As if Dorothy Gale herself were standing in the middle of the arena clicking her ruby red heels, the Chicago Blackhawks skated off the ice Sunday night with a 7-4 win, proving that there is indeed no place like home. After dropping the previous two games in Philadelphia, Chicago used the momentum provided by a raucous United Center Crowd to propel them to an offensive explosion.
Chicago lit the lamp early and often, racing out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. The first 12 minutes consisted of back and forth play between both teams, until defenseman Brent Seabrook put a Kris Versteeg pass in the back of the net to spark a scoring onslaught. Dave Bolland and Versteeg added goals in a 5:58 span to give Chicago a commanding lead. In response, Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette pulled goalie Michael Leighton to give his team a spark.
Early in the second period, it looked like the Flyers were on there way of turning the assumed blowout into a competitive game. Just 32 seconds into the period, left winger Scott Hartnell found paydirt from a Danny Briere feed to cut the deficit to 3-1. Momentum quickly shifted back to Chicago when right winger Patrick Kane canceled the goal out with a score of his own. This exchange in goals would be a pattern on the night, occuring 3 more times before the final buzzer sounded.
Even with the dominant offensive performance by Chiacgo, the series is far from over. The Flyers, who erased a 3-0 series deficit to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, have proven to be an incredibly resilient team. On top of that, Chicago has yet to win in front of the hostile Wachovia Center crowd. Pieces of information that both teams are well aware of. “We just realize nothing is won yet,” said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. “We need one more win to do it.” When asked about game 6 and a possible goal switch, Coach Laviolette said, “One thing I’ve learned along the way about the playoffs is one game is only one game. There’s usually not a carryover effect from game to game.”
The Blackhawks will have an extended wait for their first crack at the Stanley Cup. Game 6 will take place on Wednesday night. If they are successful, it’ll be the first Stanley Cup for Chicago in 49 years.
images via Yahoo