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Game 3: period by period

Period 1: More punches than shots

STEVE LEE
Published May 30, 2004

As expected of teams that traded 4-1 wins, rough play marked the early going with Vinny Lecavalier and Jarome Iginla, the best players for each team in the first two games, squaring off at 6:17. That gave the teams six fighting majors in this series, the most since Montreal beat Calgary for the 1986 Cup.

Tampa Bay entered 5-2 on the road and 3-0 this year in Game3s (6-0 all-time). Calgary came in 4-5 at home and 1-2 in Game3s. Neither team scored, but give the Lightning the upper hand with a 5-2 shot advantage. More important, Tampa Bay did not back down from the rough stuff.

THE POSITIVE: The Lightning defense quieted a raucous pregame crowd by stifling the Flames offense. Calgary mustered two shots, none in the last eight minutes.

THE NEGATIVE: The Lightning entered 2-for-14 on the power play in this series. It got worse in this period with Tampa Bay going 0-for-3 to extend that dubious run to 2-for-17.

KEY PLAY: Nikolai Khabibulin's swipe of the puck out of his zone with Tampa Bay on a late power play was much bigger than it seemed. Unlike Game1, when Iginla scored on a short-handed breakaway as Khabibulin stayed back, the Lightning netminder skated out to avoid a similar scenario.

KEY PLAYER: Lecavalier, the best player on the ice in Game2, showed again that he could be a physical force. He stood up to Iginla, who goaded Lecavalier with a punch when both were behind the net, and landed a few shots on the Calgary captain when the fight moved out front.

Period 2: Flames answer the call

In the first half of the period, the teams fell into a defensive battle. Then Brad Lukowich's slashing penalty changed everything.

Miikka Kiprusoff made a save on Brad Richards' short-handed breakaway by stopping the puck with the shaft of his stick. Moments after that, Chris Simon banged in a power-play goal. Jarome Iginla clanged a shot off the left post before Shean Donovan gave Calgary a 2-0 lead on an odd-man rush.

Calgary, 9-0 when leading after two periods, got the crowd back into the game.

THE POSITIVE: Though they were not converted, the best scoring chances before the halfway point belonged to Tampa Bay. Modin got the puck alone in the slot and had all day to line up a wrist shot that Kiprusoff got his glove on. Then came Richards' short-handed breakaway that Kiprusoff denied.

THE NEGATIVE: Lukowich's penalty on Donovan proved costly in more ways than one. Simon scored and the momentum swung Calgary's way with the Flames swarming in the Lightning end and adding another goal.

KEY PLAY: Simon's goal, his fifth, ignited the Flames. He got the puck near the right faceoff circle and got off three shots. Modin blocked the first, Nikolai Khabibulin blocked the second, but the last one found the back of the net.

KEY PLAYER: Donovan led the Flames' charge. He broke into the Lightning zone and drew the slash from Lukowich. Later, Donovan broke in on Khabibulin in a 2-on-1 with Chuck Kobasew and beat the Lightning goalie high glove-side for a 2-0 lead.

Period 3: Flames finish it off

With the Flames enjoying a two-goal cushion, Jarome Iginla redirected a Robyn Regehr centering pass for his playoff-leading 12th goal. That led the host team to a 3-0 win and 2-1 series lead.

Calgary became the first Canadian team to win a Cup final game at home in 10 years (Vancouver beat the Rangers 4-1 in Game 6 on June 11, 1994).

The Flames also evened their home playoff mark at 5 and gave the Lightning its first Game 3 loss (6-1 all time, 3-1 this season).

Tampa Bay joins Montreal and Toronto with 10 alternating playoff wins.

Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff played a huge role and has five shutouts. The former San Jose backup is the third goalie with at least one shutout in four rounds, joining New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (2003) and Detroit's Dominik Hasek (2002).

THE POSITIVE: Trying to jump-start the offense, Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella sent out Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards. The Lightning picked it up some in this period after a sluggish second.

THE NEGATIVE: Tampa Bay trails in the series in large part due to an ineffective power play. That unit failed to convert in four tries and is 0-for-18.

KEY PLAY: With the Lightning swarming in Calgary's end, Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener covered the puck with his glove while it was in the crease. Though that should have merited a penalty shot, it was not called.

KEY PLAYER: Kiprusoff improved to 7-1 after a playoff loss and 5-0 after allowing four goals in a postseason game.

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