Coach Tortorella expects Lecavalier's best

Updated: June 7, 2004, 12:59 AM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning needed more from their top players to push the Stanley Cup finals to a seventh game, and that's just what they got.

Martin St. Louis had a goal and assist in a 3-2 victory in double overtime on Saturday night, and Brad Richards added two power-play goals and an assist on St. Louis' goal.

"It's the most important goal I've scored for sure," St. Louis said Sunday. "I've scored some nicer ones, but this is the one that matters the most."

St. Louis didn't take a shot in the game until ending it 33 seconds into the second overtime.

Richards, who had no goals and five assists in 11 playoff games last year, has the NHL lead with 25 in this postseason. That's one more than St. Louis, the regular-season scoring champ, and three more than the Calgary Flames' scoring machine, Jarome Iginla.

Now the Lightning just need to get Vincent Lecavalier going. He has struggled in this physical series against the Flames and has only two assists in six games.

"I expect his best game," coach John Tortorella said. "You have got to give Calgary credit in some checking he's been through. Vinny still has one more game."

Pressure packed

There was much talk before Game 6 as to which team was really under pressure.

Was it the top-seeded Lightning, who entered the game in Calgary one loss away from elimination? Or was it the upstart Flames, who had a chance to win the Cup on home ice?

Now that Tampa Bay has forced Game 7, some assessments were made on the last off day of the finals.

"The team that's down by 3-2, it's always easier for them coming into the game and meet the challenge," Flames forward Ville Nieminen said. "All the pressure was on us. Nobody has the pressure right now."

The Flames are 10-3 away from home in the playoffs, and if they win the Cup they will set the NHL record for road wins in one postseason.

Overtime woes

Miikka Kiprusoff's overtime scoreless streak was snapped at 77 minutes, 13 seconds when Martin St. Louis won Game 6 for Tampa Bay in double overtime.

Calgary has won five straight overtime games since falling in triple overtime to Vancouver in Game 6 of the first round.

Game 7 heaven

The Flames and Lightning will play the 13th seventh game in Stanley Cup finals history on Monday night.

Following New Jersey's 3-0 home victory over Anaheim in 2003, the championship will be decided in a seventh game in consecutive years for the first time since 1964-65.

"When you're growing up, that's what it was. Street hockey, everywhere. No one talks about Game 4, no one thinks about sweeping. It's always Game 7, right down to the wire," Flames forward Craig Conroy said. "That's the difference, and that's what makes it exciting."

The odds are in the host Lightning's favor as home teams are 10-2 in the previous 12 Game 7s. Montreal was the last road team to win the decisive game away from home, in Chicago in 1971.

"We fought for the home-ice advantage all year long, and it's nice that we got to experience Game 7 in the last series," Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said.

Familiar scene

It would be understandable if Flames forward Rhett Warrener had enough of disputed goals in the crease during the Stanley Cup finals.

Warrener was on the wrong end for the second time in his career Saturday night. A puck hit off the skate of teammate Martin Gelinas, and one television replay appeared to show that it sneaked across the goal line before Bolts goalie Nikolai Khabibulin got his pad on it.

Neither referee signaled goal, and the red light above the net wasn't turned on. So, those on the ice didn't know that a controversy was under way.

Warrener was a member of the Buffalo Sabres in 1999 when they lost the Stanley Cup in triple overtime of Game 6 on a goal that was scored by Dallas' Brett Hull, who was in the crease.

Video replay didn't help Warrener then, and it didn't help him this time, either.

"I've been told by the league that they check everything," Warrener said Sunday. "This one is a little different. The refs didn't signal it, the goal judge never signaled -- so why would you review the play?

"I've been involved in other ones where a bit of a red flag is raised. This one is a nonfactor."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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