by Kate Shefte
FSCR/ TV—Bring on the Bruins.
Behind with 1:20 left in the game, the ‘Canes potted an incredible two goals and downed the Devils, 4-3, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinals. They will now move on to face the top-seeded Boston Bruins either Friday or Saturday evening.
The ‘Canes won this game as they won the series: after repeatedly falling behind and clawing their way back. Brian Rolston scored in the second period to put the Devils up again and the ‘Canes couldn’t respond for almost two periods. The team appeared to be down and out until Joni Pitkanen set up Mr. Clutch Goal himself, fellow Finn Jussi Jokinen, who fired one past Brodeur to tie it up and send it into overtime.
But before the Devils could escape regulation, Eric Staal streaked up the side and sent a puck soaring past Brodeur with 32 seconds left in the game. New Jersey looked dumbfounded. The team – and fans everywhere – collapsed into hysterics.
This was by no means a dominant effort by the ‘Canes. The Devils beat them in every statistic, in every possible way – except the one that mattered.
It may seem like a lifetime ago, but Tuomo Ruutu scored first a minute into the game to put the ‘Canes up. It didn’t last. New Jersey responded immediately, and the see-saw battle commenced. Ray Whitney notched his third of the postseason, but the ‘Canes didn’t regain the lead until there was just over a minute left in the game. All in all, the team led the game for a total of two minutes and one second. Talk about cutting it close.
So the 'Canes crashed the Marty Party. It was an epic battle, one of the most exciting playoff series in franchise history, with highlight reel goals aplenty and enough incredible goaltending and last-second efforts to send even the most hardened hockey fan's heart racing. The Big Bad Bruins loom ahead this weekend. Tomorrow, we’ll have a series recap up and a Bruins preview will follow closely behind.
Heartfelt thank-you’s to all of the fans that participated in the Indy’s liveblog during the Game 7 telecast. My sincerest apologies for bringing out the 1980 Olympic call, “Do you believe in miracles” The reference may have been a tad ridiculous, but at the time, it seemed warranted.