Flyers Hold Off Blackhawks In Game Four, Even Up Stanley Cup Finals
By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 5, 2010 3:03AM
The Philadelphia Flyers got off to a big early lead and held off a late Blackhawks rally to beat Chicago 5-3 in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals. The series now stands tied at 2-2. The Flyers opened scoring less than five minutes in when Mike Richards scored on a power play. It was a little over 10 minutes later that the Flyers added to that, taking a 2-0 lead. Patrick Sharp scored with less than 90 seconds left in the period to cut the lead in half, but the Flyers answered right back, netting their third goal of the period less than a minute later, taking a 3-1 lead to the first intermission. After the four-goal first period, the second period went scoreless as the Flyers maintained the same lead into the second intermission. Less than seven minutes into the third period, the Flyers extended the lead when Ville Leino deflected a shot off of Kris Vertseeg's skate past Anttie Niemi to put the Flyers up 4-1. But the Blackhawks didn't give up, energizing and upping the pressure in the third period. They capitalized on a two-man advantage as Dave Bolland scored with 7:59 left in the game to cut the lead to 4-2. Then, with 4:10 left, a Brian Campbell pass went off of Kimmo Timonen's stick for a goal credited to Jonathan Toews, cutting the lead to 4-3. A frantic finish followed, shots flying from the Blackhawks in the closing minutes, creating opportunities and shots that escaped them earlier in the game. But with an empty net, the Blackhawks lost control of the puck and the Flyers put away an insurance goal in the waning seconds to clinch the victory.
Antti Niemi sharpened up in goal as the game wore on, stopping 21 of 22 shots he faced across the second and third periods and made 26 saves total in the game, but the three goals allowed in the first ultimately sunk the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks' offense had trouble getting opportunities in front of the Flyers' net, Dustin Byfuglien having fewer chances than in the first two games. Also hurting the Blackhawks were penalties which, once again, gave the Flyers more power play opportunities than the Blackhawks had.
So we've got a best-of-three series now and we know the teams will go back to Philadelphia next week for Game Six. In a post-season when the Blackhawks seemed to play their best hockey on the road, the home team has won every game this series. Given the Flyers' tremendous comeback in the Eastern Conference Final, we knew it wasn't going to be easy for the Blackhawks to put them away, even with the early 2-0 series lead. So it's time for the Blackhawks to once again step up at home and take the edge back from Philly. The series starts anew when the puck drops on Game Five on Sunday night (7:00 p.m., TV: Versus, Radio: WGN 720 AM).