The Carolina Hurricanes won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2006, bringing North Carolina its first professional sports championship. One misplay, however, extended the series and put the win in jeopardy.
June 14, 2006. Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” was riding high on the Billboard Hot 100. Cars was enjoying a financial windfall at the box office. The FAA certified a spaceport in Oklahoma, allowing space flights to launch from the Clinton-Sherman Industrial Airpark. Heady times, indeed, and the Carolina Hurricanes were looking to add themselves to the headlines.
The eyes of the hockey world were focused on Raleigh’s RBC Center, the site of Game 5 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. After winning the first two games at home and splitting two games in Edmonton, the Hurricanes returned home, seeking to capture The Cup in front of their ravenous fans. Through the first four games of the series, they held a 13-7 scoring edge over their opponent.
Through four games, rookie sensation Cam Ward had stopped 107 out of 114 shots, good for a .938 save percentage. Rod Brind’Amour, Andrew Ladd, and Mark Recchi had notched game-winners in games 1,2, and 4, respectively. Despite a 2-1 loss in Game 3, the Hurricanes showed that they had an answer for whatever the Oilers threw at them.
As the puck dropped, Brind’Amour won the opening faceoff and Game 5 was underway.