The first game, at St. Pete Times Forum, saw the Flames win 4–1. Dave Andreychuk began the game with a record 634 career goals without a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Calgary only got 19 shots off against the Lightning defense, but more than one-fifth found the net. Martin Gelinas got Calgary on the board early, and they extended the lead to 3–0 in the second period on goals by Jarome Iginla, his 11th of the playoffs, and Stephane Yelle. Chris Simon added the fourth and final Calgary goal after Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis scored the lone Lightning goal.
Game two saw the same final score, but this time, it was Tampa Bay winning a clutch game to tie the series, 1–1, headed to Calgary. Ruslan Fedotenko's 10th goal of the postseason got the Lightning on the board first, and Tampa Bay used three third-period goals, coming from Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, and St. Louis, respectively, to blast the game open. The lone Calgary goal was scored by Ville Nieminen.
These Finals would be the last until 2013 to be tied after two games. The team with home ice in games one and two held a 2-0 edge in every Final between 2006 and 2011. In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings won the first two games at New Jersey.
The series shifted to the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, where Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary defense completely stonewalled the Tampa Bay attack, which only took 21 shots in a 3–0 Flames victory. Simon scored the first Calgary goal in the second period, and Shean Donovan and Iginla added goals to ice the game.
With a chance to take a commanding 3–1 series lead, Calgary was shut out by Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who recorded his fifth shutout of the postseason, a 29-save shutout, in a 1–0 Tampa Bay victory, with the game's lone goal being scored by Brad Richards three minutes into the game on a two-man advantage.
With 4:13 left in the game, Ville Nieminen checked Vincent Lecavalier into the boards from behind, drawing a five-minute major penalty for boarding, a game misconduct penalty, and an eventual game five suspension. Meanwhile, fans at the Pengrowth Saddledome angrily booed referees Kerry Fraser and Brad Watson throughout most of the contest. They were originally also scheduled to work game six in Calgary but the league eventually decided to replace them.
The series returned to Tampa Bay tied, 2–2, for a critical game five, and Calgary pulled off a 3–2 overtime victory to move within one win from the Stanley Cup. After Gelinas and St. Louis traded goals in the first period, Iginla scored for Calgary late in the second period. However, Fredrik Modin tied the game for the Lightning 37 seconds into the third period. The 2–2 score held until after 14:40 had gone by in overtime, when Oleg Saprykin's first goal since the first round won the game for the Flames.
Back to Calgary for game six, each team scored two second-period goals, with Richards scoring two for the Lightning and Chris Clark and Marcus Nilson for the Flames. In the third period, there was a dispute over a Martin Gelinas redirect that appeared to have gone in off of his skate. A review from one camera angle appeared to show the puck crossing the goal line before Khabibulin's pad dragged it out, though some (including Lightning Tim Taylor) argue that the puck had not only been knocked several inches above the goal line (thus making there appear to be white ice between the puck and the goal line) in front of Khabibulin's pad, but that it was also "kicked" by Gelinas. The play was never reviewed. It was however later shown in game seven by ABC television that the NHL made the correct call via a CGI video analysis of the goal in question that proved that the puck never crossed the goal line completely. The CGI company who did the analysis of the video was based out of Calgary. The game entered overtime with the Flames needing only a single goal to win the Stanley Cup. However, thirty-three seconds into the second overtime, St. Louis put in the game-winner for the Lightning to force a winner-take-all seventh game in Tampa.
In a tense game seven, Fedotenko scored goals for Tampa Bay late in the first period and late in the second period for a 2–0 lead. After Conroy scored to narrow the deficit to 2–1, Calgary bombarded Khabibulin after taking only seven shots in the first two periods. After the Conroy goal, Khabibulin stopped 16 Calgary shots. The series ended as Flames center Marcus Nilson missed a last-second opportunity to force overtime. Tampa Bay won the game, 2–1, and the Stanley Cup.
Darren Rumble played only five regular season games, and did not play in the playoffs. Rumble was a healthy reserve the rest of the season.
Eric Perrin played in four regular season games and twelve playoff games (four in the conference in finals).
Stanislav Neckar played two games in the conference finals. Neckar was on the Nashville Predators injury reserve list majority of the season, before joining Tampa Bay in a trade on March 9, 2004.
Ruslan Fedotenko was the first player who was born and raised in Ukraine, and exclusively trained in the country to win the Stanley Cup.
Tampa Bay was given permission to include these players on the Stanley Cup even though they did not qualify. Rumble for spending the whole season with Tampa Bay, and Perrin and Neckar for playing in the conference finals.
ALL 52 members were included with the full first and full last names on the Presentation Stanley Cup filling the last spot on the Stanley Cup. When the engraver Louise St. Jacques went to engrave the Replica Stanley Cup there was less space available. There was more space between each winning team on the Replica Stanley Cup then on the Presenation Stanley Cup. Louise decided to keep each member name in same order on the same line on the Replica Stanley Cup, so all names were engraved with first initial and full last name. This is another way of telling the Presentation Stanley Cup from the Replica Stanley Cup.
In the United States, this was the last Stanley Cup Finals to air on the ABC/ESPN family of networks, with ESPN televising the first two games and ABC broadcasting the last five games, as the 2004–05 NHL lockout suspended play for the next season. NBC and OLN would pick up the NHL for the 2005–06 season. The Comcast-owned OLN would later be renamed Versus for the 2006–07 season, then re-branded as the NBC Sports Network on January 2, 2012, following Comcast's 2011 acquisition of NBC, effectively moving to the NHL on NBC banner.
In Canada, the CBC's broadcast of game seven of the Finals drew 4.862 million viewers, making it the highest-rated NHL game on the CBC since game seven of the 1994 Final, which drew 4.957 million viewers. However, those numbers include both pre-game and post-game coverage. The game itself drew 5.560 million viewers, up from 5.404 in 1994.