Pisani still a hero

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Fernando Pisani will still be a hero in Edmonton despite the fact the Oilers did not win the Stanley Cup.

The local product scored his 14th goal of the playoffs last night as the Oilers fell 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

With the goal, Pisani finished as the league's top scorer in the playoffs. He also had a league-high five game-winning goals in the post-season and led all scorers in this series with five goals.

'HE WAS HUGE FOR US'

"He was huge for us in the playoffs," said Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff. "Hopefully this is a big step in his career and he can come back next year and take off where we let off and use this experience to get back in the same situation again."

However, despite Pisani's goal-scoring exploits, it all seemed irrelevant last night.

Especially considering the Oilers came so close to capturing their sixth - and probably most unlikely - Stanley Cup championship.

"It's frustrating right now," Pisani said. "It was a tough loss. We just came up short."

Last night, Pisani was once again the most dangerous Oiler.

He had a great chance in the first period, scored the Oilers' only goal to get back into it in the third and nearly tied the game with his second goal of the game later in the frame.

However, with the Oilers down 2-1, Pisani could not lift a rebound over Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward.

"I think it rolled off, or the guy might have lifted my stick at the last second," Pisani said of his chance to tie the game. "It was a good opportunity, I would love to have had that back and get a better shot on net."

In time Pisani will be able to look back on his accomplishments during the post-season and smile.

He not only caught the imagination of the entire city, but also of a tight-knit Italian community that had one of their own to cheer for.

"It's obviously disappointing we lost, it's been a great learning experience. I've never been this far before in the playoffs," Pisani said.

"I have to give a lot of credit to my linemates, getting pucks to me and doing a great job down low and finding me in the right spots. I had some good bounces too."

Pisani surprised a lot of people with his goal-scoring exploits during the playoffs, however, the unrestricted free agent seems to have a bright future in the league.

'ON THE PATH AGAIN'

"I think it's quite clear he's on the path again," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "He had a couple of great chances, one in the first period and one in the third period that he just had a hard time corralling. He was a threat again tonight, obviously."

Pisani finished the game with four shots, tied with Chris Pronger for most on the team last night.

"I think we showed all playoffs long we were capable of playing a high level of playoff hockey and we were able to come back," Pisani said.

"We just fell short."


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