TAMPA, Fla. – Thursday’s match-up against the Calgary Flames marked the first time the Tampa Bay Lightning had faced their Western Conference rival at the St. Pete Times Forum since Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. In only the second meeting between the teams since the Lightning hoisted the Cup, the Flames skated to a 9-6 victory at Tampa Bay.
Four different players posted three-point nights for the Lightning, but a pair of Calgary hat tricks gave the Flames the win in the only game between the clubs this season. Martin St. Louis recorded two goals and one assist, Vincent Lecavalier and Vaclav Prospal added one goal and two assists each and Shane O’Brien dished three helpers during the game.
Opening the scoring less than five minutes into the contest, Kristian Huselius posted his first of three goals in the contest with a wrist shot to the glove side arm against goaltender Johan Holmqvist.
A little more than three minutes later the Lightning scored twice in a span of 10 seconds to take a 2-1 lead.
Tying the game at one, Lecavalier punched in his 21st goal of the season off a pass by Prospal. After stealing the puck in Calgary’s zone, Prospal skated down the left wing before dishing a pass to Lecavalier at the right faceoff circle. The Lightning center fired a one-timer on the play to beat netminder Miikka Kiprusoff low to the stick-side at 7:58 of the period.
Seconds into the following play Andre Roy connected for his second goal in consecutive games. After Anders Eriksson lost control of the puck in the offensive zone, Michel Ouellet jumped on the biscuit to put a shot on Kiprusoff. Skating to the front of the net, Roy slid the rebound under Kiprusoff’s left pad for his third goal of the season.
Roy matched his career-high of goals in two consecutive games with his score in the contest. Roy has previously reached the mark three times in his career, most recently from November 11-23, 2002.
The back-to-back scores marked the fastest pair of goals on home ice in franchise history. The previous mark of 11 seconds was set by Ben Clymer and Ruslan Fedotenko during a 6-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 3, 2004.
Despite the goals, Huselius tied the game at two at 9:29 of the frame with a shot between the legs. Less than two minutes later Adrian Aucoin added his fifth goal of the season with a slap shot from the blue line. The power play marker gave the Flames a 3-2 lead before Daymond Langkow posted his 12th goal of the season on a re-directed shot in the crease.
Marc Denis replaced Johan Holmqvist following the Calgary goals, making his ninth appearance of the season for Tampa Bay.
Closing out the opening period with his first of two goals on the night, St. Louis connected to bring the Lightning within one. Converting a pass by Lecavalier from the right wing, St. Louis scored his first shorthanded goal of the season with a slapshot from the slot. The goal came 76 seconds remaining in the frame.
Approaching the midpoint of the contest, Prospal notched his 14th goal of the season to tie the game at four. As O’Brien fed the puck from the blue line, Prospal cut to the front of the net. With Kiprusoff playing the puck at the top of his crease Prospal moved to the backhand the slide the puck to the left of the Flames goalie.
With his assist on the play O’Brien tied his career high of three points in a contest and set a new career best of three assists in a game.
Less than three minutes later Huselius re-gained the Calgary lead with a wrist shot from the right hash marks against Denis. The goal gave Huselius his first career hat trick.
Tampa Bay responded with a little more than two minutes remaining in the second period, converting a man-advantage opportunity. Skating on the power play, Filip Kuba was denied on a quick shot from the top of the left faceoff circle before St. Louis tied the game at five.
Shortly after the expiration of a 5-on-3 power play, Lecavalier posted a couple of attempts from the goal line before a St. Louis shot from the top of the slot found its way to the back of the net. The goal, St. Louis’ 12th, gave the Lightning winger his first multi-goal night of the season.
Although the teams skated into the third period tied, Jarome Iginla scored a power play goal 25 seconds into the frame to give Calgary the lead. Banging the puck between Denis’ pads from the top of the crease, Iginla posted his 18th goal of the season.
Richards responded on the power play at 9:47 of the period. Firing a slapshot off a pass by Lecavalier, Richards beat Kiprusoff high to the stick side for his 11th goal of the season.
Moments after Richards tied the game at six, Denis made a strong save to keep the Flames off the board. As Eric Godard tried to re-direct the puck in front of the net Denis stretched across his crease to make a right pad save on the play.
Despite the save, Iginla added two more goals late in the contest to complete his sixth career hat trick. Owen Nolan recorded an empty-net goal with 23 seconds remaining in the game to close out the scoring.
With 15 total goals put on the scoreboard in the contest, the clubs tied the second highest combined total for goals in a game in Lightning franchise history. Tampa Bay last posted a combined 15 goals in a 10-5 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 23, 1992.
The Flames out-shot the Lightning 32-31 in the contest, with Denis stopping 21 of 25 shots-faced. Kiprusoff allowed a season-high six goals for Calgary, including two Tampa Bay power play goals through five man-advantage opportunities.
The Lightning wrap up their two-game homestand on Saturday, December 15 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) against the Washington Capitals. The game marks the fourth of eight meetings, and second of four at Tampa Bay, this season.
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