To fight your battle until the bitter end has been the Lightning calling card this season and in the playoffs. Martin St. Louis has said it time and again that the Lightning leave it all on the ice every game.
It was evident in Game Five.
Rip roaring through the first, the Lightning took a 1 goal lead with plenty of opportunities to put the game away... which was only solidified with Brad Richards notching goals goals 2 and three in the 2nd period... It looked like the victory was locked.
But the Flyers came back with their intense play, aggressive forechecking and of course fan whining ("The Lightning are a dirty team!" was one quote taken off the Usenet).... Goals by Michal Handzus and Patrick Sharp in quick succession put the game into question. It became a battle for defensive position and stopped in two places:
In front of Nikolai Khabibulin and Robert Esche.
The Lightning faded during the waning minutes of play - it was clear that the team's energy was sapped but they held on... Held on until the Flyers started their last ditch attempt to win by pulling Esche and the Lightning found one last spark to capitalize on the empty net situation. Martin St. Louis -- plagued all game by the overly physical play by the Flyers, passed to Tim Taylor who sealed the victory with only seconds 15 seconds left in the game, sealing victory and sending the Lightning one step farther in their quest for their first Stanley Cup Finals in their 12 year history.
Game 6 -- almost assured to be the most bitter and aggressive Flyer game of the series -- is scheduled for Thursday at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
If the Lightning perseveres that last obstacle, the "Pass the Friggin' Torch Tour" will reach it's final challenge and a possible date with destiny -- Lord Stanley's Cup