RALEIGH, N.C. - 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 Oilers 5-4 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night. As if blowing the big lead wasn’t bad enough, 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 backhanded pass, the puck deflecting off Smith’s stick and sliding in front of an open net. “I just held onto to the puck too long,” Conklin said. “I didn’t make the play quickly, you know? It’s not a mistake I think I would normally make.” Brind’Amour scored his second goal of the night — and he’ll never get an easier one. Smith dove in a futile attempt to knock the puck away and Conklin was still coming around from behind the net when it crossed the line. “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.” Carolina’s rookie goalie, Cam Ward, had another brilliant playoff performance after backing up Martin Gerber through most of the regular season. Ward made 34 saves, including the second of two remarkable stops on Shawn Horcoff at the side of the net with 3.8 seconds left. With two small-market teams and an obscure cable network televising the first two games, the matchup was expected to draw low television ratings. Maybe a few more people will flip over after the teams put on a thrilling display with all sorts of twists and turns. Carolina matched the biggest comeback in finals history, equaling five other teams that overcame a three-goal deficit to win. Edmonton’s Chris Pronger scored the first penalty shot goal in finals history. Carolina finally scored late in the second period, then strung together three rapid-fire goals in the third. Justin Williams put the Hurricanes ahead for the first time on a shorthanded breakaway goal with 9:58 remaining. The Oilers weren’t done, either. After Ward made a brilliant stop on Horcoff, flinging his body back across the crease to somehow get an arm on the puck, Edmonton tied it up on a power-play goal by Ales Hemsky with 6:29 to go. Roloson was hurt when Carolina’s Andrew Ladd carried the puck into the Edmonton zone, cut across in the front of the net and was met there by Edmonton defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, whose hit from behind drove Ladd into Roloson. NEXT Game 2: Edmonton at Carolina, 6 p.m. Wednesday, OLN Series: Hurricanes lead 1-0
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