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Overtime goal keeps Oilers' hopes alive

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Edmonton Oilers beat three higher-seeded teams to reach the Stanley Cup finals. They weren't going out that easy.

Fernando Pisani stunned Carolina with a short-handed goal in overtime, giving the Oilers a 4-3 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday night and sending the series back to Alberta.

The Hurricanes lead 3-2, but the Oilers have life. Game 6 is Saturday night in Edmonton.

Carolina had the upper hand when Steve Staios dragged down Mark Recchi breaking toward the Edmonton goal 3 minutes into the extra period. But Cory Stillman, a star of the playoffs, made a lazy cross-ice pass for Eric Staal as the Hurricanes set up a rush.

Pisani stole it at the blue line, broke in all alone on Cam Ward and beat the 22-year-old rookie with a high shot into the corner of the net over Ward's glove at 3:31 of overtime.

Staal scored his first two goals of the finals for Carolina, which had a chance to clinch its first Stanley Cup on home ice.

But the team that was born in the old World Hockey Association as the New England Whalers and moved south in 1997 will have to wait at least three more days to sip from hockey's most treasured prize.

The cup was packed back up and shipped to Edmonton. If the Oilers win again, it's back to Raleigh for a decisive Game 7 on Monday night.

This one was played after the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto moved through Raleigh, dumping up to 8 inches of rain and flooding a major shopping mall a few miles away from the RBC Center.

But the storm tapered off in the afternoon and Carolina's fans were able to do their usual tailgating outside the arena, whipping themselves into a frenzy by the time they got inside - only to have the team from Alberta score a stunning goal on the first shot of the game.

Pisani got a stick on Chris Pronger's slap shot from the blue line, deflecting it past Ward only 16 seconds after the opening faceoff. That sparked a wild first period, with the Oilers grabbing a 3-2 lead and the teams combining for more goals than either of the two games in Edmonton produced.

Both teams tightened up considerably over the final two periods of regulation. Staal scored the tying goal midway through the second, and the teams combined for only seven shots on goal in the third.

But the Oilers controlled the overtime, putting seven shots on Ward.

The last one beat him.