The 2006 Stanley Cup Final NHL championship series was contested by the Eastern Conference champions Carolina Hurricanes and the Western Conference champions Edmonton Oilers. It was the Hurricanes second appearance in the Final, the other being in 2002 Final when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings. It was the Oilers first appearance since they won their fifth Stanley Cup in team history in the 1990 Final. Carolina defeated Edmonton four games to three to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup and second league championship (the club, known then as the New England Whalers won the 1973 Avco World Trophy final).
Paths to the FinalEdit
- See also: 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs, 2005–06 Carolina Hurricanes season, and 2005–06 Edmonton Oilers season
Edmonton defeated the Western Conference No. 1 seed Detroit Red Wings 4–2, the San Jose Sharks 4–2 and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4–1 to advance to the Final. This marked the first time since the current Conference-based playoff format, debuted in 1994, that a team seeded #8 made it to the Finals.
This series marked the first time that two former World Hockey Association teams played against each other for the Stanley Cup since they merged with the NHL in 1979. The Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes team is the only former WHA club to have never contested an NHL Final. As a result of the new scheduling formula that was implemented before the 2005–06 NHL season, the Hurricanes and the Oilers did not meet during the regular season.
These were also the first ever Finals contested by two teams that had both missed the playoffs the previous season (assuming one skips the unplayed 2005 Stanley Cup playoffs). Even more interestingly, it would also prove to be the first Finals contested by teams that would both go on to miss the following years' playoffs. Prior to these Finals, only the 1938–39 Chicago Black Hawks had ever missed the playoffs one year, then played in the Stanley Cup Final (win or lose) the following season, and then missed the playoffs again the season after that. Both the Hurricanes and Oilers have now accomplished this dubious feat.
|Monday, June 5||Carolina Hurricanes||5 – 4||Edmonton Oliers||RBC Center|
In game one, Carolina tied the biggest comeback in Stanley Cup Finals history, overcoming a three-goal deficit to win, 5–4. Edmonton scored first, 8:18 into the first period, with a goal from Fernando Pisani. In the second period, Chris Pronger scored the first penalty shot goal in Stanley Cup Finals history after defenceman Niclas Wallin illegally covered the puck inside his own goal crease, and Ethan Moreau's goal at 16:23 gave the Oilers a 3–0 lead. But at the 17:17 mark, Rod Brind'Amour scored the Hurricanes' first goal of the game. Carolina then tied the game in the third period with two scores by Ray Whitney. The Hurricanes jumped ahead, 4–3, on a shorthanded breakaway goal by Justin Williams, but Edmonton's Ales Hemsky scored on a power play to tie the game with 6:29 remaining. Late in the final period, Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson suffered a series-ending knee injury in a collision and was replaced with Ty Conklin. With 32 seconds to go in regulation, Conklin misplayed the puck behind his own net, and it deflected off Jason Smith's stick to the front of the empty net, allowing Brind'Amour to score the winning goal. Hurricanes' netminder Cam Ward had to make the last of his 34 saves with 3.8 seconds remaining, robbing Shawn Horcoff for the second time in the third period with a glove save to preserve the victory.
|Wednesday, June 7||Carolina Hurricanes||5 – 0||Edmonton Oliers||RBC Center|
With Roloson's injury, Jussi Markkanen started for the Oilers in game two. Although Markkanen had played 37 games in the regular season - sharing the job with Ty Conklin and Mike Morrison - he had watched the entire post-season from the press box (Conklin sat on the bench as the backup); he also had not played in a game since March 1, 2006. The Hurricanes shut out the Oilers, 5–0, with five different Carolina players scoring goals. Markkanen was Edmonton's third goaltender in the series. It was the first time three goaltenders had been used in a Cup Finals since May 1970, when the St. Louis Blues employed Jacques Plante, Glenn Hall and Ernie Wakely on their way to being swept by the Boston Bruins.
|Saturday, June 10||Edmonton Oilers||2 – 1||Carolina Hurricanes||Rexall Place|
Markkanen once again started in net with Roloson still out. Shawn Horcoff scored just over two minutes into the first period. During the second period, a short-handed goal was waved off by the referee, because he had lost sight of the puck and had blown the whistle, despite the fact that the puck had not yet been covered. The Hurricanes responded midway through the third period with their captain, Rod Brind'Amour, taking a rebound off a blocked shot past Markkanen. However, with 2:15 left in the game, Edmonton's Ryan Smyth scored the winning goal after crashing into Ward inside the crease as they both tried to get control of a rebound off of a shot by Ales Hemsky. Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette and many other Carolina players complained that Smyth should have been penalized for interference, but no penalty was called since the referees felt that he did not make enough contact with Ward to prevent him from attempting a save.   
|Monday, June 12||Edmonton Oliers||1 – 2||Carolina Hurricanes||Rexall Place|
Edmonton got off to a good start when Sergei Samsonov opened the scoring at 8:40 of the first period. However, the lead was short-lived as Cory Stillman replied just 29 seconds later to tie the game, 1–1. Stillman also made a fine defensive play on Chris Pronger late in the second period, tipping the puck away in the Edmonton zone to the front of the net, where Eric Staal fed a nice pass over to Mark Recchi, who slammed home the game-winning goal with 4:08 to go in the period. Once again Edmonton's power-play was futile, failing to capitalize on five chances, including a 2-man advantage in the first period. When the game ended, the Oilers were 1-for-25 on the power play to this point in the series.
|Wednesday, June 14||Carolina Hurricanes||3 – 4||OT||Edmonton Oilers||RBC Center|
Carolina had a 3–1 lead in the series and a chance to win the Stanley Cup on their home ice. However, Edmonton scored first on Fernando Pisani's redirect of a Pronger slapshot 16 seconds into the game. The Hurricanes then went ahead, 2–1, on two power-play goals by Staal and Whitney before the Oilers scored on the power play with a beautiful one-timer by Hemsky to tie the game. Peca then gave Edmonton a 3–2 lead with 17.4 seconds left in the first period. In the second period, Staal poked one between Markkanen and the post to tie the game. Early in the third period, Hurricanes' center Doug Weight got sandwiched by Pronger and Raffi Torres, separating his shoulder and ending his night early. Weight would not return to play the next 2 games, though he would eventually raise the cup. Carolina defenceman Aaron Ward also was injured in the third period, and with Carolina running out of fresh bodies, the Hurricanes were desperate to close out the game. With 7:47 remaining in the third period, Whitney missed what might have been the Hurricanes' best chance to win the series with a shot that just hit the post. The game went to overtime, and Recchi drew a penalty early in the period to put the Hurricanes on the power play. But Pisani picked off an errant pass from Stillman and beat Ward top shelf, glove side for the first short-handed overtime goal in Finals history, giving the Oilers the upset win.
|Saturday, June 17||Edmonton Oilers||4 – 0||Carolina Hurricanes||Rexall Place|
Despite the emotional boost of Carolina winger Erik Cole returning to the ice for the first time since breaking his neck in March, Edmonton dominated for the entire sixty minutes, shutting out Carolina, 4–0, in front of a raucous crowd at Rexall Place, scoring three power-play goals and limiting the Hurricanes to only 16 shots on goal. Edmonton held Carolina to seven shots through 40 minutes of play. Fernando Pisani got his post-season high fifth game winning goal (and 13th in total, also tops amongst scorers in this playoffs). This game also marked Markkanen's first career playoff shutout.
|Monday, June 19||Carolina Hurricanes||3 – 1||Edmonton Oliers||RBC Center|
However, the Hurricanes returned to the RBC Center to defeat the Oilers in game seven, 3–1, to win the Stanley Cup. Aaron Ward and Frantisek Kaberle gave Carolina a 2–0 lead before Pisani scored for Edmonton at 1:03 of the third period to cut the lead.
With just over a minute to go in regulation, the Oilers pulled the goalie in hopes of forcing overtime. A loose puck wound up on the stick of Bret Hedican. He fed it to Eric Staal, who threw it down the ice to Justin Williams. Williams sprinted down the ice and tapped the puck into the empty net, sealing the Stanley Cup for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward became the first NHL rookie goalie to win a Stanley Cup Finals series since Patrick Roy lead the Montreal Canadiens in 1986, and he was also the first rookie since the Philadelphia Flyers' Ron Hextall in 1987 to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.
Cory Stillman earned a Stanley Cup title for the second straight season, having won in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, becoming the first player to win back-to-back titles with different teams since Claude Lemieux (1995 New Jersey Devils, 1996 Colorado Avalanche).
The Hurricanes' victory ended Glen Wesley's 18-year drought without winning the Cup. He had played close to 1,500 regular season and playoff games before winning the Cup, the longest such drought in the NHL. Wesley was the last player remaining from the franchise's days as the Hartford Whalers. Other notable veterans to win their first Cup were Rod Brind'Amour, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney, and Bret Hedican. Mark Recchi won the second Cup of his career, having won 15 years prior as a member of the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs marked the second time in a row that an Alberta-based team had made it to the NHL finals only to lose in seven games to the Southeast Division champions as the Oilers weren't able to complete their Cinderella run, having entered the playoffs seeded #8; the Calgary Flames were defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. This also marked the third straight occurrence of the Curse of Detroit, where since the last time the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2002, the Western Conference team that defeated the Detroit Red Wings during the playoffs went on to the finals, and lost the series to the Eastern Conference team in seven games. The curse would be lifted in 2007 by the Anaheim Ducks, who defeated the Red Wings in the West final and went on to win the Stanley Cup Finals over Ottawa.
In each game of the Finals, the team that won the opening faceoff went on to win that game.
This was the first major-league professional championship for the state of North Carolina by a men's team (the Carolina Courage of the defunct Women's United Soccer Association won the 2002 Founders Cup).
|21||Jason Smith – C||L||first|
|55||Igor Ulanov||L||first (did not play)|
|18||Ethan Moreau - A||LW||L||first|
|20||Radek Dvorak||RW||R||second (1996)|
|94||Ryan Smyth - A||LW||L||first|
|29||Martin Gerber||L||second (2003)|
|50||Craig Kowalski||L||first (did not play)|
|2||Glen Wesley – A||L||second (2002)|
|4||Aaron Ward||R||third (1997, 1998)|
|6||Bret Hedican||L||third (1994, 2002)|
|7||Niclas Wallin||L||second (2002)|
|22||Mike Commodore||L||second (2004)|
|24||Andrew Hutchinson||R||first (did not play)|
|48||Anton Babchuk||R||first (did not play)|
|70||Oleg Tverdovsky||L||second (2003)|
|14||Kevyn Adams – A||C||R||second (2002)|
|17||Rod Brind'Amour – C||C||L||second (1997)|
|18||Mark Recchi||RW||L||second (1991)|
|26||Erik Cole||RW||L||second (2002)|
|27||Craig Adams||RW||R||second (2002)|
|34||David Gove||C||L||first (did not play)|
|37||Keith Aucoin||C||R||first (did not play)|
|61||Cory Stillman - A||LW||L||second (2004)|
|63||Josef Vasicek||LW||L||second (2002)|
Carolina Hurricanes - 2006 Stanley Cup championsEdit
- Nine players remained from the 2002 Carolina team that lost in the finals - Craig Adams, Kevyn Adams, Rod Brind'Amour, Erik Cole, Bret Hedican, Josef Vasicek, Niclas Wallin, Glen Wesley, Aaron Ward. Jeff Daniels also played in 2002, but was an Assistant Coach in 2006. Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy was the only remaining member of 2002 Carolina Coaching Staff.
- Peter Karmanos, Jr. (CEO/Owner/Governor), Thomas Thewes (Owner)
- Jim Rutherford (President/General Manager), Davin Olsen (Vice President-Arena Manager),
- Jason Karmanos (Vice President/Ass’t General Manager), Mike Amendola (Chief Financial Officer)
- Peter Laviolette (Head Coach), Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Daniels (Ass’t Coaches)
- Greg Stefan (Goaltending Coach/Pro Scout), Chris Huffine (Video Coordinator),
- Skip Cunningham, Wally Tatomir, Bob Gorman (Equipment Managers),
- Peter Freisen (Athletic Therapist/Strength-Conditioning Coach), Chris Stewart (Ass’t Athletic Therapist)
- Brian Tatum (Director of Team Services), Kelly Kirwin (Event Coordinator-Hockey Operations),
- Sheldon Ferguson (Director Amateur Scouting), Marshall Johnston (Director Pro Scouting)
- Claude Larose, Ron Smith, Tony MacDonald, Martin Madden, Bert Marshall (Scouts),
- Mike Sundheim (Director of Media Relations), Kyle Hanlin (Manager of Media Relations).
Stanley Cup Engraving
- Anton Babchuk* played in 36 regular season games and Andrew Hutchinson* played in 22 regular season games. They had their names engraved on the cup due to a successful petition.
- Keith Aucoin† played in 6 regular season games, David Gove† played in 1 regular season game, and Craig Kowalski† did not play in any games. They did not have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup because they did not qualify. However, they were included in the team picture and received Stanley Cup rings.
- Frantisek Kaberle became the first player to win the Olympic Bronze Medal in hockey (with team Czech Republic) and the Stanley Cup (with Carolina) in the same year.
- Eric Staal's name was misspelled "Staaal" on the Stanley Cup. Engraver Louise St. Jacques was able to correct the mistake and removed the last "A".
- Diamond, Dan (2008). Total Stanley Cup. Dan Diamond & Associates, Inc..
Tampa Bay Lightning
Stanley Cup Champions
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