NHL: Blackhawks Have Stanley In Sight

NHL: Blackhawks Have Stanley In Sight

words_Brandon Richard

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

NHL: Blackhawks Have Stanley In Sight

NHL: Flyers Put Up a Fight at Home

words_Nick Engvall

The Flyers refuse to give up.

A team full of character and determination, they’ve completed unbelievable comebacks, and played  on the edge of summer vacation for what seems to be the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the Chicago Blackhawks cornering them, appearing to be headed for another back against the wall situation, it took overtime, but Philadelphia prevailed.

Using what baseball refuses to use, instant replay, the Stanley Cup Playoffs moved a level up on the excitement meter. For the Flyers, one call went their way thanks to the replay, the other left them on the line. A line they would cross just a few minutes later.

Just six minutes into overtime, Claude Giroux scored the game winner on a redirect to give the Flyers their first win in the series, a series in which each game has been determined by a single goal.

Though the game was close on paper, the Philadelphia fans were clearly influential. With the highest number of fans in attendance (20,297) to ever watch a game in Philadelphia, the crowd not only helped the Flyers but created an atmosphere that made watching from home equally exciting.

With game 4 taking place on Friday in Philadelphia once again, the Flyers will have an opportunity to even up the series before it heads back to Chicago, as well as an opportunity to show fans why hockey is one of the most exciting professional sports to watch.

You can see game 4 on Versus at 8pm EST.

via Yahoo

NHL: Blackhawks Have Stanley In Sight

NHL: Blackhawks & Flyers Battle For the Cup

words_Nick Engvall

The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t won a Stanley Cup title since 1961. No team in the NHL has a current streak longer than that. On the eve of their first game in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1992, the Blackhawks are preparing for their next feat, win just four more games to bring the coveted Stanley Cup home to Chicago.

The only team that stands in their way is the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that despite being an underdog, will probably offer the Blackhawks their toughest competition of the post season.

The Philadelphia Flyers have had their backs against the wall since even before the playoffs began. Edging their way into the playoffs, and then becoming only the second team in professional sports in the last half decade to come from a 3-0 deficit and win a playoff series.

With nearly every analyst in the  hockey community saying that the Flyers can’t do it, Philadelphia, like they have all throughout this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, will put up a fight like no other.

Whether the Blackhawks will be able to beat the Flyers will depend on whether Philadelphia can snap their current power play drought, where they have been scoreless in their last 12 opportunities. Whether or not the Flyers snap out of their power play struggles, these two teams will be well rested and ready for game one on Saturday evening in the Windy City.

via yahoo

NHL: Blackhawks Have Stanley In Sight

NHL: Chicago Sweeps the Sharks

words_Nick Engvall

After the first period of play, it looked as if the San Jose Sharks had finally remembered how to play the way they had been the entire season. The Sharks were up 1-0, and just a few minutes into the second period, they had jumped to a two goal lead thanks to a goal from Patrick Marleau.

Ten minutes later the lead was erased by the Blackhawks who scored two more goals in the third period to finish off the sweep of the seemingly cursed San Jose Sharks. For the fifth straight season, despite consistently being one of the top teams in the regular season, the Sharks are eliminated without reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

For the Chicago Blackhawks, they return to the Stanley Sup Finals for the first time since the 1991-1992 season when they were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blackhawks last Stanley Cup Championship came all the way back in 1961. The 47 year drought is currently the longest running streak in the NHL.

The Blackhawks will face the winner of the Philadelphia Flyers versus Montreal Canadiens series. The Flyers currently lead the series 3-1 and will look to finish off the Canadiens in tonight’s game five in Philadelphia.

NHL: Blackhawks Have Stanley In Sight

NHL: Flyers & Blackhawks Thinking Sweep

words_Nick Engvall

Goal keeping has set both the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks apart from their opponents in this year’s Conference Finals of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In the Eastern Conference Finals the Philadelphia Flyers goal keeper, Michael Leighton, continued his streak of perfection by shutting out the Montreal Canadiens. Leighton came up with 30 saves as the Flyers won 3-0. Leighton has not allowed a goal in over eight periods now and the back-to-back shutouts are the first for a Philadelphia goalie in twenty-five years, which is also the last time they won the Stanley Cup.

The victory gives the Flyers six straight wins, but now they have to head to Montreal on Thursday and battle the Canadiens, away from the Philadelphia fanatics for the first time in the series.

In the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks took a second game in a row from the Sharks in San Jose behind the goal keeping of Antti Niemi.

Niemi made 25 saves in Tuesday night’s game, including an onslaught of shots from San Jose in the first ten minutes of the game, to lift the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead in the best of seven series. Niemi denied every player on the Sharks, with the exception of Patrick Marleau, who scored two goals in the loss.

Chicago’s 4-2 victory brings them to within two wins of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, somewhere they haven’t been since 1992.

For the Sharks and their fans, it seems the curse has still got the best of them. If the past is anything to consider then it is not looking good for the San Jose Sharks, as they have lost every playoff series that they have been down two games to none.

The Blackhawks will look to continue the sweep in Chicago on Friday night.

via Yahoo