return to Raleigh with a commanding 3-1 lead. Instead, it was captain Rod Brind’Amour who scored another big goal staking the Canes to a 3-2 lead 5:54 into the third period. The lead stood up, and the Hurricanes gained momentum and never looked back on the way to a 4-2 series win.
Round 1; Game 6; Vs. Montreal: Cory Stillman scores the first series winner in overtime
With the Hurricanes up 3 games to 2 and playing to win the series, game 6 was a nail-biter of a game. Both teams score within 30 seconds of each other in the first half of the first period but then not again in regulation. Only 1:14 into overtime, Cory Stillman scored with an assist to Rod Brind’Amour to get the Canes past a slow start and into the second round.
Round 2; Game 2; Vs. New Jersey: Eric Staal scores craziest (IMHO) goal in Hurricanes playoff history
After winning game 1 in a 6-0 route, the Devils looked to bounce back and earn a split in Raleigh before heading home. When Scott Gomez scored with only 21 seconds left in regulation to put the Devils up 2-1, it seemed certain that the Devils would win and that the teams would return to New Jersey tied at 1 game apiece. After two-thirds of the RBC Center emptied during a long video review of Gomez’s goal, the puck was dropped at center ice with only 21 seconds remaining. In what seemed like record speed, the Hurricanes won the face-off dumped the puck deep, won it again and found Eric Staal in front of the net for a bang-bang goal. The eruption from the remaining crowd caused people in the parking lot to turn around and come back for overtime.
Round 2; Game 2; Vs. New Jersey: ‘The secret weapon’ strikes
The conclusion of the already wild game was finished in nearly as unlikely manner when Rod Brind’Amour hit a streaking Niclas Wallin with a pass for a breakaway that saw him shoot and then somehow knock in his own rebound to win the game for the Hurricanes only 3:09 into overtime.
Round 2; Game 3; Vs. New Jersey: The captain stomps out any possible Devils rebound
Game 3 of the New Jersey series saw the Devils trying to win at home and claw their way into the series. Rod Brind’Amour scored what would become the game-winner on the power play late in the second period. When the Canes made the 3-2 lead stand up throughout the third period, they were up 3-0 and on their way to a 4-1 series win.
Round 3; Game 5; Vs. Buffalo: Brind’Amour nets another big goal
With the series tied at 2-2 and the Hurricanes playing to keep their home ice advantage and assure that any Stanley Cup Finals berth would need to run back through Raleigh in game 7, the Sabres climbed out to an early 3-1 lead. After Mark Recchi pulled the Canes within 1 at 3-2, captain Rod Brind’Amour notched another big goal about midway through the game to pull the Canes even at 3-3.
Round 3; Game 5; Vs. Buffalo: Cory Stillman wins another critical game in overtime
A scoreless and tense second half of regulation led to a do or die overtime to see who would play game 6 with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. When Cory Stillman scored his second overtime game-winner of the playoffs, the Hurricanes had earned 2 opportunities to win their way into the Stanley Cup Finals and assured that playoff hockey would return to Raleigh.
Round 3; Game 7; Vs. Buffalo: Doug Weight pulls Canes even in deciding game
After losing game 6 in Buffalo, the Hurricanes returned to Raleigh for a deciding game on home ice. The good guys entered the third period losing 2-1 and with Buffalo just needing to hold the fort for 20 minutes to leave Raleigh and the home fans in heartbreak. With pressure just starting to mount in the third period, Doug Weight scored 1:34 into the third period to pull the Canes even at 2-2.
Round 3; Game 7; Vs. Buffalo: The captain scores the game-winner to advance to the Finals
With the game knotted at 2 and less than 10 minutes remaining in what had become a ‘next goal plays for the Cup’ event, captain Rod Brind’Amour again stepped up to score another huge goal. His power play marker with only 8:38 remaining set off an eruption still echoing through North Carolina sports circles, staked the Canes to a 3-2 lead and paved the way to a game 7 win.
Round 4: Game 1; Vs. Edmonton: Brind’Amour scores second craziest goal of 2006 playoffs to get Canes back into game
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals saw the Edmonton Oilers storm out to a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the second period and look to be on their way to an easy win. A crazy sequence that saw Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson mishandle a puck right onto Rod Brind’Amour’s stick for a quick bang in goal seemed to be just the break that the Canes needed to climb back into the game. Brind’Amour’s goal was followed by 2 Ray Whitney strikes early in the third period.
Round 4; Game 1; Vs. Edmonton: Rod Brind’Amour scores improbable game-winner after 3-goal comeback
With only 32 seconds remaining in regulation, Rod Brind’Amour netted another game-winner to cap a crazy comeback from a 3-goal deficit to run out to a 1-0 series lead after nearly being left for dead at the midway point of the game.
Round 4; Game 7; Vs. Edmonton: Aaron Ward stakes Canes to 1-0 lead in ‘winner takes all’ game
Improbable scorer Aaron Ward got the Canes on the board first in the deciding game 7 Stanley Cup game in Raleigh with a shot from the point. The goal put the pressure firmly on Edmonton and allowed the Canes to settle into their game in a pressure-packed affair.
Round 4; Game 7; Vs. Edmonton: Justin Williams hits empty net to send the RBC Center into pandemonium
With the entire crowd on its feet and the team clinging to a 2-1 lead, Justin Williams found the puck on his stick with a little over 1 minute remaining and made no mistake burying the empty-netter to assure that the Stanley Cup would be hoisted in victory for the home team on that magical night of June 19, 2006.
What jumps out at me in this walk down memory lane is 2 things. First is how close the Hurricanes 2006 playoff run came to never launching. After falling behind 2 games to 0 at home, game 3 was a grinding struggle that saw the Canes losing late and with the possibility to also lose in overtime. Second is how many of the most important goals featured Rod Brind’Amour.
With 16 playoff wins mostly of the close variety, there are obviously other options for the top goals of the 2006 playoffs. What important ones did I miss?