Blackhawks win to take 2-0 series lead
By Rick Gano
CHICAGO — Antti Niemi was unflappable as the Stanley Cup finals turned defensive in Game 2. Different style of game from the opener, yet another victory for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Niemi made 14 of his 32 saves in the final period and Chicago beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, last night to take a 2-0 series lead.
"It's an unbelievable feeling how the people react," Niemi said as the crowd cheered him and chanted his name after the game. "Defense was the key."
After a 6-5 Chicago victory in the opener when the teams traded goals, both clubs tightened up their defense. The tone was more physical and chippy from the outset.
The Blackhawks, who for the second straight game got no points from their two young stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, broke through against Michael Leighton when Marian Hossa and Ben Eager scored 28 seconds apart late in the second period.
And after the Flyers got a power-play goal from Simon Gagne early in the third, Niemi withstood a late flurry from the Flyers to preserve Chicago's seventh straight win.
"I thought their goaltender played extremely well in the third period. We had more than enough looks to tie up that game," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said.
Games 3 and 4 will be played in Philadelphia tomorrow and Friday.
Patrick Sharp fired a shot from the left circle, and after Leighton stopped it and with Chicago's Troy Brouwer battling for the puck, Hossa poked it in from the left side with 2:51 left in the second.
Just 28 seconds later with the crowd still abuzz, Dustin Byfuglien made a steal and passed the puck to fourth-line forward Eager. Eager skated to the right circle and unleashed a shot that beat Leighton high on the glove side to make it 2-0. It was the first goal of the playoffs for the former Flyers forward.
Philadelphia broke through with 1 second left on a power play when Gagne scored from the left circle.
PHILADELPHIA 0 0 1—1
CHICAGO 0 2 0—2
Second Period—1, Chicago, Hossa 3 (Brouwer, Sharp), 17:09. 2, Chicago, Eager 1 (Byfuglien), 17:37. Third Period—3, Philadelphia, Gagne 8 (Richards, Carter), 5:20 (pp).
Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 3-15-15—33. Chicago 9-13-4—26.
Goalies—Philadelphia, Leighton. Chicago, Niemi. A—22,275 (19,717). T—2:33.
STANLEY CUP FINALS
All Times Hawai'i
Chicago 2, Philadelphia 0
Saturday: Chicago 6, Philadelphia 5
Yesterday: Chicago 2, Philadelphia 1
Tomorrow: Chicago at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.
Friday: Chicago at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.
x-Sunday: Philadelphia at Chicago, 2 p.m.
x-Wednesday, June 9: Chicago at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.
x-Friday, June 11: Philadelphia at Chicago, 2 p.m.