June 2, Wachovia Center, Philadelphia
Flyers 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)
THIS SUPERB GAME DESERVED OVERTIME. When the Flyers' Claude Giroux scored at 5:59 of the extra session to end the series' third straight one-goal match, Philadelphia had proved that it has a seemingly endless supply of second winds. "When our backs are against the wall, we seem to lay it on the line," said the Flyers' Hartnell.
The teams traded chances in a spirited overtime before Flyers defenseman Matt Carle, at the top of the right wing circle, spotted Giroux cutting to the front of the net. Giroux redirected Carle's pass past Niemi, capping his best game of the series. "Claude loosened up," Flyers coach Laviolette said. "It's the Stanley Cup finals. There's a lot of work, a lot of intensity. We talked about him having fun tonight, coming out and letting everything roll."
Just a minute before Giroux's goal, the Flyers nearly ended the game on a play that produced the second video review of the night. Gagné shot a puck that deflected off Chicago's Bolland and trickled along the goal line behind Niemi before the goalie could cover it. The horn sounded, but officials looked at the play and ruled, correctly, that the puck had not crossed the line.
The first review came with the score tied 1-1 midway through the second period. With the Flyers on a power play, Hartnell deflected Pronger's shot off Niemi's body and the puck trickled behind the goalie, rolling to his left post. Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson pulled the puck back out, and play continued for 1:42 until, after an icing, officials conferred to review the play with 8:23 remaining in the period. After a lengthy delay officials confirmed that the puck had crossed the line. The Flyers led 2-1, and the time that had ticked away was put back on the clock.
The Hawks tied the score on a long screen shot by Brent Sopel with two minutes left in the second period, and then, in the third, Chicago took its only lead of the night on a goal by Kane. That advantage lasted only 20 seconds before forward Ville Leino knocked in a rebound, at once knotting the score and equaling a Flyers rookie record with his 15th playoff point. "We lost a lot of momentum right away," said Quenneville, whose team had just four shots on goal in the third period. "We didn't get a chance to take advantage of playing with the lead."
The victory was the seventh in a row at home for Philadelphia and snapped the Hawks' seven-game winning streak. How did the Flyers remain so resilient, even on the verge of falling down three games to none? "We've had a lot of practice," said Pronger. "We've had a lot of adversity this year."