They're dead Wings

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:37 PM ET


 Forget just celebrating the joy of six.

 Make that absolute elation. And in extra time with another Marty Party.

 For the second time in two weeks, Martin Gelinas came through with an series-clinching overtime goal and pushed the Calgary Flames to the Western Conference finals with last night's incredible 1-0 win.

 The Flames, who'll face either San Jose or Colorado in the next round, completed the stunning upset with a 4-2 series victory over the regular-season champions.

 With 46.9 seconds remaining in the first extra session of what was a thrilling scoreless game, Gelinas was alone in front of the net and deposited a rebound into an open cage to create bedlam for the Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289.

 "Every time you get a chance to play in overtime, you get psyched up. I get psyched up," he said with permanent grin on his face. "I want to be the difference and want to be the guy who puts that in.

 "I'm sure the other guys on my team and guys on the other side do too. It's just the last few times I've been in the right place at the right time."

 No kidding.

 Having potted the clincher that sent his Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup final two years ago, he's the first player in NHL history to have ended three series with overtime tallies.

 The last two have come the same way, with good old-fashioned garbage goals.

 "We don't draw that up, that's Gelly always in those spots," said Jarome Iginla, who started the play by grabbing the puck in the corner and pushing to the front of the net.

 "He works so hard, every shift you know you're going to get absolutely everything and he won't stop whacking away."

 Nor will his teammates.

 The Flames were supposed to be gone from the Stanley Cup playoffs nearly a month ago.

 The upstart squad that hadn't been to the big dance since the spring of 1996 was supposed to be content with just making it to the second season, never mind upsetting the Northwest Division champs from Vancouver.

 Now they're the second team with ticket punched to the Final Four.

 "It feels unbelievable," Iginla said. "You start a year and work to first get into the playoffs and then it suddenly turns from 30 teams down to four. We're just gonna try to not get ahead of ourselves but we'll get back at 'er.

 "This has been a great run already but we want to keep it going."

 Certainly, there's no reason to think they'll go quietly now.

 This is the first Flames squad ever to post back-to-back shutout wins. They've dispatched the league's No.-1 seed. They're as resilient of a squad as you'll see.

 Certainly deserving of the accolades the veteran-laden squad from the Motor City was willing to hand out.

 "Hats off to them," said a dejected Kirk Maltby. "They worked extremely hard. They made the most of their chances and they got the last goal."

 A goal the Wings couldn't garner in the last two matches thanks to all-world netminding from Miikka Kiprusoff, who blocked 38 pucks.

 "There's not one hero," stated GM/head coach Darryl Sutter amidst the post-game euphoria.

 "They all did a great job."


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