Cup is calling Calgary

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:41 AM ET


 TAMPA -- The Calgary Flames are one win away from claiming the Stanley Cup.

 Thanks to Oleg Saprykin's game-winning goal at 14:40 of overtime, the Flames took the pivotal fifth game 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and hold the same edge in the series.

 The Flames will look to clinch the Cup tomorrow night at the Saddledome.

 "It's like a dream," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "It was first of all just about getting into the playoffs and experiencing that intensity and that goal and every series could have gone either way. We battled, we got some good breaks we worked hard for but this is hard to believe right now. We're one game away but we're going to get refocused and we know there's a lot of work left."

 Saprykin stunned the 22,426 fans at the jam-packed St. Pete Times Forum amidst a wild scramble.

 On a shift that seemingly lasted forever, Iginla -- helmetless due to an earlier collision -- blasted a rocket that Lightning netminder Nikolai Khabibulin blocked.

 However, Saprykin was parked on the edge of the crease and whacked home the rebound for his third post-season tally.

 "This was a tough win," said Iginla. "It was very tough out there, a lot of momentum shifts and thankfully we won.

 "It was great to see that goal go in by Ollie and the hard work and he kept on banging away."

 Though a minor detail for a club as little as 60 minutes away from the most improbable of titles, the Flames also tied an NHL playoff record with their 10th road victory.

 Twice, the New Jersey Devils have won double-digit road games en route to the Stanley Cup.

 Sutter took a huge chance a couple of days ago with his most emphatic us-against-the-world speech in the hopes of motivating his charges.

 It paid early dividends when Calgary's powerplay came through, opening the scoring slightly more than two minutes into the game.

 Toni Lydman, who returned from a concussion suffered early in the Vancouver series, sent a soft shot from the point that Martin Gelinas deflected through Khabibulin's legs. It was Calgary's first shot on goal.

 Lydman, a game-time decision, didn't look out of place on the ice.

 "The decision (to play) was made after warmup. I felt pretty good considering the time I took off," said Lydman. "The legs were there, a little rusty maybe but the adrenaline took care of that."

 With all kinds of scoring chances at both ends, it was just a matter of time before another puck lit the lamp. It happened with just 33.5 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

 Sprung on a rush because Robyn Regehr fell at the Tampa blueline, Martin St. Louis sent a backhand past Miikka Kiprusoff from the slot.

 Iginla, absolutely robbed twice by Khabibulin, restored the Flames' lead with less than five minutes remaining in the middle period.

 An errant St. Louis pass from deep in Calgary territory went through all skaters and Iginla zipped away on a one-on-one against Darryl Sydor. From the right wing, he ripped a snapper off the far post and in.

 But the Lightning tied it again with a powerplay goal just 37 seconds into the third period.

 Off the faceoff deep in Calgary territory, Brad Richards sent the puck to the front of the net for a wide-open Modin, who easily one-timed a shot past Kiprusoff. It set up a thrilling OT with scoring chances coming constantly at both ends.

 Until the goal, Tampa had a decided edge in play but Kiprusoff -- who finished with 26 saves -- kept the visitors in it until they could earn the victory.

 "You can see he never gives up on plays and we have so much confidence in him," said Iginla of Kiprusoff's performance.

 Khabibulin stopped 33 shots in taking the loss.


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