PHILADELPHIA -- Splitting the difference between a frenetic first game and a cautious second match, the Flyers and Blackhawks played a superb and compelling Game 3 that deserved its overtime. By the time
The Flyers, who qualified for the playoffs on the final day of the regular season via a shootout against the Rangers and rallied from down 0-3 against Boston, have apparently not exhausted their cache of second and third winds in cutting Chicago's lead to 2-1.
In what was the best game of the Cup final for both teams, the 'Hawks looked like the better squad for 40 minutes, but for the second straight game, generated just four shots in the third period.
"We've been playing from behind," said Flyers forward
The teams traded chances in a spirited overtime before Flyers defenseman
"I think Claude loosened up a bit," said Flyers coach
Giroux was quick to credit Carle's half-shot, half-pass that set him up for "obviously the biggest goal of my career. Matt's a great player. He can see the ice pretty well. I was just trying to get a stick on it."
Just a minute earlier, the Flyers nearly ended the contest on a play that produced the second video review of the night.
That decision evened the score in the video-replay booth to 1 apiece. After the teams traded goals (Philadelphia's
The Hawks tied the score on an innocent-looking faceoff with two minutes left in the second.
Chicago only enjoyed the lead for 20 seconds all night, as
"I think we lost a lot of momentum there right away," said Hawks coach
The goal was, in fact, the demarcation point between two different parts of the game. For much of the middle period, Chicago forwards were skating faster and making the crisper passes. The Flyers had several good looks at the net, but simply misfired. After Leino's goal, the Flyers looked like the team that has often worn teams down in the postseason.
The victory marked the sixth in a row at home for the Flyers, who have taken eight of nine overall on home ice. With that fell several streaks: The 'Hawks had won all six playoff games against the Flyers in their history.
• A Chicago victory would have established an NHL record for consecutive road wins in the playoffs (8).
• The 'Hawks had won their last two in Nashville, three in Vancouver and two in San Jose.
• Chicago also had a seven-game overall win streak snapped, despite playing a generally solid road game. It's only the familiar storyline from the resilient Flyers that kept the Blackhawks from going up 3-0.
"We've had a lot of practice at it," said Pronger. "We've had a lot of adversity this year."