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June 01, 2008

2004: Lightning Strikes

The year is 2004. We are treated to thrilling 7 game series involving the Calgary Flames and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Calgary Flames, led by the scoring and physical prowess of Jarome Iginla, the inspirational goaltending of Miikka Kiprusoff and the crazy red hair of Mike Commodore, are this year's Cinderella entry in the Stanley Cup finals. The over-achieving Flames knocked off the Canucks, Red Wings and Sharks en route to the finals.

But the clock always strikes 12 on Cinderella. The Tampa Bay Lightning, far from the Eastern favorites themselves, would finally extinguish the Flames on home ice in game seven.

The Bolts are led by Conn Smythe trophy recipient Brad Richards, goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, and pint-sized super scorer Martin St. Louis. Vinnie Lecavalier would use these Stanley Cup playoffs as his launching pad into the hockey superstar stratosphere.

Richards was especially spectacular in these playoffs, leading the way with seven game winning goals and a NHL best 26 points. The team rode a hot power play and an uncanny ability to score first and early.

A memorable moment came when commissioner Gary Bettman awarded the Stanley Cup. Captain Dave Andreychuk, a grizzled, grey-bearded 22 year and 1700 game veteran of NHL wars lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career.

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