MacT holds head up

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

While the Carolina Hurricanes were carrying the Stanley Cup around the ice, Edmonton Oiler coach Craig MacTavish was talking to his team in the dressing room.

"I told the players we didn't do ourselves a disservice in this game.

"The one thing I wanted the players to do is get through the disappointment as quickly as they can because, when your life's work is to win a Stanley Cup and you fall short like we did tonight, it's a disappointment. It's pretty hard to get over this disappointment right now, but we will."

LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE

MacTavish said when you're losing by one goal with just over a minute remaining in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, you end up looking at a very small picture instead of the bigger one.

"When you view the series overall, you can't leave one on the table. We left one on the table in Game 1 and it was tough to overcome that," he said of blowing a 3-0 lead, losing goaltender Dwayne Roloson when Marc-Andre Bergeron bowled a Carolina Hurricane over him and when Ty Conklin coughed the puck up behind his own net.

"As hard as we worked to get back in the series, that might have been the game.

"We didn't lose the series tonight in my mind. We played a pretty good game. But you have to give them a lot of credit for the way they played. They bounced back from a sub-par game in Game 6.

"We were a little tight, I thought, early. It cost us a goal. We didn't get through it and ultimately it was the difference in the game."

MacTavish said he wasn't surprised to get hit by the full force of the Hurricanes in the first period when many were speculating they were out of gas. "I knew they were coming. I have been around long enough to know that a team doesn't get to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final by being wallflowers. We knew they were going to come."

MacTavish reserved his ultimate praise for Jussi Markkanen and the game and the series he had replacing injured Dwayne Roloson after having such a terrible time of it during the regular season.

'INCREDIBLE SAVES'

"As I said to Jussi after the game, I have never seen a guy come in under that much pressure and hold himself together so well. He played so well for us. He made some incredible saves tonight.

"For a guy who hadn't played for as long as he hadn't played to be able to come in and have this type of performance was certainly inspiration to me and his teammates tonight.

"Obviously the ultimate was winning the Stanley Cup tonight and that certainly didn't happen. But the way he conducted himself all year was an inspiration to a lot of us even when he wasn't playing.

"I couldn't be happier with the way he played."


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