Oilers are just doing what they've done all postseason
EDMONTON, Alberta -- We shouldn't be surprised by the Edmonton Oilers' play Saturday night.
The Oilers outskated and outworked the Hurricanes at every turn, they fought back from a hole and they didn't quit. It's something they've done all postseason long. Ryan Smyth said after the game that the players talk about believing in one another; well, it seems that with each win, Edmonton is gaining strength.
Raffi Torres has been the unsung hero for the Oilers in this series. He is making hits that lead to great plays, and he is not taking dumb penalties in the process.
On the other side, Carolina took 10 penalties Saturday night, including two too-many-men-on-the-ice calls. To make matters worse, the Canes had a lowly seven shots over the first two periods. You are not going to win a game, let alone the Stanley Cup, with an end result like that.
Coach Peter Laviolette is going to have to change his team's mind-set. The Canes are going to have to go to the drawing board. Back to basics. Being aggressive in the neutral zone. Getting back to playing disciplined hockey.
You can't blame goalie Cam Ward for this loss. He made some great saves down the stretch, including the closed glove save that was reviewed by officials. His team did not help him at all. Erik Cole's return shouldn't be criticized, either. The doctors treating him are some of the best in the world, and they would not allow him to play if he didn't clear tests. And, quite frankly, he was the Canes' best forward in Game 6.
Oilers coach Craig MacTavish won't change a thing in his game plan. If anything, it will be up to him, his staff and veterans in Edmonton's lineup to keep their cool and not get ahead of things. Remember, Vancouver came back down 3-1 in the Cup finals against the Rangers in 1994, only to lose in the deciding game.
Now, we can look forward to an exciting Game 7. What's better than that?
Barry Melrose, a former NHL defenseman and coach, is a hockey analyst for ESPN.