About a month ago, we extolled the virtues of Oiler underdogs. I picked two - Juussi Markkanen and Fernando Pisani. Both of those players played key moments in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, but it was Pisani’s shorthanded goal that is forever cast in the minds of Oiler fans everywhere.
14 June 2006.
The Oilers had embarked on a Cinderella run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. They improbably took down the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks en route to the Cup Finals. They’d meet the Carolina Hurricanes, who had just dispatched of the upstart Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Fernando Pisani scored fourteen goals in the 2006 NHL Playoffs, which was twice as many as anyone else on the club. That’s not too shabby for a guy who had only 87 regular season goals in his entire eight year career.
The Oilers dropped the first two games of the series in Raleigh and would split the next two at home. Up against a 3-1 deficit in game 5, they’d need to win each of their next three games to wrap up the club’s first Stanley Cup in sixteen years.
Fernando Pisani scored a goal sixteen seconds into the first period to get thing started. to take a power play was clicking that night, as they scored two straight power play goals to take a 2-1 lead in the first. Not to be outdone, Ales Hemsky notched one for Edmonton, and Michael Peca scored a late one to keep the Oilers up 3-2 after one.
Eric Staal would score another power play goal midway through the second to knot it up at 3. That’s how it would stay until overtime.
Overtimes make Oiler fans nervous. They make me especially nervous when it’s a playoff game. They make me even more especially nervous when they could be in a Stanley Cup clinching game. I’m biting every one of my fingernails off if Steve Staios takes a penalty in OT after Carolina has gone 3/6 on the power play.
Give it to Bob Cole
Each time I watch that goal, I still can’t believe how it goes down. Steve Staios taking that penalty had me pacing back and forth in front of the TV beacuse Carolina’s power play was cooking at 50% that night.
For that moment, it didn’t matter. Cory Stillman probably replayed that pass at least a half dozen times in his sleep that night. Fernando Pisani’s stick snatched the puck from a streaking Eric Staal, and the rest was history. Pisani’s game five heroics gave the Oilers immediate light in a series that could have been over that night. It’s got to be the biggest goal of that year, if not the Oilers’ decade.
Time would eventually run out for the Oilers as the Hurricanes took the Cup in seven games. Even though the good guys lost, no one will forget that moment when the local kid sniped it high over Cam Ward’s glove in OT.