The Hurricanes closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games Sunday with a 4-1 win on home ice, moving on to the Eastern Conference finals against Buffalo with a win in front of fans who know about Final Fours. But this time, it’s the NHL variety.
After taking an early lead, the Devils were overcome by the energized ‘Canes. Devils done in 5.
As he lined up to shake the hand of Hurricanes rookie goaltender Cam Ward last night, Martin Brodeur felt a tinge of nostalgia.
Brodeur knows the joy Ward is feeling at this early stage of his career by reaching the Eastern Conference finals. He went through the same euphoria as a Devils rookie in 1994.
“I wished him luck,” Brodeur said. “This is a great time in a young guy’s life. I knew he looked up to me as a youngster. A lot of guys said nice things to me when I was young.”
So much for home-ice advantage at the Shark Tank. After blowing that myth wide open with a four-goal third period to defeat San Jose 6-3, the Edmonton Oilers can clinch the Western Conference semifinal series at home. Win at Rexall Place on Wednesday and the Oilers advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 14 years.
The Sharks are not just in trouble. They are also in international distress. They are heading back to Canada for the next — and likely final — game of this playoff series. Because after their 6-3 loss Sunday to the Edmonton Oilers, the Sharks will be flying north as a team that in no way resembles the confident group that won eight of nine games to close out the regular season, then won six of its first seven postseason starts.