Lightning win Stanley Cup
There's celebration in Tampa, disappointment in Calgary. The Lightning have won the Stanley Cup, putting an end to the remarkable playoff run of the Flames.
The Lightning took game seven of the NHL final 2-to-1 to capture their first-ever championship. For Tampa captain Dave Andreychuk it was the crowning achievement of a 22-year NHL career.
"I couldn't put into words what's going on," said Andreychuk after the game. "It's awesome."
Ruslan Fedotenko scored both Lightning goals; his 11th goal of the post-season in the first period, his 12th in the second. It turned out to be the eventual winner.
Brad Richards of Murray Harbour, P.E.I., was named Conn Smythe winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs. The Tampa forward had a record-setting seven game-winning goals in the playoffs and a total of 26 points.
Calgary fought hard and got a power play goal in the third period from Craig Conroy. But that's as close as they came.
|* Coverage from CBC Sports|
In Calgary there was a collective sigh as the city's hockey heroes lost their first playoff round of the year. But there were also loud cheers for a team that achieved much more than had been expected of them.
The Calgary team went into the playoffs as decided underdogs, but knocked off the top three teams in their conference, including the powerful Detroit Red Wings, before meeting the eastern champions, who finally knocked the western team off their perch.
|* Coverage from CBC Calgary|
But along the way the Flames tied the record of 10 wins on the road in the post-season and after Toronto and Montreal bowed out in the second round, they became the favourites of many Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
With the NHL facing a possible labour dispute that could shut down its 2004-2005 season, the league must have been hoping for a thrilling end to this season to boost disappointing TV ratings in the U.S. It got its wish.
The series had more ups and downs than a roller coaster ride. Through the first six games neither team could manage two wins in a row; two games were decided in overtime.
Both teams were backstopped by incredible goaltenders; Miikka Kiprusoff for Calgary and Nikolai Khabibulin for Tampa Bay. Each had spectacular playoff runs, with both men recording five shutouts, and unbelievably stingy goals against averages.
The players may have been nervous heading into game seven, but so were many fans. Don Hardy, the head of the Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Club, was feeling the pressure. "I mean I've lost weight, I don't feel good, I'm running a fever. I mean I'm not a hockey player but I'm so much into the game it's exhausting me."
Even though they lost, the city of Calgary says it will hold a parade through the city on Wednesday to honour the Flames.