Flames Claim Pivotal Game Three 

Iginla's Howe Hat-trick Leads Way 

May 29th, 2004

In a classic case of a save at one end leading to a landslide at the other, the Calgary Flames used a second period momentum turning Miikka Kiprusoff breakaway stop to blow open their 3-0 Stanley Cup finals victory over Tampa last night in front of 19,222 delirious fans at the Saddledome.

With a grinding, physical game still scoreless in the last half of the second period, Brad Richards broke in alone on Kiprusoff shorthanded, rifling a puck that seemed destined for the top corner before the Flames netminder flashed out his arm for a blocker save.

Seconds later, Calgary rocketed up the ice, Jarome Iginla leaping over a falling Darryl Sydor and sliding the puck to a charging Chris Simon at the foot of the goal crease, the latter needing three whacks before beating Nik Khabibulin at 13:53 and sending himself and the entire city into fits of delirium.

"It was like a 30-second game," said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter. "Kipper stops Richards on the breakaway and then we go down and score. That's the game."

Minutes later, the Lightning visibly rattled, Shean Donovan broke in on Khabibulin on a two on one, Chuck Kobasew providing the distraction as Donovan rang a brillian shot off the post and in for a 2-0 Calgary edge.

Jarome Iginla would later add a second Calgary powerplay goal late in the third period to put the game away.

The victory gave Calgary a 2-1 edge in the best of seven series, the 14th victory of the post-season for Calgary, only two short of the maximum 16 needed to win the Stanley Cup, a remarkable position to be in for a team that might well become the lowest seeded champion to ever claim hockey's ultimate prize.

This was a game where Calgary invested time early on in imposing its physical presence on Tampa, the latter willing combatants but probably ill-equipped to play the type of style that's right in the Flames wheelhouse.

"It was a good game for us," Iginla said in the post game scrum. "The first period we had only two shots, but at the same time they had five, but we got back to playing our style of game. I think every single guy was ready physically and even though we only had a couple of scoring chances, we had a good period that set the tone for the game."

Iginla himself challenged the star of game two, Vincent Lecavalier, to a brawl only six minutes into the game, the latter a willing participant but fading to obscurity afterwards just as Iginla ratcheted up his game to yet another level.

In fact, it was Lecavalier's ill-fated pass up the centre of the ice that was intercepted by Donovan and eventually led to the backbreaker for Calgary in the second period.

With the Tampa forwards fading from the pounding, Lightning defencemen began to be exposed to Calgary's swift forecheck, the beginning of the end for the visitors, the Flames grabbing Tampa by the throat and squeezing the life out of them the rest of the way.

"They just kept coming," said Tampa forward Dave Andreychuk.

"It was pretty physical out there in the first period. In the second it seemed like we were late on every puck," said Lightning defenceman Dan Boyle. "We seemed like a bunch of guys who just wanted to get rid of the puck. The second period wasn't our best."

Calgary seems to be finally channelling the energy of its fanatical fans to productive use, the victory the second in a row in impressive fashion on home ice and evening Flames post-season record at the Saddledome at 5-5.

If there was ever a time to finally begin dominating on home ice, this is it, with another tilt on Monday that could give Calgary a 3-1 stranglehold they would be unlikely to reliquish.

In stopping all 21 shots he faced, Kiprusoff established a Flames record with his fifth post-season shutout, only the fourth goalie in NHL history to do so, joining Martin Brodeur (7), Dominik Hasek (6) and Jean Sebastien Giguere (5).

The much-maligned Calgary power play connected twice in this game, including the eventual game winner by Simon.

It is somewhat ironic that the Flames power play has been so brutalized by analysts when they've now outscored the vaunted Lightning extra man unit by a two to one margin in this series.

"We put pressure on ourselves and the guys out there," said Iginla. "We know last game we had four power plays in the first [period] in a 1-0 or 0-0 game, and we didn't get it done. But at the same time, once the game is done, we try to learn from it."

"Tonight was a huge goal for our confidence on the power play, and confidence is a big part of it."

Tampa's eight game streak of scoring at least one power play goal was snapped.

"We can't let this happen again," said Tampa defenceman Jassen Cullimore. "The season is not very long right now.

"If you don't grasp it while you're here, you are going to look back and regret it."

Sounds like a guy who should get used to disappointment.

Next up, game four in Calgary. The Stanley Cup finals. Two more wins to go. Two more victories for Team Destiny. But the two most difficult of all.





1) Miikka Kiprusoff - It ain't how many you make but when you make them and that was never more true than his huge save on Richards on a breakaway in the second period.

2)Jarome Iginla - The Gordie Howe hat trick in leading his team again.

3)Robyn Regehr - One of many Flames defenders who could have been pointed out in this game, but extends his point streak to four games and provided a physical tone all night.

No doubt about this one, Richards breaking in off the wing alone to drift a riser that Kiprusoff put his blocker on. Seconds later, the Flames were up 1-0. But how about that glove deflection of a Fredrik Modin shot earlier in the period with the Lightning on a two on zero.

It might be impossible to pick a single hit from the physical first period where Rhett Warrener staggered Ruslan Fedotenko at the Calgary blueline early in the game, where Ville Nieminen torched a low-riding Cory Stillman with his hip at centre ice, where Corey Sarich levelled Stephane Yelle with a solid shoulder at centre and where Yelle himself sent Brad Lukowich cartwheeling behind the Tampa net.

"Prime Minister Inspires Flames to Victory." That's probably the headline Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin was hoping to see this a.m. after his locker room visit to the Flames a few days ago. No such luck. . . . . . Tampa continues to dominate the faceoff circle in this series, winning 57% of the draws last night and led by Lecavalier's 66%, Andreychuk's 61% and Tim Taylor's 55%. Wow. Marcus Nilson tried to save Calgary with an unremarkable 50%. . . . . . Speaking of Nilson, Corey Stillman admitted it was Nilson who warned him on the first shift of Game two in Tampa that he was going to fight sometime during the night, this after Stillman's cheapshot elbow to Nilson's head in game one. . . . . . Andrew Ference led the Flames with 25:27 in ice time while Jordan Leopold, singled out by coach Sutter as a deadbeat after indifferent performances in games one and two, rebounded with 23:56 and an assist. Richards led the Lightning with 24:08 and six shots . . . . Calgary directed only 18 shots on Khabibulin, matching closely the 19 they put on the Tampa netminder in each of games one and two.

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

Regehr Montador 
Ference Commodore 
Warrener Leopold

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