Mon, Jun 07, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Lightning strikes in double OT

STANLEY CUP FINALS Tampa Bay won it when Tim Taylor jumped on the puck at the blue line and shot it on net. The rebound went directly to St. Louis, who ended it 33 seconds into the second overtime

AP , CALGARY, ALBERTA

Dave Andreychuk, left, of the Lightning celebrates after teammate Brad Richards scored the team's first goal of the game against Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, front, during the second period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Canada, Saturday. Game 7 will now be played in Tampa Bay, today.

PHOTO: AFP

The Tampa Bay Lightning were as good as guaranteed.

Martin St. Louis, the one-time Calgary reject, knocked in a rebound in the opening seconds of the second overtime and the Lightning forced a decisive Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals by beating the Calgary Flames 3-2 Saturday night.

Brad Richards scored two power-play goals in regulation -- almost a sure sign the Lightning would win. Tampa Bay is 31-0-2 overall and 9-0 in the playoffs when Richards scores.

The Lightning now go home for a game the Flames were hoping not to play.

The Lightning won it when Tim Taylor jumped on the puck at the blue line and shot it on net. The rebound went directly to St. Louis, who ended it 33 seconds into the second overtime.

"I was just trying to get as much of the puck as I could," said St. Louis, who also set up Richards' first goal. "I saw [Taylor] shoot it and I was looking for a rebound ... it wasn't a good angle but I just wanted to put it on net."

Lightning coach John Tortorella added to the already enormous pressure on the Flames to close it out at home, essentially guaranteeing a victory while revealing his team already was planning for Game 7 Monday in Tampa.

The reverse psychology might have worked as the Lightning, who have won following each of the last seven losses, scored on their first two power plays and forced the Flames to play catch-up.

"It's been a hell of a series, and it's fitting we have a Game 7," Tortorella said.

Now, the Flames will try to avoid becoming only the second team in 33 years to squander a 3-2 series lead. The 2001 Devils are the only team since 1971 to do so, dropping their final two games to Ray Bourque's Colorado Avalanche. Bourque had gone 22 seasons without winning the Cup.

Fittingly, Bourque called Taylor on Saturday to offer advice on how to overcome a 3-2 deficit. The Lightning's Dave Andreychuk has played 1,758 games without winning the Cup, a league record

"They [the 2001 Avalanche] did it, so why couldn't we?" St. Louis said. "It meant a lot to hear from a Hall of Famer like him."

Andreychuk said, "He was willing to give us a call and let us know what the situation is ... for him to want to participate in what we're doing, well, I can just see him on the other end of the line, still being a leader."

The visiting team has won 13 of the last 16 finals overtime games, including each of the last two games in this series. Calgary won 3-2 on Oleg Saprykin's overtime goal in Game 5 Thursday in Tampa. The last seven multiple overtime playoff games have been won by the visiting team.

Tampa Bay has alternated winning and losing for 13 consecutive games, a playoff record.

After a scoreless and tentative first period, both teams opened up in the second period -- easily the most entertaining and fast-paced of the series.

Richards, who always seems to score when the Lightning most need it, twice put Tampa Bay in front with his 11th and 12th goals of the playoffs. But the Flames, desperate to avoid making the long trip back to Tampa for a win-or-else Game 7 on hostile ice, answered each time.

Richards scored on a power play with 4:17 gone as his goal line pass intended for Andreychuk deflected off goalie Miikka Kiprusoff's glove and into the net, briefly silencing the clamorous, banner-waving "Sea of Red" Saddledome crowd.

"Marty threw it down to me, so I just threw it there and let [Andreychuk] whack at it and I think it went off his arm and went in," Richards said.

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