#1: June 1, 2006- In Rod We Trust
After Cory Stillman’s overtime goal in Game 5 gave the Canes control of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Buffalo Sabres, Daniel Briere scored the overtime winner in Game 6 to force a winner-take-all game at the RBC Center. The stage was set with the awaiting threat of the Edmonton Oilers for whichever team survived. Survival had been the key for both teams in this series. Five of the six games had been decided by one goal. The Canes would strike first as Mike Commodore’s drive, sailing wide of the net, redirected off the skate of Adam Mair and into the net, giving the Canes a 1-0 lead after the first. The 1-0 lead would last until the Sabres scored twice in the final five minutes of the second period, with Joachen Hecht giving Buffalo the lead with five seconds left. Doug Weight tied the game 1:34 into the third period, setting up a dramatic ending to this series. Just past the halfway mark in the period, Brian Campbell would be sent to the box for a delay-of-game penalty. Little did we know this would be a costly mistake. Eric Staal’s initial shot never reached Ryan Miller, and the puck sat loose at the top of the crease for a few seconds. Unbeknownst to Rory Fitzpatrick, it was at his feet. Like the superhero he is, Rod Brind’Amour swooped in and lifted the puck past Miller, pushing the Canes back in front. With Cam Ward keeping the tying goal out and Justin Williams padding the lead in the final minute, the Carolina Hurricanes would capture their second Prince of Wales Trophy. As the story goes, the captain would find more magic in Game 1 against Edmonton and lead his troops to a seven-game victory over the Oilers, giving the franchise their first and only Stanley Cup.