TAMPA, Fla. Thanks to Jarome Iginla's stamina and Oleg Saprykin's second effort, the Calgary Flames are one victory away from a Stanley Cup their coach insists nobody outside of Canada wants them to win.
Saprykin scored his first goal in 18 games off a rebound of Iginla's shot 14:40 into overtime, giving the underdog Flames a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals Thursday night.
Calgary, a long shot just to make the playoffs, leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 and can win its first Cup since 1989 and Canada's first since Montreal in 1993 at home Saturday night. Only one team in 33 years has blown a 3-2 finals lead, the 2001 New Jersey Devils against Ray Bourque's Colorado Avalanche.
''We're all excited, it's one win away, but we know how desperate they are going to be,'' Iginla said. ''We plan on being pretty desperate, too, seeing that we're 60 minutes away to all of our dreams.''
With players from both teams badly fatigued after a lengthy sequence in which neither team could make a line change, Iginla threw the puck on net and Saprykin, firmly planted in front, put in the rebound along the right side of the net.
''The guys worked so hard and every guy deserved it,'' said Saprykin, who hadn't scored since Game 6 of the first round against Vancouver.
Iginla stayed on the ice despite losing his helmet while nearly scoring just before Saprykin did.
''I didn't know where the puck was, (Marcus) Nilson kept it alive and made a great pass to me. He was going to shoot but he saw me,'' Iginla said. ''Oleg was banging away in there right in front and he deserved the goal.''
The goal came just as the Lightning were trying to make that badly needed line change.
''The goal was a bit of a mistake,'' Chris Dingman said. ''We didn't have all of our guys out there. It's unfortunate to lose a game that way. It's pretty disheartening.''
The Flames excelled again in a Game 5 they are 4-0 in the pivotal games, all on the road by rallying around Sutter's stinging remarks Wednesday insinuating top NHL executives don't want a small-market, blue-collar Canadian team to win the Cup.
Sutter's blistering comments, made in reaction to Flames forward Ville Nieminen's one-game suspension for ramming Vincent Lecavalier into the glass in Game 4, drew a sharp rebuke from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
But the us-vs.-them mentality apparently motivated the Flames, who outworked the Lightning while outshooting them 25-12 in the first two periods and 36-28 overall. The Lightning stayed in the game only because of a goal in the final minute of the first period (Martin St. Louis) and the first minute of the third (Fredrik Modin on a power play).
''You're not going to win a Game 5 playing the first 40 minutes like we did, when a team wins all the battles, is a quicker team ... it comes back to grab you,'' Lightning coach John Tortorella said. ''Now we have to go to their building and grab one and force Game 7.''
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