CALGARY, Alberta (AP) _ Jarome Iginla says he'll do anything possible to
help Calgary win the Stanley Cup, even trade punches with another star. Now the
Tampa Bay Lightning will find out if there's any fight left in them.
Chris Simon put in his own rebound off Iginla's feed after a period and a
half of frantic, physical but scoreless play and Calgary's fighting Flames took
the series lead by beating Tampa Bay 3-0 in Game 3 Saturday night.
Simon and Shean Donovan scored just over three minutes apart in an uptempo
second period after Calgary, playing the first Cup final game on Canadian ice
in 10 years, was held to two shots in the first period.
Iginla scored with 1:32 remaining to seal the Flames' first final win in
Calgary since they won the Cup in 1989 and even fought with the Lightning's
Vincent Lecavalier early in the game.
``I think that fight was huge and really set the tone physically for us,''
Simon said. ``They've got a lot of skill and we know we had to establish a
Iginla insisted he didn't set out to start a fight, but liked what happened
``We didn't get a lot of shots in the first period, but we were very
physical. That carried into the second,'' Iginla said. ``... The fight is just
part of the intensity out there; everybody knows what's on the line.'
The upstart Flames, out of the playoffs for seven straight seasons until
being revived by coach Darryl Sutter, can take a 3-1 lead by winning Game 4
Monday _ but only if Tampa Bay halts its monthlong trend of following a loss
with a win.
The Lightning have alternated wins and losses for nine straight games, three
short of New Jersey's 12-game streak in 1988 _ a fitting run, too, because
Tampa Bay has usually followed a strong game with a weak one. The Lightning
evened the series by winning 4-1 in Game 2 following an uninspired 4-1 loss.
``That's the way it's been all playoffs for us,'' coach John Tortorella
said. ``We need to get the next one.''
Lecavalier understands the dangers of falling behind 3-1 to a team as
inspired as the sixth-seeded Flames.
``We have to get back (to playing) like we did the first couple of series,''
he said. ``I know it's the finals and it's tougher, but we definitely have to
be more consistent.''
Making the night even worse for Tampa Bay, forward Ruslan Fedotenko was
helped off the ice after being slammed into the boards by Robyn Regehr with
about six minutes remaining. Fedotenko, who has 10 playoff goals, looked dazed
and had a cut right cheekbone.
One trend has quickly taken hold in this surprising matchup of longtime
tail-end teams: The first team to one wins.
In all three games, the winning team has scored first and, with both teams
sensing how important that first goal would be, the game started at a frenetic
pace and stayed that way. For good reason, too; Calgary is 12-1 and Tampa Bay
11-2 when scoring first.
``You always want to get the first goal, and we didn't get it tonight,''
Tampa Bay wasted an excellent chance to take the early lead, getting more
power-play chances (3) than Calgary did shots (2) in the first period. The
Lightning power play finished 0-for-4.
Just after the Lightning's Brad Richards couldn't score on a short-handed
breakaway just past the midway point, Iginla skated down the right wing boards,
hopped over defenseman Darryl Sydor and fed Simon in the right circle. His
initial shot missed, but Simon stuffed his rebound past Nikolai Khabibulin
inside the near post. To celebrate, he slammed body-first into the boards in
Calgary was only 11-for-97 on the power play until then, a conversion rate
only about half that of Tampa Bay's. The goal ignited the Flames' Sea of Red _
the jersey-wearing crowd of 19,221 that calls itself the loudest in the league,
and it got even louder a few minutes later.
Lecavalier controlled the puck behind the Flames net and tried to throw it
in front to Fredrik Modin, but the pass went wide. Donovan gathered it just
inside the blue line, raced down ice and beat Khabibulin with a perfect shot
inside the far post at 17:09 of the second without the goalie reacting.
Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made the lead stand up, making 21 saves in
his fifth shutout, He matched Dominik Hasek (2002) and Martin Brodeur (2003) by
getting at least one shutout in each playoff round.
Before Simon and Donovan each scored their fifth goals, the play was almost
a contraction _ no scoring, very few shots, but almost continuous end-to-end
action highlighted by the Iginla-Lecavalier fight about six minutes in.