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Bring It Home!

The three words above were the ones chanted by a rabid fan-base in Edmonton last night, sensing a historical run by their Oilers and the first legitimate taste of the Stanley Cup since 1990. The Oilers completely dominated the Hurricanes to defeat them 4-0 in Game 6 and have rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in the series to force a Game 7. The only team to come back from 3-1 to win the Cup was Toronto in 1942.


Edmonton has completely turned the tide on Carolina. In Game 6, right before Fernando Pisani's beautiful overtime goal, the Hurricanes hit the post on a shot that would have won them the series. Pisani's goal is what is referred to as a turning point, as the Canes have looked like a neutered version of their formerly powerful self and the Oilers look like they're aware of how unstoppable they are.

You could smell the desperation coming from Carolina's locker room from before the game when it was revealed that Carolina forward Erik Cole, out since March with a broken vertebrae in his neck, made a surprise return to the lineup. Coach Peter Laviolette has constantly denied any possibility of Cole's return all the way into the Finals. His surprise addition to the lineup was, in my mind, premature at best and a strong display of worry. The Hurricanes hoped his presence would provide a spark, especially with the absence of Doug Weight, but the experiment fell flat on its face. The Hurricanes, who played four of their forwards near a ridiculous 20 minutes each last night, are suddenly showing their age. At one point they were outshot 21-4 and hadn't gotten a puck on net in 28 minutes, nearly half of the game. They were penalized for too many men on the ice twice, and when Laviolette called an unusual timeout late in the second, you could see from the red in his face and portruding veins in his neck that he knew how bad his team was blowing it. The Oilers, on the other hand, are coming alive under Pisani, who's taken on the role of average-player-who-shines-in-the-playoffs. After scoring just 18 goals all season long, he's now got 13 in the playoffs and looks like Claude Lemieux circa 1995.

Of course, Carolina has 60 more minutes to rectify the horrible two games they've had, and they'll benefit from being in front of their home crowd. This promises to be the biggest Game 7 in the Finals since Vancouver also came back from 3-1 before losing to the Rangers in 1994, and is just what the NHL wanted and needed. Things happen in hockey that don't happen in other sports--you never see an 8 seed fighting for the NBA championship, and until the Steelers won the Super Bowl a wild card team had never accomplished that before. I guarantee you this: if Edmonton wins the Stanley Cup, it'll immediately become one of the most historic moments in hockey history for so many reasons, and you'll regret not having watched it.