Carolina's skill level is higher, as is evident when Eric Staal carries the
puck or launches rocketlike shots. The Hurricanes have a nice corps of
veterans, including slick passer Doug Weight, but are short on physical
presence. The well-rounded Oilers have speed, and left wing Ryan Smyth scores
tough goals. Edmonton's third line of Michael Peca, Raffi Torres and Fernando
Pisani will be a big factor.
Again the Hurricanes have skill but aren't physically intimidating. Expect
superskater Bret Hedican to be targeted by Oilers forwards. Edmonton, led by
the tandem of Chris Pronger and Jason Smith, keeps the opposition to the
outside, making it hard to get second-chance opportunities.
Carolina rookie Cam Ward has played well but could be rattled by Oilers
forwards, who create goalmouth chaos. Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson has made more
saves than any goalie this playoffs and allows few rebounds.
The Hurricanes' league-best power play goes up against the Oilers' league-best
penalty kill. Expect Edmonton's speed to frustrate Carolina in this
The Oilers are faster, bigger and play with more emotion. The Hurricanes, led
by Rod Brind'Amour, need to win face-offs to help them control the pace.