Mark Recchi and Cory Stillman scored for the Hurricanes, Cam Ward had another strong game in the nets and Carolina defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 Monday night to take a commanding lead in the Stanley Cup finals.
"Obviously, it's really exiting," Ward said. "We got one more to go. We still got a lot of work ahead of us. Hopefully we can finish it up in Raleigh."
Carolina got the split it needed in Edmonton and now heads home with a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Wednesday night in hoops-loving Raleigh, N.C., now on the cusp of putting a different kind of championship on ice.
After Edmonton's Sergei Samsonov and Stillman scored 29 seconds apart in the first period, the Hurricanes forechecked their way to the go-ahead goal with 4:04 left in the second period. Stillman was right in the middle of things again.
When Edmonton defenseman Chris Pronger tried to clear the zone along the boards, Stillman got a stick on it. The puck sailed out in front of the goal, where Eric Staal jumped to knock it down and sent a quick pass to Recchi at the side of the net.
He lifted a shot under the crossbar while Oilers goalie Jussi Markkanen crawled along the ice in a futile attempt to get a piece of it.
Markkanen, making his third straight start in place of injured starter Dwayne Roloson, had another strong game after anchoring the Oilers' 2-1 win in Game 3. The replacement made 18 saves, several of them downright spectacular.
In the first period, Markkanen appeared to get the shaft of his stick on a shot by Rod Brind'Amour _ just enough to send it off the crossbar. The Oilers goalie also turned aside Justin Williams with a brilliant glove save early in the third, the left hand coming out of nowhere to snatch a puck that was headed for the top right corner.
Ward's 20 saves didn't look as acrobatic as Markkanen's _ maybe because the 22-year-old rookie is playing so well that he makes everything look easy. His positioning was superb, he rarely gave up a dangerous rebound and Carolina could rest easy with its last line of defense.
So could Edmonton. Markkanen was fine; the Oilers were let down again by their ineffective power play, which failed to convert five chances -- including a lengthy two-man advantage for the second game in a row -- and dropped to 1-for-25 in the series.