Blackhawks Beat Flyers In Game Five, One Win From The Cup
By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 7, 2010 2:55AM
There was no place like home for the Blackhawks on Sunday night. Coming off of two straight losses on the road in Philadelphia, the Blackhawks rebounded to beat the Flyers 7-4 in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals to take a 3-2 series lead. With Michael Jordan in the building, the Blackhawks were looking for a great game worthy of his Royal Airness and they got off to a dominant start that paved the way to a high-scoring victory that leaves the team just one win shy of the Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks got off to an aggressive start, firing 13 shots on goal and finding the back of the net three times in the first period to take a big lead. Brent Seabrook scored the first goal with just a little under eight minutes left in the first, scoring on a power play. A little more than three minutes later, it was The Rat, Dave Bolland, scoring his eighth goal of the playoffs for a 2-0 Blackhawks lead. And just over three minutes after that, it was Kris Versteeg extending the Blackhawk lead to 3-0. The second period started aggressively as well, this time for the Flyers who took advantage of a loose puck following a Niemi save to cut the lead to 3-1 just 32 seconds into the second. But the Blackhawks responded as Andrew Ladd set up Patrick Kane for a goal to put the lead back at three goals. The flurry of goals continued as less than 90 seconds after Kane scored, a scrum in front of the Blackhawks' net sent the puck to Kimmo Timonen who got a shot past Niemi to cut the back to 4-2. The teams quieted down until 4:15 left when some clean, quick puck work by the Blackhawks set up a goal by Dustin Byfuglien that put the Blackhawks up 5-2, which was the score heading to the second intermission. The Flyers showed life, scoring a goal 6:41 into the third period to cut the lead to 5-3. With 3:52 left in the game, it was Patrick Sharp taking advantage of an odd-man rush and scoring a goal to put the game out of reach with his 10th goal of the 2010 playoffs. The Flyers kept pace, scoring a little over a minute later, but they went to the empty net configuration with over two minutes to go and almost immediately Byfuglien netted the seventh Blackhawks goal, the first time in 10 years a team has scored seven goals in a Stanley Cup Finals game.
Antti Niemi had 23 saves in the game including several clutch saves like a kick save when the Flyers were trying to make a run in the second period. The much-discussed line change-up for the Blackhawks worked as they continued to play with the same urgency that was seen in the third period of Game Four and six different Blackhawks lit the red lamp. But the loudest cheer may have been when Byfuglien leveled Chris Pronger in the second period.
So this is it, Chicago. We're on the doorstep of the Blackhawks' first Stanley Cup since 1961. At 49 years, it's the second-longest Cup drought in NHL history (the N.Y. Rangers went 54 years between Cup wins) and the longest current drought. Come Wednesday night, the Blackhawks have a chance to end that drought and to hoist the Cup. But the Flyers have faced this challenge before and if they've proved one thing, it's that they won't go down without a fight. Another two-game losing streak by the Blackhawks will send the Flyers off as champs. The puck drops on Game Six in Philadelphia Wednesday night (7:00 p.m., TV: NBC, Radio: WGN 720 AM).