GAME: Calgary Flames at Tampa Bay Lightning.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Stanley Cup finals; Flames lead 1-0.
TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EDT.
Playing on the road does not bother the Calgary Flames. In fact, there
doesn't seem to be anything that can get them off their game right now.
Coming off a dominant performance in the opener of the Stanley Cup finals,
the Flames look for more of the same when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning in
Game 2 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Another impressive showing from captain Jarome Iginla and another strong
performance from Miikka Kiprusoff helped the Flames to a 4-1 victory in Game 1
Iginla continued to stake his claim as the leading candidate for the Conn
Smythe Trophy, scoring his playoff-leading 11th goal short-handed while playing
a huge role in Calgary's effective penalty killing.
Iginla has goals in four straight games and has registered a point in 10 of
his last 11 contests.
"That short-handed goal was the difference for us," Flames coach Darryl
Sutter said. "That was a huge goal, a second-effort goal. He had everything
Martin Gelinas scored on Calgary's first shot of the game and Stephane Yelle
and Chris Simon also had goals for the Flames, winners of five straight road
At 9-2, Calgary is one road win shy of tying the 1995 and 2000 New Jersey
Devils - both Stanley Cup champions - as the only NHL teams with 10 road wins
in one playoff season.
"On the road, it seems like we're closer and our focus is really good,"
Yelle said. "I think it's just our preparation on the road. It has been good
all season long. When we're on the road, it seems like we're closer and our
focus is really good."
Having already stolen the home-ice advantage from the Lightning, the Flames
could take a 2-0 lead back home for the second consecutive series. They won
both games at San Jose in the conference finals, only to lose Games 3 and 4 at
the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Martin St. Louis scored a power-play goal in the third period for Tampa Bay,
which finds itself trailing in a series for the first time this postseason.
"We don't want to go to Calgary down 2-0," Lightning captain Dave
Andreychuk said. "It wouldn't be the end of the world, but we probably could
Fast starts have been one of the keys to Calgary's surprising postseason
success and that trend continued Tuesday with Gelinas' early goal.
The Flames have a 10-4 scoring advantage in the first period during the
playoffs and are 11-1 when they score first. They haven't allowed a
first-period goal in an NHL-record nine straight playoff games.
Kiprusoff finished with 23 saves, but faced very few difficult scoring
chances as his team built a 3-0 lead after two periods.
"We feel like when we're ahead we can play our game," Gelinas said.
"We've been pretty lucky to get some lucky bounces and get the first goal.
After that, we just play our defensive game."
Production from their power play is one reason whey the Lightning advanced
to the finals for the first time in their history. In Game 1, however, that
unit failed to convert on its first three opportunities and registered only one
shot. The Flames, meanwhile, had a short-handed, odd-man rush on each
Tampa Bay converted 39 percent of its power-play chances in the final six
games of the conference finals against Philadelphia, scoring on nine of 23
"Our power play has to get back to where it was against the Flyers,"
Andreychuk said. "We got some shots through against them and won some battles.
We have to do that again."
Though it's only one game, the Flames already have history on their side.
Teams that take Game 1 of the finals go on to win the Stanley Cup 78.5 percent
(51-of-65) of the time.
The series shifts to Calgary for Game 3 on Saturday.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Flames - 6th seed; beat Vancouver Canucks 4-3, West
quarterfinals; beat Detroit Red Wings 4-2, West semifinals; beat San Jose
Sharks 4-2, West finals. Lightning - 1st seed; beat New York Islanders 4-1,
East quarterfinals; beat Montreal Canadiens 4-0, East semifinals; beat
Philadelphia Flyers 4-3, East finals.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Iginla, 11 goals and 18 points; Craig Conroy,
11 assists; Simon, 53 PIM. Lightning - Vincent Lecavalier and Ruslan Fedotenko,
9 goals; St. Louis, 13 assists and 19 points; Andre Roy, 42 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Flames - Power play: 11.4 percent (10 for 88).
Penalty killing: 83.7 percent (77 for 92). Lightning - Power play: 21.1 percent
(15 for 71). Penalty killing: 89.3 percent (50 for 56).
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (13-7, 4 SO, 1.86 GAA); Roman Turek (0-0,
0.00). Lightning - Nikolai Khabibulin (12-5, 4, 1.79); John Grahame (0-0,
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 1-0. St. Louis, who split his first two
NHL seasons between the Flames and the minors before signing with the Lightning
in July 2000, had three goals and an assist to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-2 victory
Jan. 24 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Lecavalier added three assists for the