Third time's the charm

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:20 PM ET


 The Eliminator struck again.

 Only he did it a lot earlier this time.

 Martin Gelinas scored his third-straight series-winning goal last night as the Flames advanced to the Stanley Cup final with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

 Gelinas usually saves his heroics for overtime but said he couldn't bear to go through another heartstopper.

 "It's too hard on my heart," Gelinas laughed, pounding his ticker.

 "So it was nice to get it over with earlier."

 The 33-year-old's legend has grown with each series winner.

 He started in Vancouver with a Game 7 sudden-death season saver before sending the Detroit Red Wings to the sidelines with another OT winner in Game 6.

 Craig Conroy, who set up Gelinas' goal, couldn't find the words to explain how Gelinas is able to come through in the clutch time after time.

 "He's The Eliminator," smiled Conroy, who slapped the moniker on Gelinas after the Detroit series.

 "Marty's scored big goals throughout his career but none bigger than these three in Calgary."

 Captain Jarome Iginla shared the podium with Gelinas following last night's win and couldn't say enough about the 16-year veteran.

 Especially about the second-period goal on which Gelinas broke in, faked a slapshot, hesitated and slid the puck between Evgeni Nabokov's pads.

 "He's an example for us in so many ways," Iginla said. "He's the guy to watch and the guy to follow.

 "As players, as a young group, we really look up to him.

 "He says he got lucky that went in but what a move he made to fake the slapshot and go five-hole. A lot of composure in that situation, that was a great goal."

 Gelinas will be suiting up for his fourth Stanley Cup final -- with four different teams.

 This one, coming in the latter stages of his career and oh-so unexpectedly, holds special meaning to him.

 "As you get older, you appreciate more and more. My first Cup was in my first year and I took it for granted," he said of the Edmonton Oilers' 1990 championship.

 "I had another chance with Vancouver (1994) and Carolina (2002) but now as you get older and you see it might be the end of the road, you don't know how many more chances you're going to get.

 "You put everything on the line and I know my teammates will."

 "We have a great opportunity here and I'm looking forward to the challenge," Gelinas added.


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