From MOP Squad Sports

Calgary Flames
Flames extend Cupless streak to 15 years with lackluster Game 7
By GREG HARRIS, MOP Squad Staff Writer
Jun 8, 2004 - 9:01:00 PM

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. With the Flames just 60 minutes away from the second Stanley Cup in team history? they totally crapped out!

The Flames finished the game with a mere 15 shots, ten of which came in the third period. And while Tampa Bay had only 17 shots, they got a couple of goals from Ruslan Fedotenko to beat the lackluster Flames team by a score of 2-1.

While Miikka Kiprusoff didn't play too badly and the forwards cycled the puck adequately, the team's best scoring chance in the first period came from Krissy Oliwa. That's saying something about the team's efforts, and it's sure not good!

The Lightning opened the scoring in the first period after Oleg Saprykin was sent off for tripping in a play similar to one that occurred in game 6 when Nolan Pratt took out Chris Simon, without penalty, of course. Kerry Fraser's anti-Calgarian stance hurt the Flames once again, although the team can't blame the officiating for the weak goal that was scored by Fedotenko. Kiprusoff stopped the initial shot by Brad Richards, but the defense did a terrible job of clearing the net, allowing the Russian midget to pounce on the rebound and pot his eleventh postseason goal.

With the way they were playing in the first period, the Flames would've been beaten by the Disney Stars On Ice. (After all, that Goofy has a wicked hard slap shot!) Fortunately, the score was just 1-0 for the Lightning after the first period, and the Flames were still in the game.

In fact, the Lightning wouldn't strike again until late in the second period. Once again it was Fedotenko, left wide open in the slot, firing a shot into the top corner for his twelfth goal of the playoffs. It would end up being the game winner.

After giving up the second goal, the Flames looked even deader than before, if that was possible. Somehow, you just knew that the team wouldn't be able to score the three goals needed to win the game. And they didn't.

The Flames did get a much needed powerplay midway through the third period, though. Desperately needing to score, the penalty to Nolan Pratt was key, and fortunately, the Flames were able to convert. After Jordan Leopold made a good play to keep the puck in at the line, he got it over to Craig Conroy, who fired a long shot past a screened Nikolai Khabibulin and into the net.

The goal gave the Flames life, and they continued to pressure Tampa for the rest of the game, managing 8 of their 15 shots in the last 10 minutes. While they did get a few good chances, however, the team wasn't able to convert, and the final score ended up being two to one.

Afterwards, the Floridian fans celebrated like they had won the Super Bowl. After all, they never watched hockey until the playoffs and probably didn't know the difference anyways. With any luck, that team will be in Winnipeg next year, and the Flames will be playing for the Cup again before 2019. However, we're more likely to see an expansion team in Jacksonville, and the Flames balking at giving Saint Miikka a much deserved raise, instead opting to have Roman Turek and Jarome Iginla lead the team into oblivion for the next seven years. But hey, like the papers all said this morning, it was fun while it lasted?

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