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Greatest Games: Tampa Bay Lightning – High Drama In Cup Final

A late no-goal gave life to the Lightning, and a franchise hero delivered in double overtime.

No. 1 – June 5, – Tampa Bay 3, Calgary 2 (2OT)

Martin St-Louis silenced a nation and stunned the ‘Sea of Red’ with one swoop off the left-wing boards. With the Stanley Cup inside the Saddledome in the event of a Flames victory, the Lightning cancelled the party with a double-overtime victory in Game 6 of the 2004 NHL final.

Tampa Bay went into the game trailing the series 3-2 – putting Canada on the cusp of its first Cup since 1993 – before skating away with the most dramatic win in team history.

Tampa Bay and Calgary were tied 2-2 through two periods in Game 6, setting the stage for a furious finish. Flames fans were ready to erupt in celebration with 6:57 left when the puck deflected off Martin Gelinas’ skate and appeared to cross the goal line. The on-ice officials, however, ruled the puck didn’t enter the net. No goal. There was no video review at the time.

That set the scene for St-Louis, who was in the right place deep in the Calgary zone on the opening shift of the second OT period. As the Flames’ Jordan Leopold sent the puck along the left boards, Jassen Cullimore pinched to disrupt play. Tim Taylor covered at the blueline and sent a shot toward the net that was tipped by Brad Richards before Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made the save. But the rebound came to St-Louis, who lifted the puck over Kiprusoff before being mobbed by teammates.

While it was Ruslan Fedotenko who was the hero with a pair of goals two nights later in a Game 7 win that allowed the Lightning to lift the Cup, it was St-Louis who provided the signature moment in Game 6.

No.2 – April 20, 2003 – Tampa Bay 2, Washington 1 (3OT)
Martin St-Louis scored in triple overtime and Nikolai Khabibulin made 60 saves as the Lightning rallied past Capitals for its first playoff series victory.

No. 3 – April 21, 1996 – Tampa Bay 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT)
The franchise’s first home playoff game put Alex Selivanov into Lightning lore when his OT goal gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 series lead against top-ranked Philly.

GREATEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME

Nikolai Khabibulin
April 20, 2003 – Lightning 2, Capitals 1 (3OT)
In the first playoff series victory in Lightning history, Khabibulin lived up to his nickname: ‘The Bulin Wall’ made a franchise-record 60 saves in a triple-overtime nail-biter.

Only a Peter Bondra power-play goal in the second period would get past Khabibulin, as he turned aside double-digit shots in each of the first five periods, including 25 combined in the first two overtime periods, before St-Louis won it in the third OT session. Dating back to 1955-56, it is one of 20 instances in NHL history that a goalie has 60-plus saves in a playoff game.

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