The Carolina Hurricanes finished off a stirring comeback with the easiest of goals.
Now things really get tough for the Edmonton Oilers.
Rod Brind'Amour scored off a flukey mistake with 31.1 seconds remaining when Edmonton's backup goalie botched an exchange behind the net, and the Hurricanes rallied to beat the visiting Oilers, 5-4, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night.
The upstart Oilers received grim news after the game: Starting goalie Dwayne Roloson - who had played every minute of the playoffs until he went down with just under six minutes remaining - is done for the series.
Roloson's right knee was injured in a collision that knocked the net off its moorings. Ty Conklin, after playing just 18 games during the regular season, committed a major gaffe in his first appearance of the postseason.
With overtime looming, Conklin went behind the net to play the puck on a seemingly routine play. But he appeared to cross up teammate Jason Smith with a back-handed pass, the puck deflecting off Smith's stick and sliding in front of an open net.
Brind'Amour scored his second goal of the night - and he'll never get an easier one.
"It wasn't much that I did," Brind'Amour said. "I think there was a little mix-up about who was going to get it and obviously the goalie is behind the net. It was just a matter of flipping it into the net. You don't get too many of those, but I'll definitely take them."
A few fans showed up in green-and-blue Hartford Whalers attire - a nod to Carolina's roots. The franchise started out in the old World Hockey Association, joined the NHL in 1980, then moved south in 1997.