Carolina Hurricanes: Remembering the Shock at the Rock

In 2009, the Carolina Hurricanes found themselves outmatched against the New Jersey Devils, and won. So what was the Shock at the Rock?

In the light of the NHL postponing the regular season due to the coronavirus outbreak, there is no game with New Jersey to talk about. But what past games with New Jersey?

You are spoiled for choice with great moments for the canes against New Jersey. Obviously there’s the miracle Finnish, and game 2 in 2006. However, I have chosen a game that made me jump through the roof watching live and that was the shock at the rock in 2009.

Carolina were brutally outmatched by a strong New Jersey team. They had been the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, Carolina had been the 6 seed. A far inferior team had been stingy at home, and forced the series back to the Prudential Center, or the Rock, for game 7. It was a game New Jersey were heavily favored in.

New Jersey and Carolina had alternated the winners of each game. Game 1 went to the Devils, game 2 to the Canes, 3 to the Devils, 4 to the canes and so on. Game 7 was up in New Jersey, winner went through to play the Boston Bruins in round 2.

Carolina would light the lamp first when Tuomo Ruutu would get a shot past Martin Brodeur in a spot that the canes targeted all night long. Carolina were the underdogs and had stolen the first goal of the game. They finally had something to defend for the rest of it. 1:02 of the first gone and it was 1-0 Canes.

Jussi Jokinen, Carolina Hurricanes  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

New Jersey didn’t trail for long though. Jamie Langenbrunner, the Devils captain would get the goal back. 2:31 gone in the first period and the game would be tied after Patrik Elias made a great pass to Langenbrunner than he would tuck past Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward to tie the game at 1-1.

Jay Pandolfo would put the Devils ahead before the 2nd intermission. He got a pass from John Madden on a 2-on-1 and stuck the shot passed Ward. With only 6:33 remaining in the first period, New Jersey had taken a lead, and had scored 2 straight goals. They had all the momentum and they had a lead to defend.

In the second period, Carolina would strike back. Eric Staal got a pass from Chad LaRose on the boards behind the goal. Staal threw it out in front to Ray Whitney who would bury it and put the Canes back on level terms with the New Jersey Devils. 3:41 into the second period and it was a tie game again, 2-2.

Brian Rolston didn’t plan on letting the devils stay behind for long. Brian Gionta would throw the puck to an open point when the Devils were on the power-play. Carolina only having 4 skaters couldn’t get there, and the speedy D man smacks the puck past Cam Ward from the blueline and Carolina found themselves deep in a hole. They would need a miracle to get it.

Deep into the 3rd period we go. Carolina generating chance after chance and Brodeur is turning them away. Eventually, Carolina got one in through one player who had killed the Devils all series.

Tim Gleason would dive at the blue-line to keep a puck in, and manage to play a saucer pass to Joni Pitkanen from his knees at the blue-line. Pitkanen would play the perfect pass right through the slot to another Finn, sparking the infamous “Turn on the Juice” call from john Forslund as Jussi Jokinen would tie the game at 3 with less than 1:20 left in regulation.

Tim Gleason, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

It was a great moment, but the best was from Eric Staal. Ruutu would take a hit to make a play in the neutral zone, letting the puck go through to Staal, who skates into the Devils zone. A real nothing chance, but Staal lets a shot go right into the same area Ruutu scored the first goal of the game and got the same result. 4-3 Carolina with 31 seconds left game 7.

New Jersey didn’t quit. With 31 seconds they threw everything they could at Carolina. Cam Ward turned away shot after shot after shot, Gleason cutting the passing lane into the slot just by laying down on his stomach.

Time ticking away, and New Jersey still cannot find a way through. Then time stops ticking, the clock has hit 0:00, and Carolina had beaten the Devils in the most impossible way.

Carolina would progress into the 2nd round where they would play the Boston Bruins, but that is a story for a different date.

Question for Cardiac Cane readers: What was your favorite moment from that series?
Next: Why RBA is the perfect Canes coach
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