Game 7 begins with Flames C Craig Conroy getting the first scoring chance as a trailer in the slot. But the shot is blocked perfectly by Bolts D Pavel Kubina.
With just 70 seconds gone in the game, Flames C Marcus Nilson is sent off for blatantly slashing LW Dmitry Afanasenkov to give the hosts a powerplay. Lightning C Vincent Lecavalier whiffs on a one-timer in the slot that amounts to the only solid chance of the man-advantage.
With nearly eight minutes gone, Lightning RW Ruslan Fedotenko takes a pass in the neutral zone from Stillman and splits the defence of D Andrew Ference and D Rhett Warrener before G Miikka Kiprusoff pokes the puck out of harm's way. The rolling puck is stopped by the Flames goaltender and is registered as the first shot of the game.
The Flames finally get their first shot of the night when D Jordan Leopold's point-shot is fired high on G Nikolai Khabibulin to cap a strong offensive shift by the No. 1 line.
With a little less than three minutes remaining, the Lightning takes advantage of an unneccesary pinch by D Toni Lydman and a wipeout by D Steve Montador when C Martin Cibak cruises into the zone and to the front of the net. But Cibak passes up the glorious chance and dishes back to D Jassen Cullimore, who can't beat Kiprusoff with the quick shot.
In the final minute of the first frame, Cullimore takes an interference penalty to put the Flames on their first powerplay of the game.
* FIRST-PERIOD STAR: RW Ruslan Fedotenko, Lightning.
The Flames continue with their first powerplay of the game to start the second period.
But the visitors never get set up in the Lightning zone and offer no challenges with the man-advantage.
Back at full-strength, the Flames keep trying to push and C Marcus Nilson unloads a quick shot that is handled by G Nikolai Khabibulin.
With the Flames attempting to up the physical part of the game, LW Martin Gelinas takes a bad penalty when he charges at D Darryl Sydor and hits him into the boards from behind.
On the ensuing powerplay, the Lightning fails to generate a quality scoring chance thanks to excellent penalty killing by RW Chris Clark and D Andrew Ference, both of whom lose their sticks during the shorthanded situation.
Midway through the period, RW Martin St. Louis knocks down a pass, takes a couple of strides and unloads a shot from inside the left-wing circle. G Miikka Kiprusoff comes out of his net and cuts down the angle.
Minutes later, C Vincent Lecavalier weaves through three Flames coming out from the corner -- using a kick-pass to himself -- then feeds RW Ruslan Fedotenko in the high slot. Fedotenko fires high to the far-side past Kiprusoff to make it a 2-0 game at 14:38 of the second period.
* SECOND-PERIOD STAR: C Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning.
The Flames' sense of urgency early in the period is slow to form and the result is a glorious chance for the Lightning 2:27 into the final frame. That's when LW Oleg Saprykin gives away the puck in the Flames zone, passing it through the middle of the ice where RW Martin St. Louis intercepts the puck, takes a couple of strides and fires a high shot that deflects off the shaft of G Miikka Kiprusoff's stick and over the net.
The Flames finally generate an opportunity to score five minutes into the final frame, when D Toni Lydman unloads a point-shot that hits G Nikolai Khabibulin high and ricochets wide. The Flames fail to score on the play but they do draw a penalty when D Nolan Pratt and LW Oleg Saprykin collide at the side of the Lightning net.
On the man-advantage, the Flames finally find the twine when D Jordan Leopold fights hard along the boards to keep the puck in the Lightning zone and C Craig Conroy scores on a perfect point-blast high past Khabibulin. The goal to cut into the Lightning lead comes with 11:39 left in regulation.
Over the final few minutes, the Flames continue to pour on furious pressure, with Leopold getting the best chance to tie the game when he jumps on a long rebound to face a wide-open net. But Khabibulin somehow gets across quickly enough to make the save of the game.
With the Flames pressing, the Bolts turn the play up-ice, where C Vincent Lecavalier breaks in alone on Kiprusoff, who comes up with a stellar save to stuff the Bolts star.
Buoyed by their goaltender's critical save, the Flames desperately attempt to press at the other end.
Instead, Calgary gets tagged with a charging penalty when D Andrew Ference smokes St. Louis into the endboards.
The call inside the final two minutes destroys any chance of the Flames evening the game.
LW Dave Andreychuk takes a late penalty to even up the skaters but it's too late for the Flames, who fall in Game 7 to lose their amazing chance at a Stanley Cup title.
* THIRD-PERIOD STAR: G Nikolai Khabibulin, Lightning.
Period by period
TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun
, Last Updated: 2:53 PM ET