Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kane, Hawks beat Flyers in OT for first Cup in 49 years


After waiting 49 years to hoist the Stanley Cup, what’s a few more minutes?

Chicago star Patrick Kane found the net four minutes into overtime to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Flyers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in Philadelphia Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks’ title – their first since 1961 – broke the NHL’s longest active championship drought. Jonathan Toews, who had an assist, received the Conn Smythe playoff MVP trophy.

The host Flyers, who needed a shootout win over the New York Rangers in the regular-season finale just to reach the playoffs as the East’s No. 7 seed, finally lost in their sixth win-or-go-home game since then.

But, as usual, Philadelphia didn’t go down without a fight. Trailing 3-2 with 3:59 left in regulation, Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game and eighth of the playoffs, tipping the puck past Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi after it bounced off Chicago’s Brent Seabrook’s stick and Marian Hossa’s skate. Ville Leino and Danny Briere were credited with assists.

The unfazed Blackhawks went back into attack mode for the victory. With 4:06 gone in the extra session, Kane took Brian Campbell’s pass and slid the puck past Flyers tender Michael Leighton. The goal came with less fanfare than usual – the light did not immediately go off and the referee made no immediate signal, but replays showed the puck did slide across the goal line, handing Chicago the title.

The ‘Hawks broke through first in the opening period. Dustin Byfuglien scored on a power play at 16:49, with Jonathan Toews and Kane assisting, for his 11th goal of the postseason.

Philadelphia evened the count at the end of the first frame. With 26.5 seconds left in the period, Hartnell tipped in a rebound off a Briere power-play shot, with Chris Pronger also receiving an assist on the play.

The Flyers took the lead in the second period. Briere converted a tic-tac-toe goal on a 2-on-0 break, his team-leading 12th of the playoffs. Leino and Lukas Krajicek got helpers on the play at 8:00.

Two minutes later, Chicago’s Patrick Sharp beat Leighton with assistance from Dave Bolland and Duncan Keith to tie the score.

Then, at the 17:43 mark of the second, the Blackhawks’ Andrew Ladd deflected home a Niklas Hjalmarsson slap shot, with Kane also receiving an assist, for a 3-2 lead heading into the final frame.

Niemi stopped 21 shots for the Blackhawks, while Philadelphia’s Leighton made 37 saves.

Chicago outshot the Flyers 41-24 and 27-13 in the first two periods.

NOTES: Game 6 marked the first win by a road team in the series. … Hossa, playing in his third straight Stanley Cup finals, finally won. He lost in 2008 with the Penguins and 2009 with the Red Wings. … The Blackhawks finished the playoffs 11-1 when leading after the second period. … Philadelphia ends the postseason 9-2 at home. Game 6 was their first loss in their last eight home games. … This was Chicago’s first win at Philadelphia in their last 11, dating back to 1996.


Photo above: Chicago's Andrew Ladd celebrates after scoring a second-period goal during Game 6. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

Video credit – NBC

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