- The Washington Times - Friday, June 4, 2004

TAMPA, Fla. — Nikolai Khabibulin kept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the game all night, but the goalie had no answer to Oleg Saprykin’s rebound of captain Jarome Iginla’s shot that gave Calgary a 3-2 victory at 14:40 of overtime of Game5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night.

The goal at the end of a terrific shift by the Flames gave them a 3-2 lead in the series, which they can end by winning Game6 and their first Cup in 15 years at home tomorrow.

“We found a second gear in overtime,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said.

As usual, Iginla found a second gear in the game after a Calgary playoff defeat. He has nine goals and five assists in the nine games in such situations. The Flames improved to 11-1 in games when he scores, as he did last night with his playoff-high 13th goal.

“When you lose, you get so much more desperate,” said Iginla, who lost his helmet during the winning shift. “When you see the momentum slipping, everyone in the room tries to rev it up. Khabibulin kept making the saves. It was great to finally see one sneak by him.”

The Flames dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Lightning 25-12 and leading them 2-1. But just six seconds after Rhett Warrener went to the penalty box for holding Vincent Lecavalier’s stick 31 seconds into the third period, Fredrik Modin tied the score from the left crease on a nifty pass from Brad Richards. The goal seemed to take all the life out of the Flames, who didn’t record a shot for the next nine minutes.

“It was tough to see that go in,” Iginla said. “It gave them some momentum.”

Lecavalier set up Martin St. Louis for a terrific chance at 9:50 and Iginla did the same for Marcus Nilson at 11:00, but neither puck found its target. Nor did shots by Iginla and St. Louis before St. Louis put one off the left post and inches from going in at 18:17.

Richards had a marvelous chance 5:05 into overtime, but the puck somehow didn’t cross the goal line when Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff lost sight of it.

“You’re not going to win the fifth game of the finals with the first 40 minutes we played,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said.

Tampa Bay was bolstered by the return from injury of right wing Ruslan Fedotenko and defenseman Pavel Kubina from injuries, but it was Calgary — minus Ville Niemenen, suspended for his late hit on Lecavalier in Game4 — that started the game with more energy.

With Modin off for high-sticking Andrew Ference, Calgary clicked on a power play after converting just three of its last 44 tries. Defenseman Toni Lydman, out since Game3 of the first round, fired an errant shot from the left point, but Martin Gelinas deftly reached out and redirected the puck through Khabibulin’s legs at 2:13.

Khabibulin soon thwarted Iginla on the doorstep before Kiprusoff slid to the right post to glove Dan Boyle’s drive at 7:24. The Flames limited the Lightning to one shot during a subsequent power play, though it was a blast from between the circles by Lecavalier that the Finnish goalie almost let trickle behind him.

Calgary did nothing after Andre Roy went off for roughing Saprykin at 13:18. Then after Khabibulin stoned Chuck Kobasew at the right post at 18:30, Calgary’s Robyn Regehr turned the puck over. St. Louis avoided the checks of Regehr and another large Flame behind the net, came out with the puck to Kiprusoff’s right and tucked it between his legs to tie the game with just 33.7 seconds left in the period.

Still, it was the Flames who came out with more fire in the second period. After Khabibulin stopped shots by Steve Montador, Chris Simon and Iginla in rapid succession at 5:34, the Flames had a 6-0 shot margin. Khabibulin made another nifty save on Chris Clark from the lower left circle at 9:55.

Finally, at 15:10, Calgary penetrated “the Bulin Wall” again. St. Louis’ pass back flew into the neutral zone, and Iginla outraced Darryl Sydor to the puck and fired it past Khabibulin’s stick and inside the left post for a 2-1 lead.

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