Lightning, in a Cup
Fedotenko's second goal late in the second period staked the Lightning to a 2-0 lead. But it wasn't a comfortable margin, at least not by the middle of third period, when Calgary's Craig Conroy made it a 2-1 game with a power-play goal.
Conroy's score inspired the Flames, who ratcheted up the pressure considerably on Khabibulin from that moment on. The Tampa Bay goaltender thwarted a number of dangerous scoring chances, the best of which came off the stick of Flames defenseman Jordan Leopold. But Khabibulin was there.
Lecavalier could have iced the game for Tampa with three minutes remaining, when he skated in alone on a breakaway. But Kiprusoff (13 saves) was there with an outstanding pad save. Flames defenseman Andrew Ference was assessed a penalty for charging moments later, after crushing St. Louis along the boards. The penalty all but snuffed out the Flames' hopes.
Fedotenko was the least likely of heroes, considering his physical condition. He had struggled since missing Game 4 with a suspected concussion suffered in the previous game after being shoved face-first into the boards by Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr.
Then Fedotenko was cut over his left eye by a high stick early in the first period. But he refused to leave the bench to get his face mended, not wanting to leave the game. He returned to the ice six minutes later to score his first goal. He received six stitches between periods.
Fedotenko's two scores gave him 12 for the postseason, five short of the number he accumulated in 77 regular season games.
Once the nerves on both benches settled, it didn't take long for the Lightning to strike. Fedotenko gave the Lightning a 1-0 victory with a power-play goal at 13 minutes 31 seconds of the first period. Fedotenko slipped Regehr in front of the net, then swatted in a rebound off the pads of Kiprusoff, who was still sprawled on the ice after stopping Richards's shot from the point through traffic.
It was Tampa Bay's seventh power-play score of the finals.
Fedotenko's second score was a thing of beauty. Lecavalier, one of the game's most creative stick-handlers, danced past a trio of Calgary players -- Steve Montador, Marcus Nilson and Toni Lydman -- then back-handed a pass out to Fedotenko between the circles. Fedotenko ripped a perfectly placed slap shot into the upper corner, over Kiprusoff's glove.
"We're winners," St. Louis said. "Nothing can describe how it feels to be the last team standing."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company