(d)Evil goalkeeper Marty Brodeur made a slew of remarkable saves in game seven of the first round of the NHL playoffs, but he couldn’t stop a final rush of fury dished up from a seemingly-broken Carolina team in the final two minutes of the series.
What an amazing game. Just like this series as a whole, the guys kept it going back and forth the whole time, both teams playing on the same level, matching one another move for move. With two minutes left to go, it felt like the Canes were done for the year. Then defensman Tim Gleason kicked off a series of remarkable plays when he dropped to his knees and used the long handle of his stick to keep the puck in play. Laying across the blue line, Gleason hit the puck pong-style back towards the Devils goal. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen caught the one-of-a-kind pass and set up a shot for Jussi Jokinen, who evened the score up 3-3 for the Canes. As Caniacs took a sigh of relief, thousands of fans for both sides braced themselves for overtime play. Eric Staal had other plans. With seconds left on the clock, Staal slapped a shot past Brodeur and skated off before the Devil knew what happened.
In a press conference after the game, Hurricanes Coach Paul Maurice had kind words for Staal. Maurice said Staal has a natural talent rarely seen in players, but it’s his drive and hard work that have boosted the 24-year-old to star status after just five years in the league. Maurice, a seasoned coach whose spent years in the league, admitted this series was unlike anything he’s seen before.
“I’ve never had a game end like that,” he said. “That was fantastic.”
What a game. Now on to Boston.