The 2006 Stanley Cup Final was the NHL championship series of the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs contested between the Eastern Conference champions Carolina Hurricanes and the Western Conference champions Edmonton Oilers.
It was Carolina's second appearance in the Final (the other being in 2002, a loss to the Detroit Red Wings). It was Edmonton's seventh appearance in the Final and their first since their fifth Cup win in 1990. Carolina defeated Edmonton in seven games to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup becoming the tenth post-1967 expansion team and third former WHA team to win the Cup.
Carolina's 2006 win was also the teams' second league championship (the club, then known as the New England Whalers won the WHA Championship in 1973). Until 2012, this was the last Cup Final in which the Eastern Conference champion has had home-ice advantage.
Road to the Final
Carolina defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4–2, the New Jersey Devils 4–1 and the Buffalo Sabres 4–3 to advance to the Final. Edmonton defeated the Western Conference No. 1 seed Detroit Red Wings 4–2, the San Jose Sharks 4–2 and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4–1 to advance to the Final.
The Oilers became the first team since the NBA's 1999 New York Knicks and the first team in the NHL that a #8 seeded team made it to the Finals.
This series marked the first time that two former World Hockey Association teams played against each other for the Stanley Cup since they merged with the NHL in 1979. As a result of the new scheduling formula that was implemented before the 2005–06 NHL season, the Hurricanes and the Oilers did not meet during the regular season.
These were also the first ever Finals contested by two teams that had both missed the playoffs the previous season (assuming one skips the unplayed 2005 Stanley Cup playoffs). Even more interestingly, it would also prove to be the first Finals contested by teams that would both go on to miss the following years' playoffs.
Prior to these Finals, only the 1938–39 Chicago Black Hawks had ever missed the playoffs one year, then played in the Stanley Cup Final (win or lose) the following season, and then missed the playoffs again the season after that. Both the Hurricanes and Oilers have now accomplished this dubious feat.
Hurricanes Head Coach Peter Laviolette joined Ron Wilson as the only people to have head coached in an Olympics and Stanley Cup Finals in the same year, having coached the American ice hockey team during the Torino Olympics.
Both would coach in either one in 2010; Wilson coached the American ice hockey team to silver medal at the Vancouver Olympics, while Laviolette would coach in the Stanley Cup Finals with the Philadelphia Flyers.
|Monday, June 5||Carolina Hurricanes||5 – 4||Edmonton Oilers||RBC Center|
In game one, Carolina tied the biggest comeback in Stanley Cup Finals history, overcoming a three-goal deficit to win, 5–4. Edmonton scored first, 8:18 into the first period, with a goal from Fernando Pisani.
In the second period, Chris Pronger scored the first penalty shot goal in Stanley Cup Finals history after defenceman Niclas Wallin illegally covered the puck inside his own goal crease, and Ethan Moreau's goal at 16:23 gave the Oilers a 3–0 lead. But at the 17:17 mark, Rod Brind'Amour scored the Hurricanes' first goal of the game. Carolina then tied the game in the third period with two scores by Ray Whitney.
The Hurricanes jumped ahead, 4–3, on a shorthanded breakaway goal by Justin Williams, but Edmonton's Ales Hemsky scored on a power play to tie the game with 6:29remaining. Late in the final period, Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson suffered a series-ending knee injury in a collision and was replaced with Ty Conklin.
With 32 seconds to go in regulation, Conklin misplayed the puck behind his own net, and it deflected off Jason Smith's stick to the front of the empty net, allowing Brind'Amour to score the winning goal.
Hurricanes' netminder Cam Ward had to make the last of his 34 saves with 3.8 seconds remaining, robbing Shawn Horcoff for the second time in the third period with a glove save to preserve the victory.
|Wednesday, June 7||Carolina Hurricanes||5 – 0||Edmonton Oilers||RBC Center|
With Roloson's injury, Jussi Markkanen started for the Oilers in game two. Although Markkanen had played 37 games in the regular season, sharing the job with Ty Conklin and Mike Morrison he and Conklin has switched back and forth during the playoff as the backup (with the other sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch); he also had not played in a game since March 1, 2006.
The Hurricanes shut out the Oilers, 5–0, with five different Carolina players scoring goals. It was the first time three goaltenders had been used in a Cup Finals since May 1970, when the St. Louis Blues employed Jacques Plante, Glenn Hall and Ernie Wakely on their way to being swept by the Boston Bruins.
|Saturday, June 10||Edmonton Oilers||2 – 1||Carolina Hurricanes||Rexall Place|
Markkanen once again started in net with Roloson still out. Shawn Horcoff scored just over two minutes into the first period. During the second period, a short-handed goal was waved off by the referee, because he had lost sight of the puck and had blown the whistle, despite the fact that the puck had not yet been covered.
The Hurricanes responded midway through the third period with their captain, Rod Brind'Amour, taking a rebound off a blocked shot past Markkanen. However, with 2:15 left in the game, Edmonton's Ryan Smyth scored the winning goal after crashing into Ward inside the crease as they both tried to get control of a rebound off of a shot by Ales Hemsky.
|Monday, June 12||Edmonton Oilers||1–2||Carolina Hurricanes||Rexall Place|
Edmonton got off to a good start when Sergei Samsonov opened the scoring at 8:40 of the first period. However, the lead was short-lived as Cory Stillman replied just 29 seconds later to tie the game, 1–1.
Stillman also made a sound defensive play on Chris Pronger late in the second period, tipping the puck away in the Edmonton zone to the front of the net, where Eric Staal fed a pass to Mark Recchi, who scored the eventual game-winning goal with 4:08 to go in the period.
Once again Edmonton's power-play was ineffective, failing to capitalize on five chances, including a two-man advantage in the first period. When the game ended, the Oilers were 1-for-25 on the power play to this point in the series.
|Wednesday, June 14||Carolina Hurricanes||3 – 4||OT||Edmonton Oilers||RBC Center|
Carolina had a 3–1 lead in the series and a chance to win the Stanley Cup on their home ice. However, Edmonton scored first on Fernando Pisani's redirect of a Pronger slapshot 16 seconds into the game.
The Hurricanes then went ahead, 2–1, on two power-play goals by Staal and Whitney before the Oilers scored on the power play with a beautiful one-timer by Ales Hemsky to tie the game. Michael Peca then gave Edmonton a 3–2 lead with 17.4 seconds left in the first period.
In the second period, Staal poked a goal between Markkanen and the post to tie the game. Early in the third period, Hurricanes' center Doug Weight got sandwiched by Pronger and Raffi Torres, separating his shoulder and ending his night early. Weight would not return to play for the rest of the series, but would eventually raise the cup.
Carolina defenceman Aaron Ward also was injured in the third period, and with Carolina running out of fresh bodies, the Hurricanes were desperate to close out the game. With 7:47 remaining in the third period, Whitney missed what might have been the Hurricanes' best chance to win the series with a shot that just hit the post.
The game went to overtime, and Recchi drew a penalty early in the period to put the Hurricanes on the power play. Fernando Pisani picked off a cross-ice pass from Stillman and streaked in short-handed, and beat Cam Ward top right corner (glove side) with a left-handed shot, to score the first short-handed overtime goal in Finals history, giving the Oilers the upset win.
|Saturday, June 17||Edmonton Oilers||4 – 0||Carolina Hurricanes||Rexall Place|
Despite the emotional boost of Carolina winger Erik Cole returning to the ice for the first time since breaking his neck in March, Edmonton dominated for the entire sixty minutes, shutting out Carolina, 4–0, in front of a raucous crowd at Rexall Place, scoring three power-play goals and limiting the Hurricanes to only 16 shots on goal.
Edmonton held Carolina to seven shots through 40 minutes of play. Fernando Pisani got his post-season high fifth game-winning goal (and 13th in total, also tops amongst scorers in the '06 playoffs). This game also marked Markkanen's first career playoff shutout.
|Monday, June 19||Carolina Hurricanes||3 – 1||Edmonton Oilers||RBC Center|
However, the Hurricanes returned to the RBC Center to defeat the Oilers in game seven, 3–1, to win the Stanley Cup. Aaron Ward and Frantisek Kaberle gave Carolina a 2–0 lead before Pisani scored for Edmonton at 1:03 of the third period to cut the lead.
With just over a minute to go in regulation, the Oilers pulled the goalie in hopes of forcing overtime. A loose puck wound up on the stick of Bret Hedican. He fed it to Eric Staal, who threw it down the ice to Justin Williams. Williams sprinted down the ice and tapped the puck into the empty net, sealing the Stanley Cup for the Hurricanes.
Cam Ward became the first NHL rookie goalie to win a Stanley Cup Finals series since Patrick Roy lead the Montreal Canadiens in 1986, and he was also the first rookie since the Philadelphia Flyers' Ron Hextall in 1987 to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.
Cory Stillman earned a Stanley Cup title for the second straight season, having won in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, becoming the first player to win back-to-back titles with different teams since Claude Lemieux (1995 New Jersey Devils, 1996 Colorado Avalanche).
The Hurricanes' victory ended Glen Wesley's 18-year drought without winning the Cup. He had played close to 1,500 regular season and playoff games before winning the Cup, the longest such drought in the NHL. Wesley was the last player remaining from the franchise's days as the Hartford Whalers.
Other notable veterans to win their first Cup were Rod Brind'Amour, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney and Bret Hedican, who was on the losing end of another Game 7 Finals, in 1994, while with the Vancouver Canucks. Mark Recchi won the second Cup of his career, having won 15 years prior as a member of the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins. He would retire a Stanley Cup winner with the 2011 Boston Bruins, where he teamed up with Frank Kaberle's brother Tomas.
The Hurricanes became the third former World Hockey Association franchise to win the Stanley Cup, following the Oilers and Quebec Nordiques, who won as the Colorado Avalanche. The 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs marked the second time in a row that an Alberta-based team had made it to the NHL finals only to lose in seven games to the Southeast Division champions as the Oilers weren't able to complete their Cinderella run, having entered the playoffs seeded #8, denying General Manager Kevin Lowe and Head Coach Craig MacTavish from joining Lester Patrick and Frank Boucher as the only duos to win the Stanley Cup together as players and then as a coach-managerial team, as the two were with the Oilers as players in 1987, 1988 and 1990, and the New York Rangers in 1994.
The Calgary Flames were defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. In each game of the Finals, the team that won the opening faceoff went on to win that game. This was the first major-league professional championship for the state of North Carolina by a men's team (the Carolina Courage of the defunct Women's United Soccer Association won the 2002 Founders Cup).
It is also (as of 2011) the only world championship by a current North Carolina team in any of the four major league sports.
|29||Template:Country data SUI||Martin Gerber||L||second (2003)|
|30||Cam Ward||L||first (2006)|
|2||Glen Wesley – A||L||second (2002)|
|4||Aaron Ward||R||third (1997 and 1998)|
|5||Frank Kaberle||L||first (2006)|
|6||Bret Hedican||L||third (1994, 2002)|
|7||Template:Country data SWE||Niclas Wallin||L||second (2002)|
|22||Mike Commodore||L||second (2004)|
|48||Template:Country data UKR||Anton Babchuk||R||—|
|70||Template:Country data RUS||Oleg Tverdovsky||L||second (2003)|
|8||Matt Cullen||C||L||first (2006)|
|11||Justin Williams||RW||R||first (2006)|
|12||Eric Staal||C||L||first (2006)|
|13||Ray Whitney||LW||R||first (2006)|
|14||Kevyn Adams – A||C||R||second (2002)|
|16||Andrew Ladd||LW||L||first (2006)|
|17||Rod Brind'Amour – C||C||L||third (1997, 2002)|
|18||Mark Recchi||RW||L||second (1991)|
|26||Erik Cole||RW||L||second (2002)|
|27||Craig Adams||RW||R||second (2002)|
|61||Cory Stillman - A||LW||L||second (2004)|
|63||Josef Vasicek||LW||L||second (2002)|
Carolina Hurricanes (2006 Stanley Cup champions)
- 17 Rod Brind'Amour (Captain)
- 8 Matt Cullen
- 12 Eric Staal
- 14 Kevyn Adams (A)
- 39 Doug Weight
- 11 Justin Williams
- 13 Ray Whitney
- 16 Andrew Ladd
- 18 Mark Recchi
- 27 Craig Adams
- 26 Erik Cole
- 59 Chad Larose
- 61 Cory Stillman (A)
- 63 Josef Vasicek
- 2 Glen Wesley (A)
- 4 Aaron Ward
- 5 Frank Kaberle
- 6 Bret Hedican
- 7 Niclas Wallin
- 48 Anton Babchuk
- 24 Andrew Hutchinson
- 22 Mike Commodore
- 70 Oleg Tverdovsky
- 30 Cam Ward
- 29 Martin Gerber
Nine players remained from the 2002 Carolina team that lost in the finals: Craig Adams, Kevyn Adams, Rod Brind'Amour, Erik Cole, Bret Hedican, Josef Vasicek, Niclas Wallin, Glen Wesley and Aaron Ward.
Jeff Daniels also played in 2002, but he was an Assistant Coach in 2006. Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy was the only remaining member of the 2002 Carolina Coaching Staff.
Coaching and administrative staff
- Peter Karmanos, Jr. (CEO/Owner/Governor), Thomas Thewes (Owner), Jim Rutherford (President/General Manager), Davin Olsen (Vice President-Arena Manager)
- Jason Karmanos (Vice President/Asst. General Manager), Mike Amendola (Chief Financial Officer), Peter Laviolette (Head Coach)
- Kevin McCarthy (Asst. Coach) Jeff Daniels (Asst. Coach), Greg Stefan (Goaltending Coach/Pro Scout), Chris Huffine (Video Coordinator)
- Skip Cunningham (Asst. Equipment Manager, Wally Tatomir (Equipment Manager), Bob Gorman (Asst. Equipment Manager), Peter Freisen (Athletic Therapist/Strength-Conditioning Coach)
- Chris Stewart (Asst. Athletic Therapist), Brian Tatum (Director of Team Services), *Kelly Kirwin (Event Coordinator-Hockey Operations), Mike Sundheim (Director of Media Relations), Kyle Hanlin (Manager of Media Relations)
- Sheldon Ferguson (Director Amateur Scouting), Marshall Johnston (Director Pro Scouting), Claude Larose (Scout), Ron Smith (Scout)
- (Tony MacDonald (Scout), Martin Madden (Scout), Bert Marshall (Scout), Tom Rowe(Scout)
Stanley Cup engraving
- Carolina requested that Anton Babchuk and Andrew Hutchinson be included, because they fell just a few game short of the league minimum 41 regular-season games played. The NHL agreed, since both players spent their entire season in the NHL.
- Frantisek Kaberle became the first player to win the Olympic Bronze Medal in ice hockey (with team Czech Republic) and the Stanley Cup (with Carolina) in the same year.
Eric Staal's name was misspelled "Staaal" on the Stanley Cup. Engraver Louise St. Jacques was able to correct the mistake and removed the last "A".
Included on team picture, but left off the Stanley Cup
- 37 Keith Aucoin (RW 6 regular season games, 72 games played in the minors)
- 34 David Gove (LW played in 1 game, 65 games played in the minors),
- 50 Craig Kowalski (G)† did not play in any games in the NHL. He was playing in Europe during the season.
In the United States, this was the first Stanley Cup Final to be broadcast on NBC and OLN (later Versus, currently NBC Sports Network).
Games one and two were on OLN, while the remainder of the series was on NBC. NBC's broadcast of game seven drew a 3.3 rating, a 21% drop from ABC's 4.2 for game seven in 2004.
However, some NBC affiliates didn't air game seven live. Overall, NBC had an average rating of 2.3 for its five telecasts of the final, down 12% from ABC's 2004 average. In Canada, the CBC's broadcast of game seven drew 4.739 million viewers. However, it included pre-game and post-game coverage. The game itself drew 5.553 million.
Neither the Carolina Hurricanes nor the Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs the next season making them the first two teams in NHL history to miss the playoffs the year after reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
In addition, the Hurricanes became the third team in NHL history to miss the playoffs the year after winning the Stanley Cup joining the 1969-70 Montreal Canadiens and the 1995-96 New Jersey Devils. As of 2013, the Oilers have not returned to the playoffs since.