Tampa Bay Lightning: 50 Greatest Moments In Franchise History

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Nov 12, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett (93) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn (55) fight to control the pcuk during the third period at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. Tampa Bay Lightning Defeat Calgary Flames In Game 6

Date: June 5, 2004

After the Tampa Bay Lightning’s successful first season in the National Hockey League, the Lightning ran into some trouble finding consistency. The Tampa Bay Lightning would go through some pretty stressful, and less-than-successful seasons before finding their true path and becoming the champions Tampa Bay Lightning founder Phil Esposito knew in his heart they could be.

Things started to turn around for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2002-03 season. The Bolts would bring home a record of 36-25-16 in the 02-03 season. Unfortunately, after just 11 games into the postseason the Lightning would find themselves on the losing end of the stick and on their way back home.

The good news is, this is not the last time the National Hockey League would see the Lightning in the post season. In fact, the Tampa Bay Lightning would make another trip to the postseason in the very next season.

In the 2003-04 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning would set a new franchise record for wins and points. The Lightning would maintain a record of 46-22-8-6 for a total of 106 points. This is in no small part to the trio who would come to be known as the franchise three; Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, and Vincent Lecavalier.

Martin St. Louis would lead the way for the Lightning with 38 goals and 56 assists for a total of 94 points. Brad Richards would wind up in third place on the team in points with 26 goals and 53 assists for a total of 79 points, and Vincent Lecavalier would have a banner season with 32 goals and 34 assists for a total of 66 points.

The Tampa Bay Lightning would face a lot of tough opponents in the Post Season, but it would be the team the Lightning would play in the Stanley Cup Finals who would really test the limits of their capabilities. As Game Six quickly approached, the Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves with their backs against the wall. If the Lightning won, they would force a Game Seven and still be in contention for the Stanley Cup; lose and their stellar season would come to an anti-climactic end.

The Lightning would give it everything they could when they hit the ice, but neither the Lightning nor the Flames could find the back of the net in the First Period of play. When the second period kicked off, both teams were ready to get down to business.

Just over four minutes into the period, the Tampa Bay Lightning would strike first blood with a power play goal from Lightning center Brad Richards. The assists on the Richards goal would go to right wing Martin St. Louis and left wing Ruslan Fedotenko.

Unfortunately, the Flames would respond with a goal of their own from Flames right wing Chris Clark. Just under two minutes later, the Tampa Bay Lightning would answer with another goal of their own. Once again, it would be Brad Richards on the power play who would bring one home for the Bolts.

As the final minutes were ticking off the clock, the Calgary Flames would once again answer with a goal. This time it would be Flames left wing Marcus Nilson who would tie things up for the Flames.

Much like the first period of play, neither team would be able to put the puck into the back of the net and tip the scales for their respective team. Just as quickly as this game started, the Lightning and the Flames would be headed to overtime.

Surprisingly enough, one overtime would not be enough to decide a winner between these two teams longing to hold Lord Stanley’s Cup high above their heads. If Calgary would be able to pull out the win, they would win the Stanley Cup in front of their hometown crowd. If not, the series would head back to the Sunshine State for Game Seven.

The Tampa Bay Lightning knew if they were going to make their move, they were going to have to do it now. Both teams were beginning to feel not only the weight of the situation bearing down on them, but they were beginning to run out of gas. And then…it happened.

Just 33 seconds into the second overtime period, a then-29 year old Martin St. Louis would redirect a shot from Brad Richards and the puck would sail right past Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff and into the back of the net. The Tampa Bay Lightning had done it. With their win over the Calgary Flames, the Tampa Bay Lightning would bring this series back to Tampa Bay and give the Lightning one more opportunity to take fate by the hand and achieve their destiny.

The fans in Calgary sat in stunned silence while the fans back here in the Sunshine State were cheering until they were blue in the face. Thanks to one simple goal from Martin St. Louis, the Lightning’s future would be forever changed. What more could you ask for from one of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 50 Greatest Moments in Franchise History?

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