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
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.
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.
The Philadelphia Flyers apparently like to live life with their backs against the wall. From the last game of the regular season, where they narrowly made into the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, to tonight’s unforgettable win against the Boston Bruins, the Flyers have been hanging by a thread for over a month now.
Tonight, they did something that only two teams in NHL history have done. Philadelphia came back from a three games to zero defiicit, winning four straight to defeat the Bruins, in Boston at that. Only the 1975 New York Islanders, and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs have accomplished the feat before.
To put things in a bigger perspective, only one other time has this been accomplished in all other professional sports, the Boston Red Sox came back from 3-0 against the Yankees in 2004 on their way to a World Series victory.
As if coming from down three games wasn’t “back against the wall” enough, the Flyers started out this game by giving up three goals in the first fifteen minutes. Apparently that’s how Flyers left wing Simon Gagne wanted it though, because with just over seven minutes to go and a penalty against the Bruins for having six men on the ice, Gagne gave the Flyers a 4-3 lead.
The Flyers and their fans will have an incredible story to tell for years to come, but how will this incredible story end?
Possibly the Stanley Cup, but first, the Flyers will take on unlikely opponent, the eighth seeded Montreal Canadiens, beginning Sunday night in Philadelphia.