Rookie goaltender Cam Ward led his Carolina Hurricanes as they held off a third-period comeback by the Edmonton Oilers to claim the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Championship Monday night.
Ward made nine saves on ten shots in the final period, including several key stops in the game’s closing minutes. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs after the game.
Carolina’s veteran defense put them out in front early, when Aaron Ward – who earned two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 – opened the scoring just 1:26 in on a screened shot from the left circle.
After an apparent Carolina penalty shot attempt was called off late in the first, Frantisek Kaberle scored on the power play at 4:18 of the second to extend the Hurricanes’ lead.
Just 1:03 into the third, Edmonton struck back, with playoff hero Fernando Pisani banging in a rebound to pull the Oilers within one.
Cam Ward kept the Oilers from pulling even and with 1:01 remaining, Justin Williams added an empty net goal to seal Carolina’s victory.
The 3-1 final score is identical to that of the final game of Carolina’s only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Hurricanes by that score in Game Five of the 2002 series to claim the cup. Both games featured a final goal scored into the empty net.