The Carolina Hurricanes had won game 1, and had established a lead in the series, and looked to push further ahead against the New Jersey Devils.
To any New Jersey Devils fan reading this, I can only apologize. Most of the Carolina Hurricanes’ best moments in franchise history seem to be against the Devils, and I just cannot explain it. I can only advise for your own sanity, you do not read on. As for Canes fans, let’s enjoy the memory of game 2 of round 2 in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carolina had won game one and held a 1-0 lead after Cam Ward had stepped between the pipes and helped the team come back from the brink against the Montreal Canadiens. Carolina had won game 1 in a blowout as they topped the Devils 6-0 at the RBC Center. A fine offensive display and stellar goaltending has got them game 1, but this was a new dawn and a new day.
New Jersey quickly proved that what you did in the last game means nothing and through a reliable source.
Jamie Langenbrunner would make sure New Jersey didn’t get shutout on this night. Patrik Elias and Brian Rafalski would grab the assists on New Jersey’s first goal of the series. A beauty of a passing play put Carolina behind and served as a reminder New Jersey had won 15 straight prior to game 1.
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At the start of the second, Carolina arrived in a big way. They looked like the team that had come second in the eastern conference, and New Jersey were again forced back into their own end. Eventually, Carolina pressing the matter broke the game open when Doug Weight and Ray Whitney opened up a shot for Mark Recchi, now hall of fame player made no error. 1-1.
It was time for the 3rd period. Against New Jersey, Carolina knew that scoring the goal to get them the lead would be vital if they were to take a 2-0 lead in the series. New Jersey knew that 1 goal would be all it took potentially to shut down game 2 and tie the series up heading home. As the puck dropped, the game stepped up.
Ward would make fabulous save after fabulous save, not to be outdone by Martin Brodeur at the other end. Shots and chances were at a premium, but when they came they were good chances. Neither team wanted to lose, and it showed. Both teams started to play extremely defensive hockey, right until the final minute.
Langenbrunner and the Devils would force the issue again. This time it would be a simple shot from Zach Parise and it would find its way to the back of the net after a tip from Scott Gomez. New Jersey had a lead with 21 seconds left in the 3rd period. Carolina needed someone to step up and step up now.
Step forth the franchise face. Ward’s on the bench for the extra attacker, and the Canes have the Devils pinned right back. Shot after shot is turned away by Brodeur. Until Cory Stillman has a shot the pops out to Justin Williams at the side of the goal. His shot bounces off the end boards to the best player on the team and he makes no mistake. Eric Staal ties it with 3 seconds left in the game.
Overtime was upon us, winner moves on. Loser goes home. Which of the big weapons would get the goal to win the game? New Jersey had one of the best teams in hockey. Carolina had one of the hottest teams in hockey. With so much talent on the benches, it was only going to be a matter of time before a goal was scored. However, it was from the most unlikely source.
Rod Brind’amour plays a pass to Niclas Wallin. Wallin, the 3rd pairing defender, would come forward with speed, and manage to get a puck past the great Martin Brodeur. To this day I don’t believe it was Wallin who scored that goal, hence “the secret weapon” was born. The little Swede had made a huge impact in the National Hockey League.