CALGARY, Alberta - The Red Sea was roaring last night as the Stanley Cup Finals returned to Canada for the first time since 1994, and it seemed to render the Tampa Bay Lightning powerless.
A crowd of 19,221, mostly draped in Calgary Flames red, packed the Saddledome for a passionate, hard-hitting game in which the Flames took a 2-1 series lead with a 3-0 victory over the Lightning.
Chris Simon and Shean Donovan scored second-period goals. Jarome Iginla scored in the third, which, along with an assist and a fight gave him the so-called "Gordie Howe hat trick."
And Miikka Kiprusoff, with 21 saves, became the fourth goaltender in history to post at least five shutouts in a single postseason.
"Everybody knows what is on the line," Iginla said. "Both teams raised their game physically last game and I thought we really upped it as a group physically tonight."
Teams winning Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals with the series tied at 1 have won the Cup in 21 of 24 seasons (87.5 percent). Game 4 will be tomorrow.
The Lightning, which lost Ruslan Fedotenko late in the third after he was driven face-first into the boards by Robyn Regehr, has alternated wins and losses over its past 10 playoff games.
"We have to win the next one," Lightning coach John Tortorella said.
Kiprusoff is now 7-1 after a loss.
"It's no secret," the Finnish goaltender said. "If the whole team plays the way we should play, it's a good chance I'm going to do better. I try to play the same way every game."
The first period was a hard-fought battle that included big hits - Rhett Warrener on Fedotenko, Ville Nieminen on Cory Stillman, Cory Sarich on Stephane Yelle - and flying elbows.
But the crowd went into a frenzy when two of the teams' best players - Calgary's Iginla and Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier - dropped the gloves. The fans chanted "Iggy" for much of the five minutes Iginla sat in the box.
It was Iginla's third fight of the playoffs after having four in the regular season. Earlier this postseason, he fought Vancouver's Mattias Ohlund and Detroit's Derian Hatcher, and he tried to fight San Jose's Brad Stuart in the last round. Lecavalier only had two fights during the regular season.
"We don't want Iginla fighting all the time because we don't need him hurt, but he really pumped up our whole team and we went from there," said Marcus Nilson.
Tight-checking hockey continued into the second period, but after Flames coach Darryl Sutter scrambled his lines, things opened up for Calgary.
On a power play after Brad Lukowich was nailed for slashing Donovan, Simon scored. But right before, Kiprusoff denied Brad Richards on a short-handed breakaway.
After Iginla breezed past Martin St. Louis in the neutral zone, Iginla flew into the Lightning zone after Darryl Sydor was wiped out at the blue line.
Iginla skated to the corner and centered a pass for Simon. His first two shots were blocked by Fredrik Modin, but Simon stayed with it to give Calgary a 1-0 lead at 13:53 of the period.
"It was one of them deals who scored the first goal," said Sutter "It was like a 30-second game: Kiprusoff. Richards on the breakaway. We come right back and score. That's the hockey game."
Simon, a career-long tough guy, reacted by flying into the glass.
"I don't really have much of a celebration," Simon said. "I guess my celebration is banging into something."
"He didn't get much elevation on it," Donovan said.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
Tampa Bay 0 0 0 - 0
Calgary 0 2 1 - 3
First period-None. Penalties-Gelinas, Cal (elbowing), :21; Lukowich, TB (cross-checking), 3:50; Lecavalier, TB, major (fighting), 6:17; Iginla, Cal, major (fighting), 6:17; Clark, Cal (tripping), 7:10; Boyle, TB (hooking), 9:36; Gelinas, Cal (holding stick), 17:03. Second period-1, Calgary, Simon 5 (Iginla, Leopold), 13:53 (pp). 2, Calgary, Donovan 5, 17:09. Penalty-Lukowich, TB (slashing), 13:03. Third period-3, Calgary, Iginla 12 (Regehr, Simon), 18:28 (pp). Penalties-Donovan, Cal (holding), 4:05; Sarich, TB (slashing), 17:23; Sarich, TB, misconduct, 19:16. Shots on goal-Tampa Bay 5-6-10-21. Calgary 2-12-4-18. Power-play opportunities-Tampa Bay 0 of 4; Calgary 2 of 4. Goalies-Tampa Bay, Khabibulin 13-6-0 (18 shots-15 saves). Calgary, Kiprusoff 14-8-0 (21-21). A-19,221 (17,409). T-2:30.