Hurricanes back on road for second shot at Cup win

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Carolina coach Peter Laviolette dropped his luggage on the floor of a room suited more for brides and grooms than forwards and defenseman.

He and the Hurricanes had just trudged from the airport to their Canadian hotel Thursday and certainly didn't feel like celebrating after a nearly five-hour flight they wished they didn't have to take.

Back to Edmonton they went after a stunning 4-3 overtime home loss to the Edmonton Oilers a night earlier kept the Stanley Cup in its crate and still a bit out of reach for the Eastern Conference champions.

"We don't like momentum," Laviolette said. "It hasn't worked for us in two rounds. So let them have it."

Carolina leads the Oilers 3-2 in the Stanley Cup finals and will take its second shot at a first NHL title on Saturday night.

"We were hoping not to make this trip but we are here," said Cory Stillman, whose turnover in overtime Wednesday led to Fernando Pisani's decisive shorhanded goal in Game 5. "We have been here once before."

The veteran forward was talking about the Hurricanes' return to the Alberta capital but easily could've been describing Carolina's predicament.

Since the Hurricanes lost the first two games of the playoffs to Montreal, they are 6-0 following defeats. After Edmonton cut its finals deficit in half with a 2-1 win in Game 3, Carolina bounced back in hostile territory to win by an identical score and move within a victory of the championship.

"All year long our team has been able to shrug off whatever kind of loss it is, whether it's an unfortunate one or ugly one," forward Ray Whitney said. "We're pretty good at rubbing it off and moving on as we are when we win the game. It will be no different on Saturday."

Well, it might be.

Stillman said he was already putting his Game 5 gaffe behind him, and his teammates said they were doing the same. The Hurricanes have a healthy amount of veteran leadership to help them get through the tough times but a key piece might not make it to the ice for Game 6.

Doug Weight, acquired midway through the season to bolster the Hurricanes' offensive punch, injured his right shoulder early in the third period Wednesday night after he was crunched sandwich-style by hard-hitting forward Raffi Torres and defenseman Chris Pronger.

Weight only made it as far as the bench the rest of the way.

Laviolette, as is his style, refused to reveal any information on the nature of the injury, the status of the center or who might replace Weight should he be forced to miss Saturday night's contest that will either end the NHL season or force a decisive Game 7 back in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday night.

"We don't know any more than you do," Whitney said.

Weight is not alone on the Hurricanes' injury report. Defenseman Aaron Ward sat out most of the second period with an undisclosed upper-body ailment but made a surprising return before getting hurt again in the third when he stuck his foot out to block one of Pronger's hard slap shots.

"They have momentum, they won the last game -- the same thing we had going back home," said Stillman, who had his name etched on the Cup two years ago with Tampa Bay. "As far as being banged up, we have two days here of rest."

It's hard to say where the pressure lies now. Carolina knows it still has a home game in its back pocket should it drop a second consecutive game. Edmonton might feel the heat to perform well in the last contest in front of its loud and "electric" fans.

"We don't think about the game that we just played," Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's always about just that next game regardless of what's just happened. We've done that all year, and that's what we have to do again."