Thursday, June 3, 2010

  1 2 3 OT Total
Chicago Blackhawks 0 2 1 0 3
Philadelphia Flyers 1 1 1 1 4

A Claude Giroux goal 5:59 into the overtime period of play lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4–3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals Wednesday night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the eastern United States. The Flyers victory cuts the Blackhawks’ series lead to 2–1.

Giroux’s goal came on a redirection off Matt Carle’s pass, squeezing the through the right arm and leg of Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi.

“I tried to get a stick on it, and it just trickled in,” Giroux said. “Our line started playing well, so anytime your line’s going you just play better I think. The whole team just showed up tonight, and we really wanted that win.

“Desperation was the key word, I think. It’s almost do or die.”

Like the first two games, this one was decided by a one-goal margin, but was not as loose as the 6–5 Game 1 or tight as the 2–1 Game 2.

The Flyers hit first — converting on their first power play chance — when right-winger Danny Brière, who had been drifting deep in the offensive zone took a pass just in front of the net and put it past Niemi at the 14:58 mark of the first period. Leading up to the play, Blackhawk Marián Hossa has been sent to the penalty box for slashing, breaking the stick of a Flyers player. Scott Hartnell and Braydon Coburn provided assists on the play.

Chicago started the second period at a disadvantage after Dustin Byfuglien was sent off for roughing after a scuffle involving teammate Patrick Kane and Flyer Kimmo Timonen at the end of the first period. The Flyers could not take advantage as Mike Richards missed two great chances. The Blackhawks went right back down the ice and scored less than a minute after Byfuglien’s penalty expired, with a Duncan Keith shot from midway into the offensive zone at the 2:49 mark. Kane and Hossa had assists on the play.

A Dustin Byfuglien penalty for slashing at 9:31 led to a Flyers power play. In the power play, a Chris Pronger shot sent the arena into a frenzy as both the goal light and the arena horn went off, but the game officials did not award the goal to the Flyers. After a further 1:26 of game time, play finally stopped after an icing call. After a video review, officials awarded Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell the goal.

After a stoppage in play, John Madden won the puck and passed it back to Brent Sopel, who shot a one-timer from the point into the far corner of the net to tie the game at the 17:52 mark of the second period.

The third period began with a goal-scoring flurry. With less than three minutes gone in the period, Kane scored a breakaway goal for Chicago at the 2:50 mark. Just 20 seconds later, Ville Leino collected a rebound off goalkeeper Niemi’s pad to tie the game. Jonathan Toews and Ben Eager collected assists on the Chicago goal, while Giroux collected the assist on Philadelphia’s goal. The goals were the only two of the third period and the game went to overtime.

At the 5:03 mark of the overtime period, a Flyers shot hit off the goal post and trickled down the line and before Niemi was able to secure the puck briefly. The arena staff blew the horn signaling a home goal before the puck was secured. A Flyers player managed to knock the puck into the back of the net, but upon video review, a no-goal was awarded with the game officials determining that the whistle signaling stoppage of play had been blown before the puck had been knocked loose. The respite for Chicago was brief as Giroux’s goal came just 56 seconds later.

Immediately after the game, Flyers captain Mike Richards told CBC Sports that the game-winning goal was a big relief to the team.

“We came out and played hard,” Richards said. “Both teams played extremely well and we were lucky to get the last goal.”

As for the goal that was called off in overtime, Richards said that the Flyers players did not really hear the whistle.

Niemi and Flyers counterpart Michael Leighton had 28 and 24 saves respectively.

Both teams had three power-play opportunities, all six of which occurred in the first two periods of play. Philadelphia was two for three in those chances while Chicago did not convert any.

Chicago and Philadelphia continue the best-of-seven series on Friday night at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center. The Stanley Cup will determine the 2009–10 National Hockey League champion after the top 16 teams earned the right to compete in the postseason. The NHL has 30 teams in the United States and Canada and attracts many international players.

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