Lightning recharged!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 4:26 PM ET

 CALGARY -- Did the Calgary Flames win the Stanley Cup here last night?

 Did Canada's Team get hosed out of what should have been the game-winning goal?

  Was Martin Gelinas robbed of a spot in history as the only player to score series-winning goals in all four rounds of the playoffs to win the Cup?

 Late in the third period of Game 6 here last night, a puck deflected off the skate of the ex-Edmonton Oiler and into the net.

 NHL executive VP Colin Campbell and director of officiating Andy VanHellemond ruled that video evidence was inconclusive, but in the press box on the other side of the ice, the ABC TV replay looked conclusive to more than a few sets of eyes.

 Controversy should be swirling today, but an unexpected source threw water on it last night.

 Flames head coach and GM Darryl Sutter has had the conspiracy theories going in this series, making several accusations in several different directions after Game 4. But he didn't go there after this one.

 Was it a goal?

 "No,'' said Sutter.

 "No, that has to be inconclusive.''

 In the end, after two overtimes, it was former Flame Martin St. Louis who won it to send the series back to Tampa for Game 7.

 St. Louis scored his second overtime goal of the playoffs to make it two straight Stanley Cup finals to go to a seventh game 33 seconds into the second overtime.

 "I thought we had the big play tonight. I thought that was it on the Gelinas play. I thought that was going to be the goal. St. Louis was really quiet all night and scores to win it,'' said Sutter.

 "We got it done tonight and now we've got a chance in Game 7,'' said St. Louis.

 "I was just trying to put it on net,'' added the official hero.

 "At that point, it's not a pretty goal that's going to win.''

 BEST PLAYER CAME THROUGH

 St. Louis said it was a situation where your best players have to come through.

 "We're getting the most ice time,'' he said. "We have to make the difference. It comes down to the best players getting it done offensively. I think we did that tonight.''

 The Flames were the totally uptight team Tampa coach John Tortorella had tried to talk them into becoming with his "the Stanley Cup is in the building and all of Canada is counting on them to win'' comments on the eve of the game.

 The way the Flames couldn't manufacture anything resembling a chance for the better part of a period and a half, it looked like a lock that the second year in a row the Stanley Cup final would be going seven.

 Then there was the first goal wins factor. It's been the story of the series, the playoffs and, indeed, the season. When Tampa Bay took the lead with Jordan Leopold in the penalty box four minutes into the second period, it looked like back to Tampa Bay we'd go.

 It wasn't just the first goal factor, with Tampa Bay and Calgary a combined 25-3 in the playoffs when that occurs, there was also the Brad Richards factor at play.

 The Lightning were 30-0-2 during the regular season and playoffs when Richards scored and 8-0 in the post-season. The centre from Murray Harbour, P.E.I., had already set the Stanley Cup record with seven playoff game-winning goals.

 Chris Clark tied it up for the Flames at mid-period but Richards, again on the power play, made it a double whammy a little more than a minute later.

 Weird the way it worked. It was like a double dose of adversity freed the Flames of the condition which was constricting their game. Or maybe it was more that the Lightning lost their legs.

 Whatever, Marcus Nilson made it 2-2 late in the second. The Flames then survived a pair of power plays early in the third and started winning all the little battles and had the crowd standing sensing the Stanley Cup goal was coming up in short order.

 So, it went to overtime with the Flames waiting to find out who would join Bob Nystrom, Jacques Lemaire, Uwe Krupp, Brett Hull and Jason Arnott as guys who scored overtime series-winning goals.

 LET'S PLAY FIVE PERIODS!

 And then it went to a second overtime.

 But just before midnight eastern, with dozens of deadlines in Ontario and Quebec, St. Louis put the rebound off a shot from the point by Tim Taylor behind Miikka Kiprusoff to live for another day.

 So the first goal factor lives. Tampa Bay is now 13-2 when scoring first.

 The Brad Richards factors live. Tampa is now 31-0-2 when Richards scores - 9-0 in the playoffs.

 And the win-lose factor still lives for the Lightning who won Games 1-3-5-7 in the Philadelphia series and 2-4-6 in this series.

 But now comes the Game 7 factor.

 It's the 12th time in NHL history that a Stanley Cup final goes to a seventh game and the home team is 9-2 overall.

 If the Flames are going to win their second Stanley Cup it's going to have to come on the road like the first one.

 "They've seen us lose a lot of games here and they've seen us win a lot of games here,'' said Sutter.

 "Move on. It's that simple,'' he added.

 Tortorella says it's all down to one game now and that game is in Tampa Bay.

 "It's great. It will be a great experience. Game 7 in the final. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the players. We're not going to tippy-toe, we're going to dive in.''

 "We got it done tonight and now we've got a chance in Game 7,'' said St. Louis.

 "Move on. It's that simple,'' said Sutter.

 "Game 7 is a great thing for a player,'' said Tortorella. "We're not going to tippy-toe, we're going to dive in.''


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