Lightning win: Will effect last?
ESPN's analysts examine Tampa Bay's effort, Calgary's inconsistency and Martin St. Louis' game-winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning came with a much better effort in Game 6 than in either of the previous two games, yet this was still a game in which the momentum surged back and forth. It looked as if Tampa Bay was going to get it done early in the first overtime because the Lightning were so dominant in the offensive zone, but then over the final minutes of the period the action was all Calgary.
The goaltending was once again outstanding, with Tampa Bay's Nikolai Khabibulin and Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff matching each other with seven saves in a scoreless third period. Khabibulin turned away seven more in overtime to get the win. Khabibulin is now 7-0 this season in games following a playoff loss.
Each team also did a great job on the other's stars. Calgary captain Jarome Iginla managed just two shots in over 30 minutes of ice time, while Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay combined for just three shots. Ultimately it was St. Louis who was able to break through, getting the game-winning goal 33 seconds into the second overtime with his only shot of the game.
You have to think the momentum now swings back in Tampa Bay's favor heading home for Game 7.
Tampa Bay has to feel good about this game, but the momentum shift does not matter. The Lightning were terrible in Game 5 at home but were the better team for most of Game 6. So in a series in which momentum seems to last about five minutes at a time, don't expect the effects of this Tampa Bay victory to carry over for 48 hours.
That being said, Game 6 was an awesome hockey game. The Lightning's Brad Richards was fantastic again, scoring Tampa Bay's first two goals on the power play and making his presence felt in overtime by being on the ice for Martin St. Louis' game-winner. How ironic was it that Jarome Iginla, Calgary's best player, failed to get the puck up the wall and out of the Flames' zone just before St. Louis ended the game?
Tampa Bay has to look at the tape from this game and try to repeat everything it did against Iginla, who was not the big factor we're used to seeing. As for Calgary, Game 6 was not a consistent effort. The Flames were not as solid as usual in the all-around game, but they did have some chances to win. They could not get it done, though, and we're headed to Game 7 for all the marbles. It doesn't get any more exciting than that.
MORE NHL HEADLINES
- Rangers win 8th straight; top 3-coach Devils
- Devils GM Lamoriello to help behind bench
- Devils' Elias, Ryder diagnosed with mumps
- Kings rely on dominant defense to top Sharks