From MOP Squad Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning
Close, but no cigar; Flames lose Game 6 in double OT
By GREG HARRIS, MOP Squad Staff Writer
Jun 6, 2004 - 8:31:00 PM

It's like the Vancouver series all over again. Flames outwork their opponents in game 6, tie the game, and outplay them throughout the extra frame, but lose on a goal right at the start of a multiple overtime period. Of course, the Flames came back to win that series in seven games. And considering their domination this series in Tampa, it looks like that will happen again, which means that the Flames will set a new playoff record for road victories.

The game was pretty slow in the early going, as neither team was able to get a goal in the first period. The Lightning opened the scoring early in the second, however, as Brad Richards got a goal on the powerplay from behind the blue line. Richards threw a centering pass in front that bounced off of the stick of Miikka Kiprusoff, and made it into the net.

Halfway through the period, the Flames tied things up, when Chris Clark scored from the front of the net off of a great pass from Ville Niemenen. Niemenen was back in the lineup for the Flames after serving a one game suspension. He took the place of Shean Donovan, who was injured in game 5.

Less than two minutes after Clark's goal, however, the Lightning regained the advantage when they had another powerplay. Once again, it was Richards with the goal after a defensive miscue by the Flames. Three Calgary penalty killers went to the boards to battle for the puck, and while it went back to Marcus Nilson, he lost the puck, and it ended up on Richards' stick. Tampa has never lost this season when Richards scores, and now that he had two goals, things didn't look good for the Flames.

Nilson made up for his defensive miscue by scoring the game winning goal with just a couple minutes left in the second. Oleg Saprykin jumped on the puck after it was batted down by Dan Boyle, went to the net, and surprised everybody and their babouchkas - by passing the puck! Saprykin (whose Russian rap single "Should I Pass? No! Should I Deke? No! Should I Shoot? Yeah!" is the greatest song rapped by a hockey player since Guy Lafleur's Scoring. He just hasn't recorded it yet?) rarely ever passes, so Nilson was left wide open in front with everybody anticipating the shot. Saprykin actually made a nice pass, however, and Nilson tied the game at 2.

The score would remain 2-2 throughout the third period, and the first overtime, despite each team getting a couple good scoring chances. The Flames definitely controlled play for those 40 minutes however, eventhough there wasn't much of a difference in the shots on goal. But, as is the case with overtime, one lucky shot can end the game, and that's what happened early in the second extra session.

Less than a minute into the second overtime period, the Flames collapsed defensively yet again. They couldn't get the puck out around the boards, and gave the puck away to Tim Taylor at the left point. Taylor's shot deflected off of Brad Richards and was stopped by Kiprusoff, but the rebound went straight to Martin St. Louis, who was left alone beside the goal. St. Louis lifted the puck up over Saint Miikka, and the game was over.

Eventhough the Flames lost the game, nobody in Calgary really needs to panic. Considering how they've stolen two games from Tampa on the road, and really outplayed the Lightning for most of game 6, the Flames really look to be in good position to take game 7, as long as the bounces (and the penalty calls) go their way.

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