Flames get an Oleg up

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET


 TAMPA, Fla. -- Oleg Somebody.

 Who are these guys?

 Oleg Saprykin joined Steve Montador and Marcus Nilson as Flames overtime heroes here last night to put Calgary one win away from carrying the Stanley Cup at home tomorrow night.

 The Calgary Flames. One win away. Oleg Saprykin. This isn't getting any easier to believe. But the last one, the one which has a chance to be remembered as the Super-kin Goal, that has provided the Flames, in this most unlikely of seasons, to do what they've never done before, carry the Cup in Calgary.

 "I think we're all pretty excited," said Jarome Iginla. "It's one win away.

 "We're going to be more desperate than ever before. We're going to enjoy this for about a half-hour, maybe, and then it's back to business. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves.

 "We're 60 minutes away to all of our dreams."

 Oleg Saprykin. Shoots left. Born in Moscow, Feb. 12, 1981. Played junior with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Calgary's first pick in the 1999 draft (11th overall). Scored the biggest goal in Flames history since Doug Gilmour scored the winning goal in Game 6 to win the 1989 Stanley Cup.

 That last line really improves the thumbnail sketch, doesn't it?

 "I just put it in," said Saprykin. "It's a great thing for everybody in the room. Everybody deserves it. It doesn't matter who got the goal."

 As with just about everything which happens this stunning Stanley Cup playoff season for the Calgary Flames, where there was a hero there was Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff lurking not far in the background.

 It was Iginla who drove to the net and created the rebound for Saprykin to put in at 14:40 of the first overtime period to give the Flames the 3-2 overtime win and 3-2 series lead heading home to Game 6 where you should know, in the 18 previous Stanley Cup final series which have been tied 2-2, the club winning Game 5 has ended up winning the series 14 times or 77.8%.

 When it comes to Stanley Cup numbers, winning four Game 5s on the road and Kiprusoff giving up the grand total of three goals in those games has to rank up there with Calgary's 10-3 record on the road this Stanley season.

 Kiprusoff has now run his record to 8-1 following a loss and with the win the Flames tie the record for most road victories in a Stanley Cup run, equalling the 1995 and 2000 New Jersey Devils. The Devils won the championship both times.

 So much has been made of Tampa Bay's record when Brad Richards scores. But the Flames are now one game away from winning the Cup with the Flames 10-1 when Iginla scores. Maybe most impressive is that the St. Albert product has 10 goals in games following Flame losses.

 The Flames gave themselves a chance to make it 13-1 when scoring the first goal of the game and didn't dilly or dally about doing it, generally a good idea in this Stanley Cup final considering Tampa went into the game at 12-2 when scoring first.

 Toni Lydman, back from a concussion after missing 17 games, returned to the lineup in place of Mike Commodore and sent a shot from the point perfectly placed for Martin Gelinas to tip through Nikolai Khabibulin's five hole at 1:43.

 Calgary absolutely dominated the first period with Khabibulin making huge saves on Iginla and Chris Simon back-to-back within seconds of the goal and save after save to follow before two Calgary defencemen fell down behind their own net in the final minute of the period and Martin St. Louis made the most of the opportunity.

 But it was St. Louis who turned the puck over late in the second period as Calgary regained the lead to end a game within the game between Iginla and Khabibulin.

 Iginla hit the crossbar to open the period, was robbed by a glove save as Calgary threw seven straight shots at the Tampa twine to open a period. At the midway mark of the period, Iginla was stopped again by the Bulin Wall.

 Iginla finally broke through as he took advantage of St. Louis's turnover and snapped a wrist shot which went in off the goalpost late in the period.

 The Flames outshot the Lightning 14-3 in the second period and had a 25-12 edge in shots for the game to that point. They'd dominated play. But again they couldn't close and it was Richards feeding Freddie Modin to tie it 2-2 in the third as it was Kiprusoff's turn to hold Tampa at bay.

 And to overtime, for the first time in the series, it went. It was Kiprusoff making huge saves on Vinnie Lecavalier and Richards failing to find a puck sitting an inch in front of the post to open it. Iginla was phenomenal inthe extra session and then Saprykin ended it.

 "It was nice to see that last one sneak by him," said Iginla.

 "Jarome found his second gear in overtime," said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter.

 "He's got something that comes from way down in there somewhere."


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