Canes' early tally takes Oilers out of Game 2

Updated: June 8, 2006, 12:15 PM ET
By Barry Melrose | Special to ESPN.com

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Hurricanes knew they needed to come out strong and play well in Wednesday's Game 2. They respect the Oilers too much not to do that.

And while Edmonton had a good first period, Carolina goalie Cam Ward was the difference early on, stopping the tougher shots in the opening frame. The Hurricanes knew they had to score that first goal. If they didn't, then it's the Oilers who gain that momentum and that confidence.

Instead, Andrew Ladd's opening goal, a fluky goal that deflected off the skate of Marc-Andre Bergeron, took the wind out of Edmonton's sails. As the game wore on, the Oilers' game plan became looser and looser. And if you've watched hockey for any period of time, you know that when you're down 4-0 late in the game, things are going to get chippy and the referees are just hoping to get through the rest of it without anything happening.

I've said it before, but Oilers coach Craig MacTavish has to focus on the positives in this game. His team helped set a blistering pace to the game's first 10 minutes, they were hitting and taking the puck to the net.

Now, they have to build on that. They've got two days off. Show them that Jussi Markkanen is capable of making that big save but showing some of his work in Game 2. Show them that they can be aggressive. The Oilers have been down 0-2 before (against San Jose) and now we're going to see what they're made of, if they can come back again.

We'll also see how Canes coach Peter Laviolette and his team reacts. They're going on the road, playing in a building that is just as loud as the RBC Center and Laviolette knows the Oilers are not going to be overconfident heading into Saturday's Game 3.

Barry Melrose, a former NHL defenseman and coach, is a hockey analyst for ESPN.

Barry Melrose

NHL studio analyst
Former NHL player and coach Barry Melrose is an NHL studio analyst for ESPN.

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