Flames' top line fired up

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:52 PM ET

 Martin Gelinas, clearly frustrated, shattered his stick with a cross-check to the back of a Lightning defender.

 Leading scorer Jarome Iginla was banging his fist on the boards in front of the Flames bench as his team fell deeper behind.

  Centre Craig Conroy fumed while losing faceoff after faceoff in both ends of the ice.

 The Flames' 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 2 Thursday night was a picture of frustration for the Flames' top line, the skilled players expected to produce for Calgary to win the Stanley Cup.

 "You try to lead by example and obviously, I have to do a better job of doing so," admitted Gelinas, who has scored seven goals during the playoffs but failed to find his stride in Game 2 as Tampa tied the series.

 With 124 minutes in penalties, there wasn't much opportunity for Calgary's top line to play five-on-five while it was ineffective with the man-advantage, failing to score on four first-period chances that may have cost them the game.

 "I've got to lead the way physically, driving to the net and paying the price. When I do that, it rubs off on everybody," said Gelinas, dealt a five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct near the end of the contest.

 Tampa's best defencemen -- Pavel Kubina, Cory Sarich, Dan Boyle and Nolan Pratt -- also turned up their play from

 Game 1 as the Flames were reduced to just 19 shots on goal.

 Magnifying the misery was the performance of key Lightning players Vincent Lecavalier, Ruslan Fedotenko, Martin

 St. Louis and Brad Richards, who all found the scoresheet in Game 2.

 Tampa's best played up to their billing while also providing a physical presence and key Flames failed to respond.

 "They were very good last game ... their whole team, line after line, was going and they outplayed us. It doesn't feel good but we can be better," said Iginla, third in the playoff scoring race behind St. Louis and Brad Richards.

 "Our powerplay had chances but we didn't capitalize. We weren't sharp enough on it and it's something we'll work at," said Iginla.

 "We've had games where we haven't played as we wanted to all playoffs and we've had powerplays that weren't good. We've also had some big powerplay goals."

 Although the Lightning's offensive talent in Game 2 was expected, its physical play surprised some -- but not Flames coach Darryl Sutter.

 "You don't win the Eastern Conference by accident," Sutter said.

 "There's some big, strong teams over there that they've stared down and shot down.

 "You get into those stereotypes where (people say) this team is just a fast team or a skilled team, skating team or whatever.

 "Once you see them play consistently, you know they're able to play however the other team wants and Tampa is certainly capable of that."

 As the series continues and wounds fester, Sutter expects more of the same rugged play from both sides.


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