Overtime Luck Finally Runs Out 

Flames and Bolts in Seventh Heaven 

June 5th, 2004

Okay, admit it, .... part of you just knew it could be that easy.

The Flames poised to win a Stanley Cup on home ice just couldn't find a way in front of the home town fans, with the city ready to let 'er rip, the country waiting to welcome back the cup.

Nope ... not meant to be, but it was close as former Flame Martin St. Louis iced a close one, netting the winner just 30 seconds into the second overtime frame to give the Lightning a 3-2 win and square the series 3-3 and force game seven.

How much can a human heart take?

The Flames, simply put, just didn't have it tonight.

A listless, scoreless first period.

A lifeless start to the second period, and two Tampa powerplay goals had the Flames struggling to keep it close through the game's first 30 minutes.

First Tampa's game winning machine, Brad Richards, got a fortunate one when his centering pass went off the inside of Miikka Kiprusoff's blocker and into his own net to put the Bolts up 1-0.

Five minutes later the Flames tied the score at one when Chris Clark converted a sneaky pass from Ville Nieminen to score his third of the playoffs. Nieminen, "Villified" for his hit from behind on Vincent Lecavalier just five nights ago snaked the puck across the crease to a wide open Clark for a tap in.

Just as the Calgary faithful were considering taking their seats from the post goal celebration the Flames were whistled down for a penalty, sending the Lighting to their second second period advantage, sitting one for one.

With the Flames pressing the play to the side boards, Brad Richards snuck free and wired a shot through Kiprusoff's pads to put the Lightning up once again.

Calgary slowly chugged away at the momentum to gain a foothold on the proceedings once again, taking advantage late when Oleg Saprykin turned a Bolt giveaway into a Marcus Nilson tip in to tie the score once again.

From there the Flames carried the play and had great territorial advantage but no true blue chip chance to put the game away.

One chance, however, is sure to queue up some water cooler chat for some time - that is, the Martin Gelinas skate redirect from Nieminen with just over four minutes left to play. 

Television replays seem to show the puck past the goalline when Nikolai Khabibulin kicks it out, a fact that could have ended the series with Gelinas notching his fourth straight series clincher.

However, there was never a pause for a review and the goal stood as inconclusive, sending the game to overtime.

The first overtime period was mostly Tampa, they out shot the Flames by a nine seven count, but couldn't get the puck into the danger paint to take advantage of their control.

The periods' best chance came when Nilson was in position to tip a high shot on Khabibulin, a chance that likely prevented Calgary Stanley Cup.

Just a half minute into the second overtime, the Lightening forced the puck deep on a Chris Simon neutral zone turnover, the puck finally winding up on Martin St. Louis's stick and into the net to force a game seven for the Stanley Cup.

Calgary, a team that has already tied the Devils' record of 10 road wins in a playoff season will look to set a new NHL record for victories away from home, while the Lightning will attempt to end their win one lose one streak at 13 games.

This is it ... one game, one trophy, one chance ... what a great season.





1) Martin St. Louis - Scored the overtime winner in a game where he continued to bounce back from pounding after pounding.

2) Marcus Nilson - Calgary's best forward on the night, could have ended it with a deft deflection attempt in the first overtime period.

3) Nikolai Khabibulin - The difference in a game that likely shouldn't have been in overtime.

Nikolai Khabibulin essentially forced a game seven himself when he got his right shoulder on a Marcus Nilson redirect in the first overtime period to keep the scored knotted at two.

Kzysz Oliwa turned some momentum Calgary's way when he rocked Martin Cibak onto his back late in the second period.

Calgary's best were simply not their best in this one, a good deal of the reason that game seven is now a reality. Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Craig Conroy, Martin Gelinas, Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold all had off nights, something that surely adds up to disaster for the Flame contingent. .... Darryl Sutter on the could have been Gelinas goal, "wasn't conclusive from my standpoint. No goal" On his thoughts going into overtime? "I thought we'd score" On picking up the pieces for game seven? "Like always, time to move on to the next game". ... The difference in this game? Special teams. The Lightning went two for four while the Flames floundered their way through three eventless powerplays. ... The Flames won 56% of the faceoffs on the night, with Marcus Nilson of all people leading the way. ... Andrew Ference, Jordan Leopold, Robyn Regehr and Jarome Iginla all played 30 plus minutes for the Flames. Daryl Sydor and Pavel Kubina did the same trick for the Lightning.


Simon Conroy Iginla 
Gelinas Nilson Nieminen 
Saprykin Yelle Clark 
Oliwa Kobasew Lowry

Regehr Montador 
Ference Lydman 
Warrener Leopold

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