Back to Tampa

By AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:28 PM ET

 If the Stanley Cup is to come back to Canada, it will have to wait until tomorrow to do so.

 The Tampa Bay Lightning, counted out by everyone in hockey-mad Calgary, refused to be denied last night.

  After seeing the Calgary Flames twice overcome a one-goal deficit, and after being on the ropes in the first overtime, the Lightning got a goal from Martin St. Louis 33 seconds into the second overtime to force a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup final.

 Another Tampa Bay hero was Brad Richards, who scored the two power-play goals that put the Lightning in a position to be playing after regulation time.

 "On the first one, Marty threw it to me," said Richards. "It was kind of a jammy play. I was just firing at the net. Dave (Andreychuk) was in front.

 "I was trying to just throw it there and let him whack at it. I think it went off (Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's) arm and in.

 "Second one. Dave and Vinny (Lecavalier) did a good job on the boards and kept it in. I just got my stick on it and tried to shoot it right away and that was it."

 But both of those goals would have faded into obscurity had not St. Louis got his game winner.

 It started with a routine shot from the point by Tim Taylor. Jarome Iginla was racing to the point to block it, but was tripped by Jassen Cullimore and as he sprawled, Taylor took the shot.

 Kiprusoff let the rebound go out a touch too far and St. Louis raced in and roofed it.

 "I was just trying to put it on the net," said St. Louis, whose only shot of the night dashed the dreams of many Flames fans.

 "At that point in time, it's not the pretty goal that's going to win.

 I saw Tayles at the blue line shooting the puck.

 "I was waiting to see if the rebound would come. It wasn't a good angle but if you just throw it on net, you never know."

 The Flames seemed to be tentative early in the game, worried that a mistake might give the Lightning a break that would result in the all-important opening goal in a series where getting the opening goal results in victory.

 Eventually, in the second period, they made it.

 They were killing a penalty to Jordan Leopold at the time - the result of a dive by Dimitry Afanasenkov -- when Andrew Ference had plenty of time to clear the puck down the ice.

 Instead, he blasted it right at Richards' stick and a few seconds later, Richards made it 1-0.

 The Flames got that back when Ville Nieminen, with his back to the play, spun around and passed across the slot to Chris Clark who had only to redirect it into the net.

 The Lightning power play struck again less than two minutes later, but again, the Flames came back.

 They were putting the pressure on the Lightning by flipping the puck into the zone.

 Dan Boyle reached up to catch it, but the puck deflected off his glove and went to Oleg Saprykin.

 Saprykin made a lovely pass to Marcus Nilson and once again, it was simply a matter of redirecting it into the net.

 "I thought both teams played hard," Lightning coach John Tortorella said.

 "You look for a big play. Calgary is looking for a big play.

 "We're fortunate that we get one at the end. Nik makes a big save on (Martin) Gelinas (the disputed call) and all you could ask for as a coach is that your team continue to play hard and try to find a way and hope a big play comes your way.

 "We were fortunate to get that one."

 The Lightning got a pre-game boost from Raymond Bourque, who wants to see the Cup in the United States.

 He called the Lightning and urged them on, telling them that they had his support and reminding them that the Colorado Avalanche rebounded from a 3-2 deficit.

 "It meant a lot," St. Louis said. "For him to take the time out of his life and really care about us and what we're going through, it really reached us. It meant a lot.


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