Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's Over: Blackhawks need OT to beat Flyers, take Cup

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Patrick Kane's  goal 4:10 into overtime lifted  the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers to take a deciding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Kane  shot from a  sharp angle along the left wing, and managed to sneak a low shot   through  Flyers  goaltender  Michael  Leighton,  touching  off  a  wild celebration by the visitors, who claimed their first championship since 1961.

Philadelphia  put  up a  valiant  fight,  tying the  game  with  3:59 left  in regulation  when  Scott Hartnell notched his  second goal of the contest as he managed  to get his  stick on a loose puck in the low slot. The Flyers had the best of the early chances in overtime, but Chicago ultimately proved to be the fresher club and capitalized on the final break.

Kane  added two assists, while Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Sharp and Andrew Ladd also  tallied for  the Blackhawks,  who had  come up  empty since  topping the Detroit  Red Wings  49 years ago. It  was the longest current title drought in the NHL.

Jonathan  Toews,  the Conn Smythe  Trophy winner  as playoff MVP, collected an assist  and tied Denis Savard's franchise playoff record with 29 points in the postseason.

For Marian Hossa, who did not record a point in the game, the victory was vindication. The 31-year-old Czech avoided becoming the first player in NHL history to lose in a Finals with three different teams in three consecutive years. He'd come up empty with Pittsburgh in 2008 and witn Detroit last season.

Antti  Niemi looked  shaky at  times  in the  third period  and overtime,  but nonetheless  earned his  16th win of the postseason with 21 stops for Chicago, which became the first team to win on the road in the best-of-seven set.

Danny  Briere  picked up a goal  and two assists and  in the process set a new Flyers' single-season playoff points record with 30. Ville Leino added two key assists  for Philadelphia, which  has fallen short in each of its last six Cup Finals appearances since last winning in 1975.

Leighton  acquitted  himself well in  defeat. After being pulled following the first  period in Sunday's  Game 5 loss, he made 37 saves in this season-ending defeat -- several of them crucial as his club clawed from behind just to reach the extra session.

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