In a Game 7 likely to be determined by a bounce of the puck as much as talent and hard work, the Lightning averted falling behind during its first power play and scored on its second.
With the Lightning pressing in Calgary's end, Vinny Lecavalier passed back to Brad Richards at the left point, but the puck slid past his stick. Nikolai Khabibulin came out to swat the puck away from a hard-charging Jarome Iginla.
The postseason's best power play unit, at 21.1 percent (20-for-95), came through on its second chance. Ruslan Fedotenko's rebound of Richards' wrist shot gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
The Lightning, which entered the game 13-2 when scoring first, got a head start on becoming the first team to win two in a row in this series.
THE POSITIVE: Tampa Bay scored on 1 of 2 power plays and killed off the early part of a penalty. Calgary began the second period on the power play after Jassen Cullimore was whistled for interference.
THE NEGATIVE: A scoring chance was wasted when Martin Cibak skated into the slot as the Calgary defense backed up. He had all day to shoot. Perhaps surprised he was so open, Cibak opted for a drop pass to Cullimore, who did not convert.
KEY PLAY: Fedotenko was in the right place for a rebound, just inside the left faceoff circle.
KEY PLAYER: Before scoring, Fedotenko nearly broke through the defense for a breakaway. Midway through, Fedotenko split Jordan Leopold and Andrew Ference and lost the puck in the slot as Ference pulled him down .
Early on, the hitting picked up withlinemates Jarome Iginla and Martin Gelinas going after any black sweater they could find, particularly along the boards.
But it was the Lightning who set up the best scoring chances. Ruslan Fedotenko converted a pass from Vinny Lecavalier with a rising wrister in the slot into the upper right corner. Fedotenko's second goal of the game was his 12th of the playoffs, tying him with Brad Richards for the team lead.
THE POSITIVE: Tampa Bay increased its lead to 2-0, and the numbers were on the home team's side. The Lightning came into the game 4-0 in two-goal games and 14-1 when leading after two periods.
THE NEGATIVE: Cory Sarich, Pavel Kubina and Fredrik Modin were mugged without penalties called. Even Lecavalier was being pulled down on his pass on Fedotenko's goal.
KEY PLAY: In the 13th minute, Miikka Kiprusoff came out of the crease to his right, dropped into the butterfly to take away anything low and took Martin St. Louis' slap shot off his right shoulder. St. Louis, who scored the overtime winner in Game 6 by roofing a rebound over Kiprusoff but had only one shot in the game, had been virtually invisible up to that point.
KEY PLAYER: Lecavalier proved one does not have to score to contribute. Lecavalier, who entered with no goals in the past seven games, fought through checks and tried to set up teammates. One paid off at 14:38. Falling and twisting, he got the puck to Fedotenko in the slot for the Lightning's second goal.
The Flames cut the lead in half midway through, but Craig Conroy's power-play goal, a rising wrist shot over Nikolai Khabibulin's left shoulder, could not prevent the Lightning from winning its first Stanley Cup.
In doing so, Tampa Bay became the fifth team in the past 19 seasons to lose Game 5 but win the Cup.
It earned 40-year-old Dave Andreychuk, a 22-year veteran, his first Cup in his 1,760th NHL game.
THE POSITIVE: Tampa Bay did not lose its cool when Calgary resorted to rough play, and Khabibulin came up big. Try as they might and ripping off shots from all angles, the Flames could not get another one past Khabibulin.
THE NEGATIVE: It was a little scary throughout, especially while finishing four-on-four. The Lightning didn't remember "Safe is Death," and the period stirred memories of Game 6 against the Flyers, when a third-period lead turned into an overtime loss.
KEY PLAY: Late with Calgary pinching in and buzzing in the Lightning end, Khabibulin was brilliant in thwarting close-range bids and moving side to side. In between, Miikka Kiprusoff stuck out his left leg to stop a Vinny Lecavalier breakaway that could have restored Tampa Bay's two-goal lead.
KEY PLAYER: With the game on the line, no one came up bigger than the Bulin Wall. Khabibulin, who had his share of naysayers having never played beyond the second round, showed he can be a money goalie when it counts.