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The NHL unveiled a new logo for the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs for the National Hockey League (NHL) championship began on April 21, 2006, following the 2005–06 regular season. The sixteen teams that qualified, seeded one through eight from each conference, played best-of-seven series with re-seeding after the conference quarterfinals. The Conference Champions played a best-of-seven series for the Stanley Cup

The finals concluded on June 19 with the Carolina Hurricanes winning the Stanley Cup, defeating the Edmonton Oilers in the final series four games to three. Carolina goaltender Cam Ward was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the playoffs.

While the 2005–06 NHL season introduced a shootout to break ties after 5 minutes of 4-on-4 overtime, the Stanley Cup playoffs retained their traditional format of unlimited 20-minute periods of 5-on-5 sudden-death overtime to break ties.

The Western Conference made history in the first round when all four series were won by the lower-seeded teams. The eighth and lowest seeded Edmonton Oilers proceeded to win the conference and participate in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Stanley Cup

Playoff seeds

After the 2005–06 NHL season, a total of 16 teams qualified for the playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings were the Presidents' Trophy winners with the best record at 124 points (58 wins, 16 regulation losses, 8 overtime losses), while the Ottawa Senators won on the last day of the regular season to earn the Eastern Conference regular season crown.

Eastern Conference

  1. Ottawa Senators - Northeast Division and Eastern Conference regular season champions, 113 points
  2. Carolina Hurricanes - Southeast Division champions, 112 points
  3. New Jersey Devils - Atlantic Division champions, 101 points (46 wins)
  4. Buffalo Sabres - 110 points
  5. Philadelphia Flyers - 101 points (45 wins)
  6. New York Rangers - 100 points
  7. Montreal Canadiens - 93 points
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning - 92 points

Western Conference

  1. Detroit Red Wings - Central Division and Western Conference regular season champions; Presidents' Trophy winners, 124 points
  2. Dallas Stars - Pacific Division champions, 112 points
  3. Calgary Flames - Northwest Division champions, 103 points
  4. Nashville Predators - 106 points
  5. San Jose Sharks - 99 points
  6. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - 98 points
  7. Colorado Avalanche - 95 points (43 wins)
  8. Edmonton Oilers - 95 points (41 wins)

Playoff bracket

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Final
1  Ottawa Senators 4  
8  Tampa Bay Lightning 1  
  1  Ottawa Senators 1  
  4  Buffalo Sabres 4  
2  Carolina Hurricanes 4
7  Montreal Canadiens 2  
  4  Buffalo Sabres 3  
Eastern Conference
  2  Carolina Hurricanes 4  
3  New Jersey Devils 4  
6  New York Rangers 0  
  2  Carolina Hurricanes 4
  3  New Jersey Devils 1  
4  Buffalo Sabres 4
5  Philadelphia Flyers 2  
  E2  Carolina Hurricanes 4
  W8  Edmonton Oilers 3
1  Detroit Red Wings 2  
8  Edmonton Oilers 4  
  5  San Jose Sharks 2
  8  Edmonton Oilers 4  
2  Dallas Stars 1
7  Colorado Avalanche 4  
  8  Edmonton Oilers 4
Western Conference
  6  Anaheim Mighty Ducks 1  
3  Calgary Flames 3  
6  Anaheim Mighty Ducks 4  
  6  Anaheim Mighty Ducks 4
  7  Colorado Avalanche 0  
4  Nashville Predators 1
5  San Jose Sharks 4  

Statistical leaders


GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus/Minus; PIM = Penalty Minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts +/– PIM
Staal, EricEric Staal Carolina Hurricanes 25 9 19 28 0 8
Stillman, CoryCory Stillman Carolina Hurricanes 25 9 17 26 +12 14
Pronger, ChrisChris Pronger Edmonton Oilers 24 5 16 21 +10 26
Briere, DannyDanny Briere Buffalo Sabres 18 8 11 19 0 12
Horcoff, ShawnShawn Horcoff Edmonton Oilers 24 7 12 19 +4 12
Pisani, FernandoFernando Pisani Edmonton Oilers 24 14 4 18 +4 10
Brindamour, RodRod Brind'Amour Carolina Hurricanes 25 12 6 18 +9 16
Drury, ChrisChris Drury Buffalo Sabres 18 9 9 18 +5 10
Williams, JustinJustin Williams Carolina Hurricanes 25 7 11 18 +12 34
Cullen, MattMatt Cullen Carolina Hurricanes 25 4 14 18 +2 12


These are the top five goaltenders based on either goals against average or save percentage with at least four games played.

GP = Games Played; W = Wins; L = Losses; SA = Shots Against; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes:seconds); Sv% = Save Percentage; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP W L SA GA GAA TOI Sv% SO
Ilya Bryzgalov Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 11 6 4 285 16 1.46 658:59 .944 3
Cristobal Huet Montreal Canadiens 6 2 4 212 15 2.33 385:37 .929 0
Dwayne Roloson Edmonton Oilers 18 12 5 618 45 2.33 1159:43 .927 1
Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils 9 5 4 261 20 2.25 532:59 .923 1
Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames 7 3 4 202 16 2.24 427:59 .921 0
Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes 23 15 8 584 47 2.14 1319:53 .920 2
Jussi Markkanen Edmonton Oilers 6 3 3 137 13 2.17 360:23 .905 1

Conference Quarterfinals

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

(1) Ottawa Senators vs. (8) Tampa Bay Lightning

The Senators entered the 2006 playoffs with a new head coach and a new goaltender. Bryan Murray led the Sens to a successful season. The Lightning slipped into the playoffs this year, beating out the Maple Leafs and the Thrashers by only two points. The Senators history was marked by playoff collapses, mostly to the Maple Leafs. However this series would be different.

The defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning faced off against the Ottawa Senators, who held off Carolina to earn the Eastern Conference regular-season title on the final day of the regular season. The teams had never met before in the playoffs, but in four regular-season meetings, Ottawa had dominated, winning all four games in regulation.

In Game 1, Tampa Bay scored first, but in the third period, two quick powerplay goals by Martin Havlat and Jason Spezza, respectively, gave Ottawa the lead. Mike Fisher added a short-handed goal three minutes later, and the Senators went on to win, 4–1. In Game 2, the Senators held a 3–2 lead in the third period, but Dan Boyle tied the score, and 55 seconds later, Martin St. Louis scored his second goal of the game. The Lightning won 4–3, evening the series.

Two days later, the series resumed in Tampa Bay for Game 3; the visiting Senators scored three goals in the first period. Havlat had two goals, giving him a total of four for the series thus far, as did Antoine Vermette. The Senators routed the Lightning, 8–4, in a game marked by the teams combining for 129 penalty minutes. Tampa Bay's Pavel Kubina earned a "Gordie Howe hat trick", with a goal, an assist, and two misconduct penalties earned in a late fight. In Game 4, the Lightning took a 2–1 lead after the first period, but a trio of second-period goals gave the Senators a lead. Dany Heatley finished with a goal and two assists in the 5–2 win which put Ottawa on the verge of advancing.

In Game 5, back in Ottawa, Martin Havlat continued his solid play, completing a series in which he scored in each game. He scored a power-play goal in the second period which gave Ottawa a 3–1 advantage. The Lightning closed the gap to 3–2, but could not get the tying goal. Havlat finished the series with 6 goals and 4 assists, while Heatley and Spezza each had 2 goals and 8 assists.

Game-by-game Score OTT goals TB goals
1 April 21 at Senators 4, Lightning 1 Alfredsson, Fisher, Havlat, Spezza Lecavalier
2 April 23 Lightning 4, at Senators 3 Havlat, Schaefer, Smolinski St. Louis 2, Boyle, Richards
3 April 25 Senators 8, at Lightning 4 Havlat 2, Vermette 2, Chara,
Eaves, Heatley, Redden
Ranger 2, Kubina, St. Louis
4 April 27 Senators 5, at Lightning 2 Havlat, Heatley, Neil, Phillips, Spezza Richards, St. Louis
5 April 29 at Senators 3, Lightning 2 Havlat, Meszaros, Schaefer Artyukhin, Richards
Senators win series 4–1 Havlat 6, 4 tied at 2 St. Louis 4, Richards 3, Ranger 2

(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (7) Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens had struggled throughout the beginning of the season, prompting GM Bob Gainey to fire Coach Claude Julien. Gainey took over behind the bench and posted a 23–15–3 record.

Though the Carolina Hurricanes were disappointed to lose the race for the Eastern Conference regular-season crown to Ottawa, commentators believed they might have actually gained an advantage from that fault. They faced a seventh-seeded Montreal Canadiens team they had beaten each game in the regular season. Though the Canadiens had since traded goaltender Jose Theodore, Carolina's fast puck-possession game was expected to roll over the Habs easily.

However, with Carolina goaltender Martin Gerber battling a then-undisclosed stomach ailment, the Canadiens beat the Canes in Game 1 in Raleigh, 6–1, as Cristobal Huet continued his late-season hot streak. After three quick Montreal goals early in Game 2, Carolina coach Peter Laviolette made what would prove to be a fateful decision, switching in 22-year-old rookie backup Cam Ward for Gerber. Though Ward yielded a regained Carolina lead in that game and which they lost 6–5 in the second overtime, Laviolette stuck with him going into Montreal even with Habs fans waving brooms, signifying a possible sweep.

Carolina prevailed in a 2–1 overtime win in Game 3, with Eric Staal scoring the game winner. During the game, Canadiens captain Saku Koivu took an inadvertent stick blade in the eye from the Hurricanes' Justin Williams from behind as both players lunged for a puck in the Carolina slot. The incident went unpenalized, but Koivu's series was over. In Game 4, Williams scored the game-winning goal in a 3–2 win to tie the series.

The final two games were tight-checking games, but Montreal had lost the mental advantage gained over two wins in Raleigh; the Canes took Game 5 in front of their home fans, 2–1, then returned to Montreal to close the series, 2–1, on a long, fluttering, tipped shot by Cory Stillman over Huet's left shoulder at 1:19 of overtime.

The Canes would continue their dominance, en route to winning their first ever Stanley Cup. Canadiens GM Gainey would relinquish his coaching duties, and give the reins to Guy Carbonneau.

Game-by-game Score CAR goals MTL goals
1 April 22 Canadiens 6, at Hurricanes 1 Cullen Kovalev 2, Bonk, Bouillon,
Higgins, Souray
2 April 24 2:32, 2OT Canadiens 6, at Hurricanes 5 Brind'Amour 2, Cullen,
Stillman, Whitney
Ryder 2, Bonk, Bulis,
Kovalev, Zednik
3 April 26 3:38, OT Hurricanes 2, at Canadiens 1 Brind'Amour, Staal Zednik
4 April 28 Hurricanes 3, at Canadiens 2 Brind'Amour, A. Ward, Williams Perezhogin, Souray
5 April 30 at Hurricanes 2, Canadiens 1 Cullen, Staal Kovalev
6 May 2 1:19, OT Hurricanes 2, at Canadiens 1 Recchi, Stillman Souray
Hurricanes win series 4–2 Brind'Amour 4, Cullen 3 Kovalev 4, Souray 3

(3) New Jersey Devils vs. (6) New York Rangers

The Devils posted a 14–13–5 record in November when General Manager Lou Lamoriello took over as coach from the ailing Larry Robinson. The team turned their season around under Lou and made the playoffs. The Atlantic Division title came down to the final day of the regular season. The Devils came from behind to defeat the Montreal Canadiens for their eleventh straight win, while the Rangers lost to the Ottawa Senators for their fifth straight loss. These results capped off a record-breaking comeback, as the Devils, who had trailed the division-leading Flyers by 19 points in January, clinched the division title and the third seed in the playoffs. The Rangers, on the other hand, slipped to the sixth seed but still qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

The Devils and Rangers were meeting in the playoffs for the fourth time in their respective histories, with the Rangers having won all three past meetings.

The Devils jumped out to a quick lead, winning Game 1, 6–1, behind five power-play goals, and Patrik Elias's two goals and four assists, while Rangers star Jaromir Jagr left the game with an arm injury late in the third period. This injury kept Jagr out of Game 2, which the Devils won, 4–1, led by John Madden's hat trick, including two short-handed goals, making Madden the first player since Wayne Gretzky to score two shorthanded goals in the same playoff game. In Game 3, Jamie Langenbrunner scored 68 seconds into the game, and Martin Brodeur earned his 21st career playoff shutout, with 25 saves, as the Devils won 3–0. Jagr's injury woes continued in Game 4, as he was knocked out with a hit in the first minute of the game. Despite this, the Rangers took their only lead of the series on Jed Ortmeyer's goal late in the first period. But New Jersey responded with two goals in each of the second and third periods, including two by Elias, giving him five for the series. They won, 4–2, eliminating their rivals and advancing to the Conference Semifinals.

Game-by-game Score NJ goals NYR goals
1 April 22 at Devils 6, Rangers 1 Elias 2, Gomez, Klee,
Langenbrunner, Rafalski
2 April 24 at Devils 4, Rangers 1 Madden 3, Gionta Betts
3 April 26 Devils 3, at Rangers 0 Elias, Langenbrunner, Parise none (Brodeur shutout)
4 April 29 Devils 4, at Rangers 2 Elias 2, Gionta, Gomez Ortmeyer, Rucchin
Devils win series 4–0 Elias 5, Madden 3 4 tied with 1 goal

(4) Buffalo Sabres vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers

The Sabres earned a playoff spot for the first time since 2001. In a repeat of the result of their 2001 playoff series, right down to the blowout victory in the deciding game, the Buffalo Sabres eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games.

Game 1 went to Buffalo, 3–2, as co-captain Danny Briere ended the game with a double-overtime goal on his team-record 14th shot of the playoff game. Game 1 was also notable for a monstrous hit laid upon Philadelphia's R. J. Umberger by Buffalo's Brian Campbell during the first overtime period. Philadelphia goaltender Robert Esche was outstanding, turning aside 55 Buffalo shots before finally allowing the game-winner.

The Flyers, looking for revenge from Game 1, took 17 penalties in Game 2, including 3 misconducts and a 5-minute major for checking from behind. Unfortunately for the Flyers, those penalties resulted in eleven Buffalo power plays. The Sabres scored three power-play goals, rolling to an 8–2 victory. Jean-Pierre Dumont and rookie Jason Pominville each recorded hat tricks for Buffalo.

The series then shifted to Philadelphia, and the Flyers were able to even it up with wins in Games 3 and 4. Peter Forsberg scored two second-period goals in Game 3 to break a 1–1 tie. The Flyers went on to win the game, 4–2. In Game 4, the Sabres had an early 2–0 lead. Forsberg once again scored two goals, including an empty netter with 49 seconds remaining. The empty-netter proved to be the game-winner, as Buffalo's Mike Grier scored with 19 seconds left in the game to make the final score 5–4 in favor of the Flyers.

Home-ice advantage continued to be key as the Sabres returned to the HSBC Arena for Game 5 and scored a 3–0 victory. Sabre goaltender Ryan Miller made 24 saves to earn his first career playoff shutout. In Game 6, home-ice advantage was finally broken as the Sabres jumped to a 3–0 lead by the end of the first period in the Wachovia Center. Six different Sabres scored as they finished off the Flyers with a resounding 7–1 victory.

The Flyers game 6 defeat seemed to continue into the next season as they would start 1–6–1 resulting in Ken Hitchcocks firing.

Game-by-game Score BUF goals PHI goals
1 April 22 7:31, 2OT at Sabres 3, Flyers 2 Briere, Connolly, McKee Gagne, Knuble
2 April 24 at Sabres 8, Flyers 2 Dumont 3, Pominville 3, Drury, Kotalik Gagne, Nedved
3 April 26 at Flyers 4, Sabres 2 Connolly, Kotalik Forsberg 2, Gagne, Savage
4 April 28 at Flyers 5, Sabres 4 Briere 2, Grier, Vanek Forsberg 2, Desjardins,
Nedved, Umberger
5 April 30 at Sabres 3, Flyers 0 Afinogenov, Connolly, Dumont none (Miller shutout)
6 May 2 Sabres 7, at Flyers 1 Drury 2, Afinogenov, Grier,
Kotalik, Pominville, Roy
Sabres win series 4–2 Dumont 4, Pominville 4, Briere 3 Forsberg 4, Gagne 3

Western Conference Quarterfinals

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Edmonton Oilers

Craig Mactavish's Oilers made the playoffs for the first time since the 2002–2003 season. It came down to the final week to determine who would be in, and it turned out to be the Oilers who sneaked in ahead of the Canucks.

After Red Wings winger Kirk Maltby scored two goals including the winner in double overtime in Game 1, the Oilers were able to respond by winning Game 2, 4–2. The series moved to Edmonton tied 1–1. Jarret Stoll provided the game-winner in double overtime in Game 3, giving the Oilers a 2–1 series lead after the Red Wings had appeared to score in the first overtime, but had the goal waived off. The Red Wings responded with a Game 4 4–2 victory to tie the series.

Back in Detroit, the Oilers jumped out to a 3–0 lead in the second period of Game 5. Brendan Shanahan closed the gap to 3–1, and Henrik Zetterberg added his fifth goal of the series to pull Detroit within one, but Edmonton held on to take a 3–2 series lead. Returning to Edmonton, the Oilers found themselves trailing 2–0 after two periods. Fernando Pisani tied the game with two goals, his fourth and fifth of the series, before Detroit reclaimed the lead. With 3:53 to play, Ales Hemsky tied the game on a controversial power-play goal which was reviewed for several minutes, questioning whether it was kicked into the goal. The goal was counted after it was determined that no kicking motion was made. Hemsky subsequently provided the game-winning goal with 1:06 left in the third period.

Game-by-game Score DET goals EDM goals
1 April 21 2:39, 2OT at Red Wings 3, Oilers 2 Maltby 2, Lang Pronger, Samsonov
2 April 23 Oilers 4, at Red Wings 2 Williams, Zetterberg Pisani, Pronger, Stoll, Winchester
3 April 25 8:44, 2OT at Oilers 4, Red Wings 3 Zetterberg 2, Schneider Smyth, Spacek, Stoll, Torres
4 April 27 Red Wings 4, at Oilers 2 Holmstrom, Lang,
Lidstrom, Zetterberg
Pisani, Spacek
5 April 29 Oilers 3, at Red Wings 2 Shanahan, Zetterberg Horcoff, Pisani, Smyth
6 May 1 at Oilers 4, Red Wings 3 Franzen, Lang, Zetterberg Hemsky 2, Pisani 2
Oilers win series 4–2 Zetterberg 6, Lang 3 Pisani 5, 5 tied at 2

(2) Dallas Stars vs. (7) Colorado Avalanche

The first upset of the 2006 playoffs came in this series when the seventh-seeded Avalanche defeated the second-seeded Stars in five games. The Stars had won three of the teams' four regular-season meetings, although two of those wins were in overtime.

In Game 1, the Stars came out quickly, going up 2–0 on goals by Brenden Morrow and Bill Guerin, but five different Colorado players scored, allowing the Avalanche to claim a 5–2 win. Colorado continued its momentum with three first-period goals to open Game 2, but Dallas responded with four goals in the second period, including two goals by Jere Lehtinen and a goal in the closing seconds by Mike Modano. Brett Clark tied the game with a short-handed goal with 2:04 to play in regulation. Four minutes into overtime, Jason Arnott got a shot past Colorado goalie Jose Theodore but it hit the post. The Avs quickly counter-attacked, and Joe Sakic scored his NHL-record seventh career overtime goal to end the game.

Returning to Denver with a 2–0 series lead, Sakic scored the first goal of Game 3. Stu Barnes tied the game with a short-handed goal, but Colorado led, 2–1, after one period. Dallas took a 3–2 lead in the second period, but Andrew Brunette scored with 57 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game, and Alex Tanguay tallied his second goal of the game at 1:09 of the first overtime to give the Avalanche a 4–3 win and a 3–0 series lead. Dallas staved off elimination in Game 4 as Niklas Hagman scored two goals in a 4–1 win.

However, the Avalanche denied the Stars a chance at a continued comeback by winning Game 5 to clinch the series. Joe Sakic scored with just two seconds to play in the second period to give his team a 2–1 lead. The Stars tied it in the third period, but Sergei Zubov's attempted game-winner late in the period glanced off the goal post. After nearly 14 minutes of overtime, Andrew Brunette scored to finish the game and the series.

Game-by-game Score DAL goals COL goals
1 April 22 Avalanche 5, at Stars 2 Guerin, Morrow Blake, Clark, Hejduk, Liles, Wolski
2 April 24 4:36, OT Avalanche 5, at Stars 4 Lehtinen 2, Jokinen, Modano Blake, Brunette, Clark, Hejduk, Sakic
3 April 26 1:09, OT at Avalanche 4, Stars 3 Barnes, Klemm, Zubov Tanguay 2, Brunette, Sakic
4 April 28 Stars 4, at Avalanche 1 Hagman 2, Guerin, Lehtinen Richardson
5 April 30 13:55, OT Avalanche 3, at Stars 2 Guerin, Jokinen Brunette, Dowd, Sakic
Avalanche win series 4–1 Guerin 3, Lehtinen 3 Brunette 3, Sakic 3

(3) Calgary Flames vs. (6) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim

The entire series was a back-and-forth affair with the teams trading victories throughout the first six games. Game 1 saw an overtime win thanks to Darren McCarty to gain the upper hand, but the Ducks responded back to tie the series. Game 3 was a blowout on the Flames part when Giguere seemed to open the floodgates in the third period. In Game 4, the Ducks jumped ahead 2–0 in the first period and managed to hold a lead for two periods, but two quick goals by Iginla would tie it. It would end on a slap shot from Duck defenceman Sean O'Donnell in overtime shortly after a power play expired.

In Game 5, Giguere played poorly, allowing three consecutive goals, so coach Randy Carlyle boldly put in backup goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov, despite not allowing any goals causing the momentum seemingly to shift late in Game 5, the Flames jumped ahead for the third time. Bryzgalov actually started Game 1 because of an injury to Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who played extremely well despite losing, 2–1 in overtime. When Giguere proved ineffective through the next four games, Bryzgalov returned to the net. Game 6 saw the Flames jump ahead in the first period thanks to Stephane Yelle, but Selanne would tie the game, and Niedermayer scored a short handed goal from a deflection off of the Flames goalie to tie the series once again. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim ended the Calgary Flames' season by winning a decisive Game 7, 3–0, behind the stellar play of Bryzgalov.

Game-by-game Score CGY goals ANA goals
1 April 21 9:45, OT at Flames 2, Mighty Ducks 1 Amonte, McCarty Friesen
2 April 23 Mighty Ducks 4, at Flames 3 Huselius, Iginla, Phaneuf Kunitz, Lupul, S. Niedermayer,
3 April 25 Flames 5, at Mighty Ducks 2 Huselius, Kobasew, Langkow,
McCarty, Regehr
Beauchemin 2
4 April 27 1:36, OT at Mighty Ducks 3, Flames 2 Iginla 2 Getzlaf, O'Donnell, Selanne
5 April 29 at Flames 3, Mighty Ducks 2 Iginla 2, Amonte McDonald, R. Niedermayer
6 May 1 at Mighty Ducks 2, Flames 1 Yelle S. Niedermayer, Selanne
7 May 3 Mighty Ducks 3, at Flames 0 none (Bryzgalov shutout) Friesen, Salei, Selanne
Mighty Ducks win series 4–3 Iginla 5, 3 with 2 Selanne 3, 3 with 2

(4) Nashville Predators vs. (5) San Jose Sharks

The 4–5 matchup in the West pitted the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks, the first playoff meeting between the two teams. Nashville had dominated much of the season on their way to the fourth seed in the conference, while San Jose rallied back from an early-season slump all the way to the fifth seed, thanks to a November trade for Joe Thornton from the Boston Bruins that resulted in Thornton winning the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring. Linemate Jonathan Cheechoo won the Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the NHL in goals. The teams split their regular season series, with both of San Jose's wins coming in overtime.

Both teams came into the series with alternate goaltenders. After Sharks starter Evgeni Nabokov stumbled through most of the regular season, backup Vesa Toskala earned the spot as playoff starter with his impressive play during San Jose's stretch run to clinch a playoff spot. Nashville's star goaltender Tomas Vokoun would be diagnosed with a blood disorder in early April that kept him sidelined for the rest of the season, forcing backup Chris Mason to become Nashville's goaltender for the playoffs.

The Predators won the first game at home, 4–3, with four power-play goals, three of them coming in the first period. In Game 2, San Jose scored three first-period power play goals from Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Cheechoo and Mark Smith. Toskala earned a shutout on the Sharks in a 3–0 victory.

The series went to San Jose for Games 3 and 4, but the Predators' tendency for penalties continued to be taken advantage of by the Sharks. In Game 3, a short-handed goal by Kimmo Timonen gave the Predators an early lead, but San Jose bounced back with four unanswered goals, two of them by Marleau and one on the power play by Steve Bernier, en route to a 4–1 San Jose victory. In Game 4, Marleau scored a hat trick, with two of his goals coming on the power play (and another by Smith scored right after another Nashville penalty expired). San Jose won the game, 5–4, as the series changed back to Nashville for Game 5. Unfortunately for Nashville, a Paul Kariya goal was not enough to combat power-play goals by Marleau and Bernier in a 2–1 victory for San Jose in Game 5, giving the Sharks the series.

Game-by-game Score NSH goals SJ goals
1 April 21 at Predators 4, Sharks 3 Erat, Hall, Sillinger, Weber Ekman, Smith, S. Thornton
2 April 23 Sharks 3, at Predators 0 none (Toskala shutout) Cheechoo, Marleau, Smith
3 April 25 at Sharks 4, Predators 1 Timonen Marleau 2, Bernier, Cheechoo
4 April 27 at Sharks 5, Predators 4 Hartnell, Kariya, Sillinger, Weber Marleau 3, Rissmiller, Smith
5 April 30 Sharks 2, at Predators 1 Kariya Bernier, Marleau
Sharks win series 4–1 Kariya 2, Sillinger 2, Weber 2 Marleau 7, Smith 3

Conference Semifinals

Eastern Conference Semifinals

(1) Ottawa Senators vs. (4) Buffalo Sabres

In a battle of the top two teams from the Northeast Division in 2006, the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres squared off in this series. The Senators won five of the eight meetings between the teams in the regular season, including several lopsided results early in the season.

Game 1 of the series was a back-and-forth affair, with the Sabres tying the game five separate times - including a goal by Tim Connolly with just 10.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 6 - before winning just 18 seconds into overtime on a goal by Chris Drury.

The remainder of the series was tightly played defensively, though. Goaltending by both Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Ottawa's Ray Emery became the key to the series. A 2–1 victory by the Sabres in Game 2 was highlighted by 43 Miller saves - including one on a breakaway by Jason Spezza - which allowed Buffalo to take a 2–0 series lead home.

Game 3 went to overtime and was won once again by the Sabres on a shot by Jean-Pierre Dumont. In Game 4 Sabre fans were prepared for a sweep, but were disappointed when the Senators were able to stave off elimination with a 2–1 victory.

Ottawa returned home for Game 5 with hopes of pulling even closer. The game went to overtime but ended quickly as Jason Pominville scored a shorthanded goal just 2:26 in to end the Senators' season. There had been six short-handed overtime goals in Stanley Cup Playoff history up to this point, but this was the first one to ever end a series. This put the Sabres into the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in the past eight seasons.

Game-by-game Score OTT goals BUF goals
1 May 5 0:18, OT Sabres 7, at Senators 6 Smolinski 2, Fisher, Havlat,
Heatley, Spezza
Connolly 2, Roy 2, Drury,
Grier, Numminen
2 May 8 Sabres 2, at Senators 1 Phillips Dumont, Hecht
3 May 10 5:05, OT at Sabres 3, Senators 2 Spezza 2 Afinogenov, Drury, Dumont
4 May 11 Senators 2, at Sabres 1 Pothier, Redden Briere
5 May 13 2:26, OT Sabres 3, at Senators 2 Alfredsson, Pothier Drury, Pominville, Tallinder
Sabres win series 4–1 Spezza 3, Pothier 2, Smolinski 2 Drury 3, 3 with 2

(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (3) New Jersey Devils

The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils, both division champions, met in the Conference Semifinals. The teams had met twice before in the playoffs: In 2001, the top-seeded Devils dispatched the Hurricanes in six games in the first round; Carolina won the following year as the third seed (the Hurricanes had an inferior record but held home advantage as a division champion). In the 2005–06 season, the Hurricanes won both games in 2005, while the Devils won both games in 2006, the last towards the beginning of their 15-game winning streak.

Game 1 of the series, in Carolina, featured sloppy play by the Devils. Ray Whitney scored a power-play goal in the first period and added another in the second period. Frustration set in for New Jersey as the Hurricanes scored two quick power-play goals late in the second, and then two more power-play goals midway through the third period, leading to Martin Brodeur, on his birthday, being pulled from his position, as Devils' goalie in favor of Scott Clemmensen. The game went to Carolina, 6–0.

Game 2, also in Carolina, was a much cleaner and low-scoring affair than the first game. After Zach Parise pushed the Devils ahead 2–1 with twenty seconds to go in the third period, Eric Staal scored a game-tying goal with just three seconds left to send the game into overtime. Niclas Wallin tallied the game-winner 3:09 into overtime. Back in New Jersey for Game 3, the Devils lost another 3–2 game, with Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour scoring the game-winner with 1:01 to play in the second period. The third period featured stellar play from goalies Cam Ward of Carolina and Martin Brodeur of New Jersey.

New Jersey jumped out to a 5–0 lead and won Game 4 with a final score of 5–1, including two goals by Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo's first goal of the postseason. Goalie Cam Ward of Carolina was pulled after the fourth goal for Martin Gerber, the man that he displaced behind the goal in Game 3 of Carolina's first-round series with Montreal.

Ward returned a day later back in Carolina in Game 5, and it looked like he might have a similarly short outing after Brian Gionta tallied in the game's first minute. However, Ward and the Carolina defense clamped down on the Devils attack as the Hurricanes killed off five straight New Jersey penalties. Hurricanes defenceman Frantisek Kaberle also added a goal to tie the score at 1. When the Hurricanes received their first power-play over halfway into the game, Carolina rushed up ice, with Brind'Amour and Justin Williams passing to an open Cory Stillman who beat Brodeur. Whitney and Staal added late goals to make the final game and series totals 4–1 in favor of the Hurricanes.

Game-by-game Score CAR goals NJ goals
1 May 6 at Hurricanes 6, Devils 0 Whitney 2, Brind'Amour, Staal,
Stillman, Weight
none (Ward shutout)
2 May 8 3:09, OT at Hurricanes 3, Devils 2 Recchi, Staal, Wallin Gomez, Langenbrunner
3 May 10 Hurricanes 3, at Devils 2 Brind'Amour, Cullen, Williams Brylin, Elias
4 May 13 at Devils 5, Hurricanes 1 Recchi Gomez 2, Brylin, Madden, Pandolfo
5 May 14 at Hurricanes 4, Devils 1 Kaberle, Staal, Stillman, Whitney Gionta
Hurricanes win series 4–1 Staal 3, Whitney 3 Gomez 3, Brylin 2

Western Conference Semifinals

(5) San Jose Sharks vs. (8) Edmonton Oilers

Game 1 was a muddled, penalty-filled battle. Edmonton took a first-period lead off a Jaroslav Spacek power-play goal. Patrick Marleau scored one goal (raising his playoff-leading total to eight) and assisted on another, leading the Sharks to a 2–1 win. Game 2 was also a 2–1 San Jose victory, with Joe Thornton scoring the game-winning goal on a power play in the second period.

The site changed to Edmonton for Game 3, and the Sharks and Oilers engaged in a triple-overtime match, the longest playoff game in the postseason to date, before Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff finally ended the game with a goal giving the Oilers a 3–2 win. Edmonton came back from an early 3–1 deficit in Game 4 and scored five unanswered goals late in the game - including three in the final period to force goalie Vesa Toskala from the game - to win, 6–3, and to even the series, 2–2.

In San Jose, Game 5 was the first time that a road team won a game in the series, the result being a 6–3 Edmonton victory. The teams entered the third period with Edmonton up 2–1, having killed off six penalties in the first and second periods. Twelve seconds into the period, Shawn Horcoff of the Oilers managed to put in a short-handed goal past Vesa Toskala making the score 3–1. Shortly after, the Sharks scored their first power-play goal in three games with Christian Ehrhoff scoring 44 seconds into the period. Less than two minutes later, Jonathan Cheechoo scored another goal to tie the game, 3–3. However, the Oilers answered back with Fernando Pisani scoring his second goal of the game. The Sharks took six penalties in the third period, which proved very costly. Jarret Stoll quickly capitalized on a Cheechoo interference call and then Ryan Smyth scored later in the period, sealing the game.

The two teams headed back to Edmonton for Game 6, where the Oilers took the game, 2–0, with the game-winning goal from Michael Peca, to win the series, 4–2.

Game-by-game Score SJ goals EDM goals
1 May 7 at Sharks 2, Oilers 1 Ehrhoff, Marleau Spacek
2 May 8 at Sharks 2, Oilers 1 Preissing, J. Thornton Samsonov
3 May 10 2:24, 3OT at Oilers 3, Sharks 2 Marleau, Rissmiller Bergeron, Horcoff, Torres
4 May 12 at Oilers 6, Sharks 3 Cheechoo, Ekman, J. Thornton Hemsky, Horcoff, Peca,
Samsonov, Smith, Stoll
5 May 14 Oilers 6, at Sharks 3 Cheechoo, Ehrhoff, S. Thornton Pisani 2, Smyth 2, Horcoff,
6 May 17 at Oilers 2, Sharks 0 none (Roloson shutout) Horcoff, Peca
Oilers win series 4–2 4 with 2 Horcoff 4, 4 with 2

(6) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim vs. (7) Colorado Avalanche

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim advanced to play the Colorado Avalanche in the second round. The Avalanche went 3–1 against Anaheim in the regular season, though all four games were decided by a single goal, and Anaheim's win was in overtime. The series was the first playoff series between the teams.

Game 1 started slow with no goals in the first period, but Samuel Pahlsson gave Anaheim the lead early in the second period. Two goals in the last minute of the period gave Anaheim a 4–0 advantage that extended to 5–0 by game's end, as rookie Ilya Bryzgalov recorded his second straight shutout.

In Game 2, Bryzgalov became the first goalie since his teammate, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, to record three straight playoff shutouts as the Ducks won, 3–0. Bryzgalov joins Frank McCool as the only rookie to accomplish such a feat, which was tested late when the Avalanche pulled goalie Jose Theodore in a desperate attempt to score. Stretching back to midway through the first period of Game 6 of the previous series, the Ducks had not been scored upon in 229:42, giving Bryzgalov the fourth longest playoff shutout streak in NHL history.

In Game 3, Dan Hinote scored late in the first period for the Avs, setting Bryzgalov's shutout streak at second all-time, with just under 250 minutes. Joffrey Lupul brought the Ducks back even in the second, but a Jim Dowd score gave the Avs another lead. Two more from Lupul, his first career hat trick, put the Ducks in a 3–2 lead late, but a Rob Blake follow-up goal from a heavy Alex Tanguay shot tied the score. At 16:30 of overtime, Joffrey Lupul scored his fourth goal of the night to put the Ducks at a 3–0 series lead. A newspaper in Edmonton reported the final score as Lupul 4, Avs 3. [1]

In the fourth game, the Avs lost 4–1, in Colorado. Joe Sakic scored the only goal for the Avs early in the first period. The Ducks equalized late in the first period via a Todd Marchant goal. Bryzgalov did not allow the puck past him in the next two periods, with Teemu Selanne scoring the winning goal early in the second period. Also, Dustin Penner scoring in the sixth minute of the third period, and Marchant scored his second goal of the game late in the third period to secure Anaheim's berth in the Western Conference Finals.

Game-by-game Score ANA goals COL goals
1 May 5 at Mighty Ducks 5, Avalanche 0 Kunitz, Lupul, Moen, Pahlsson, Selanne none (Bryzgalov shutout)
2 May 7 at Mighty Ducks 3, Avalanche 0 Getzlaf, Lupul, Salei none (Bryzgalov shutout)
3 May 9 16:30, OT Mighty Ducks 4, at Avalanche 3 Lupul 4 Blake, Dowd, Hinote
4 May 11 Mighty Ducks 4, at Avalanche 1 Marchant 2, Penner, Selanne Sakic
Mighty Ducks win series 4–0 Lupul 6, Marchant 2, Selanne 2 4 with 1

Conference Finals

Eastern Conference Finals

(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (4) Buffalo Sabres

The Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres began the series labeled as "mirror images" of each other. Both teams were expected to do little in the pre-season, largely because of a lack of major moves in free agency in the off-season attributed to both teams' small-market status. Yet, both teams succeeded, thanks to a successful adjustment to the new, up-tempo game played in the NHL. The two teams were separated by just two points in the regular season, and both finished with 52 wins (Carolina had more points by virtue of taking two more games to overtime than Buffalo did). In their post-season runs, both teams had won their first-round series 4–2 and their second-round series 4–1. Both teams' post-season success had been credited to team defense, offensive scoring depth and the outstanding play of a rookie goaltender: Ryan Miller for the Sabres, and Cam Ward for the Hurricanes.

Thus, something had to give when the two teams first took the ice for Game 1 on May 20 in Raleigh. One theme that held true early was Buffalo's propensity for scoring first, as defenceman Henrik Tallinder finished off a barrage on Ward by beating the rookie goaltender three minutes into the period. Rod Brind'Amour scored to tie the first period at 1–1. Buffalo responded in the second period, outshooting Carolina, 13–4, and getting a goal from co-captain Danny Briere in transition. Carolina applied plenty of pressure in the third period, but the Sabres took advantage of a failed power-play when Jay McKee emerged from the penalty box to beat Ward for another Buffalo score. Mike Commodore cut the deficit to 3–2 with a shorthanded goal with three minutes left in the game, but the Sabres won with no more goals scored.

Urged on by a raucous RBC Center crowd, the Hurricanes played well in the first period of Game 2, which was climaxed by a Frantisek Kaberle power-play goal. However, Buffalo evened the game 48 seconds from intermission. Perhaps as a result of the tie score, the Hurricanes dominated Buffalo in the second period, outshooting the Sabres, 16–4, and picking up two goals from veteran forward Ray Whitney. A near Buffalo goal, saved going in the net by defenceman Glen Wesley, and a Justin Williams goal in the third period both seemed meaningless at the time, but two late Buffalo goals (by Chris Drury and Derek Roy) made them quite important. The 4–3 Hurricanes win was not without controversy; Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette accused the Sabres of diving in order to draw four penalty calls against Carolina in the third period. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff replied that the Sabres were just following Carolina's example.

Game 3 was similar, except this time the two teams were reversed. Buffalo had the better of the play in the first period but the game was tied at 1 when Chris Drury deflected a shot past Ward. In this second period, Buffalo dominated, unleashing a barrage on Ward that yielded three goals: two Briere and one for Ales Kotalik. After the Kotalik goal, Ward was pulled in favor of Martin Gerber. Gerber made two saves on break-aways, giving Carolina momentum. The Hurricanes responded with goals from Cory Stillman and Eric Staal, extending Staal's point streak to 13 games. The Sabres emerged with a 2–1 series lead but lost Tallinder, one of their top defensemen, to a broken arm.

Game 4 provided the series' first large margin of victory for either side. The game went Carolina's way, as the Hurricanes emerged with a 4–0 shutout win. Much of the pregame conjecture centered around who Laviolette would turn select for goaltender. In the end, the call went to the veteran Gerber, and the Swiss native responded. Gerber kept the score deadlocked before Mark Recchi and Staal scored to give the Hurricanes a 2–0 first-period lead. In the second period, Andrew Ladd and Bret Hedican added their first goals of the post-season.

In Game 5, Gerber started in net for the Hurricanes, but he did not play well. Drury scored his ninth of the post-season to open the scoring and, after a Williams goal 17 seconds later tied the score, Derek Roy scored on Gerber to give the Sabres a 2–1 lead at the first intermission. Two minutes into the second period, Toni Lydman scored, giving Buffalo a 3–1 lead. Laviolette once more made a mid-game switch, this time turning back to Ward. Within 10 minutes, the Hurricanes had evened the score thanks to a goal from Recchi and then a power play goal off the crossbar from Brind'Amour. The Hurricanes registered only one shot on goal in the entire third period. The game went to overtime for the first time in the series. In overtime, Stillman recovered a shot that went wide off the boards and beat Miller low to give Carolina a momentum-grabbing 4–3 win. The Hurricanes earned their first lead of the series. Eric Staal received an assist on the Brind'Amour goal to push his consecutive points streak to 15 games. The record is 19 games, set by Bryan Trottier for the New York Islanders in 1981.

With Teppo Numminen returning to the bench, Game 6 started out comfortably for the Sabres, as Jean-Pierre Dumont scored on a rebound early in the first period to give the Sabres a lead. It held until late in the third period, when Bret Hedican put a shot into the top corner to send the game into overtime. After Doug Weight was given a boarding penalty for his hit on Pominville early in overtime, Danny Briere sent the series to a Game 7 by putting a shot in that went off Cam Ward's glove and into the net.

In Game 7, the Sabres remained competitive despite the loss of defenceman Jay McKee, leaving them with four defenders sidelined, and seven players overall, missing from the roster because of injury. Buffalo took a 2–1 lead with 2 seconds left in the second period on Jochen Hecht's wraparound bank shot off Ward's pads. But Carolina answered early in the third with a goal by Weight, atoning for his penalty that cost the Hurricanes in the previous game, and then took the lead on a power play goal by Brind'Amour with about seven minutes left. Justin Williams would tally an insurance goal on a rebound from Brind'Amour with a minute left, and the Hurricanes took the game 4–2 and the series 4–3, securing their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in four seasons.

Game-by-game Score CAR goals BUF goals
1 May 20 Sabres 3, at Hurricanes 2 Brind'Amour, Commodore Briere, McKee, Tallinder
2 May 22 at Hurricanes 4, Sabres 3 Whitney 2, Kaberle, Williams Drury, Roy, Vanek
3 May 24 at Sabres 4, Hurricanes 3 Stillman 2, Staal Briere 2, Drury, Kotalik
4 May 26 Hurricanes 4, at Sabres 0 Hedican, Ladd, Recchi, Staal none (Gerber shutout)
5 May 28 8:46, OT at Hurricanes 4, Sabres 3 Brind'Amour, Recchi, Stillman,
Drury, Lydman, Roy
6 May 30 4:22, OT at Sabres 2, Hurricanes 1 Hedican Briere, Dumont
7 June 1 at Hurricanes 4, Sabres 2 Brind'Amour, Commodore, Weight, Williams Hecht, Janik
Hurricanes win series 4–3 Brind'Amour 3, Stillman 3, Williams 3 Briere 4, Drury 3

Western Conference Finals

(6) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim vs. (8) Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers opened up the scoring in the first game of the series in the first period, when Michael Peca scored his second short-handed goal of the playoffs on a long pass from Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson. The Ducks quickly answered back with a goal on a power play, tying the game. The Oilers took the lead in the middle of the second period when Ales Hemsky knocked in a high rebound. The Oilers' Todd Harvey scored on an empty net to clinch the game.

The second game of the series was one which many declared a "must-win" for Anaheim [2] [3] in order to avoid going down 2–0 in the series heading to Rexall Place, where they had not won since 1999. However, the Oilers opened with another special-teams goal in the first period when Chris Pronger scored on a power-play with a shot off the blue line thirteen minutes into the first period. However, the Ducks responded in the second period with Jeff Friesen putting a rebound past Roloson. Roloson stopped 33 shots on the night. Fernando Pisani, who led the Oilers in goals, scored his eighth of the playoffs with three minutes left in the second period. During the third period, the Ducks pressured Edmonton, much like Game 1, but were unable to beat Roloson as well as the Edmonton shot-blocking. Michael Peca scored his second goal of the series on an empty net as time ran out, giving the Oilers a 2–0 series lead.

Game 3 was played at Rexall Place in Edmonton. The Ducks sought to break the Oilers' six-game playoff win streak in a building they had not won in since 1999. The first period was marred with over 40 penalty minutes assessed in total. However, Toby Petersen managed to put the Oilers in the lead on a failed Bryzgalov clearing attempt which left the net wide open. Both teams could not score in the second period as things seemed to calm down a little. The third period had much more scoring. First, Michael Peca scored on a breakaway. Just over a minute later, Steve Staios scored his first goal of the playoffs on a power play, giving the Oilers a 3–0 lead. Chris Pronger seemed to put this out of reach on a 5-on-3 power-play goal. The Oilers had scored three goals in two and a half minutes, giving them a seemingly safe 4–0 lead. However, the Ducks' Sean O'Donnell scored at just past the seven-minute mark of the third period. Teemu Selanne, who had been quiet for much of the series, put the Ducks right back in the game with his first goal of the series. Chris Kunitz then put the Ducks within a goal as the momentum had completely shifted over. However, Pisani scored his ninth goal of the playoffs off a bad Anaheim faceoff putting the Oilers back ahead by two. This tied him for the most goals in the playoffs with Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks with nine. Selanne then scored his second goal of the game with less than two minutes left, bringing it back to a one-goal game. However, the Oilers managed to hang on in the dying seconds and secure a 3–0 series lead with a chance to sweep at Rexall Place in Game 4. The game had a total of 76 penalty minutes handed out by the time everything was done.

After a less-than-stellar performance in Game 3, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle replaced Bryzgalov with Jean-Sebastien Giguere for Game 4, hoping the shakeup would energize his team. It worked quite well, as the Ducks allowed only three shots in the first period, scoring three goals. Edmonton did lead a comeback in the second period, coming within one of the Ducks, but Joffrey Lupul scored two goals to win the game, 5–2.

Game 5 returned to Anaheim, and the Oilers had several penalties called against them in the first period. Although the Oilers successfully killed off the penalty to Matt Greene, Jaroslav Spacek's hooking minor led to a power play goal for the Ducks, scored by Francois Beauchemin. The first period ended with the Ducks up 1–0 and outshooting the Oilers, 14–8. Early in the second period, the Ducks took a penalty that was successfully killed off, but immediately after the penalty expired, the Oilers tied the game with a rebound goal from Ethan Moreau. Five minutes later, Raffi Torres tipped in a shot from Marc-Andre Bergeron to take the lead in the game. Although several good chances for both teams followed, the lead was held by the Oilers.

Despite late pressure by the Ducks, including a 6-on-3 power play in the final minute of play, the Oilers held on to win the Western Conference and move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. They were the first eighth-seeded team to reach the Finals under the current playoff format (which was introduced in 1994).

Game-by-game Score ANA goals EDM goals
1 May 19 Oilers 3, at Mighty Ducks 1 McDonald Harvey, Hemsky, Peca
2 May 21 Oilers 3, at Mighty Ducks 1 Friesen Pisani, Peca, Pronger
3 May 23 at Oilers 5, Mighty Ducks 4 Selanne 2, Kunitz, O'Donnell Peca, Petersen, Pisani,
Pronger, Staios
4 May 25 Mighty Ducks 6, at Oilers 3 Lupul 2, Penner 2, Getzlaf,
Bergeron, Laraque, Smyth
5 May 27 Oilers 2, at Mighty Ducks 1 Beauchemin Moreau, Torres
Oilers win series 4–1 Selanne 2, Lupul 2, Penner 2 Peca 3, Pisani 2, Pronger 2

Stanley Cup Finals

(E2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (W8) Edmonton Oilers

This series marked the first time that the Oilers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1990, when they won their fifth Stanley Cup in team history. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2002, when they fell to the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings in five games.

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 a Finals. 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 second Finals contested by two teams that had both missed the playoffs the previous season (assuming one skips the unplayed 2005 Stanley Cup playoffs), after Pittsburgh/Minnesota 1991. 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 one team, the 1938–39 Chicago Blackhawks, had ever missed the playoffs one year, then played in the Stanley Cup Finals (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.

In Game 1, 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 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, and it deflected off Jason Smith's stick to the front of the empty net, allowing Brind'Amour to score the winning goal.

With Roloson's injury, Jussi Markkanen started for the Oilers in Game 2. 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 bench; 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.

In Game 3, 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. [4] [5] [6]

In, Game 4, 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. Mark Recchi scored the eventual game-winner with just over four minutes to go in the second 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.

Carolina entered Game 5 with 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 goal 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 a power-play goal 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 scored another power play goal to tie the game. With 7:47 remaining in the third period, Whitney missed what might have been the Hurricanes' best chance to close out the series with a shot that just hit the post. The game went to overtime, and Pisani scored the first short-handed overtime goal in Finals history to give the Oilers the win. [7]

Edmonton, in Game 6, shut out Carolina, 4–0, 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).

The Hurricanes returned to their home ice to defeat the Oilers in Game 7, 3–1, to win the 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 a minute and a half to go in regulation, the Oilers pulled Markkanen in hopes of tying the game. Seconds later, a loose puck wound up on the stick of Bret Hedican. Hedican dumped the puck to Eric Staal, who fed it to Justin Williams. Williams sprinted down the ice and tapped the puck into the empty net at 18:59 of the third period, 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 Hurricanes became the third former World Hockey Association franchise to win the Stanley Cup, following the Oilers and Quebec Nordiques, who won as the Colorado Avalanche.

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; the Calgary Flames were defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004., 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.

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.

Game-by-game Score CAR goals EDM goals
1 June 5 at Hurricanes 5, Oilers 4 Brind'Amour 2, Whitney 2, Williams Hemsky, Moreau, Pisani, Pronger
2 June 7 at Hurricanes 5, Oilers 0 Kaberle, Ladd, Recchi,
Stillman, Weight
none (Ward shutout)
3 June 10 at Oilers 2, Hurricanes 1 Brind'Amour Horcoff, Smyth
4 June 12 Hurricanes 2, at Oilers 1 Recchi, Stillman Samsonov
5 June 14 3:31, OT Oilers 4, at Hurricanes 3 Staal 2, Whitney Pisani 2, Hemsky, Peca
6 June 17 at Oilers 4, Hurricanes 0 none (Markkanen shutout) Horcoff, Pisani, Smyth, Torres
7 June 19 at Hurricanes 3, Oilers 1 Kaberle, A. Ward, Williams Pisani
Hurricanes win series 4–3 Brind'Amour 3, Whitney 3, 4 with 2 Pisani 5, 3 with 2

See also

Preceded by
2004 Stanley Cup playoffs
Stanley Cup Champions Succeeded by
2007 Stanley Cup playoffs
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