The Blackhawks ended a 49-year championship drought the last time they played in Philadelphia. Chicago will return to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since that memorable night in 2010, as it battles the Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Blackhawks earned their first Stanley Cup since 1961 when they defeated the Flyers by a 4-3 score in overtime of Game 6. Patrick Kane notched the OT game-winner by beating Michael Leighton 4:06 into the extra session, setting off a wild celebration on Philly's home ice.
Chicago and Philly have met just once since that Cup-clinching game on June 9, 2010. That encounter came last year in the Windy City and the Flyers exacted a tiny measure of revenge with a 4-1 victory at the United Center. Jeff Carter, who is now a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, had two goals and an assist and Philadelphia's current leading scorer, Claude Giroux, added four assists.
The Flyers have taken two straight, eight of nine and 14 of the last 16 regular-season meetings with the Blackhawks and Philly has taken eight straight in Chicago. The Flyers last dropped a regular-season tilt in the Second City on Nov. 9, 1996.
Chicago enters tonight leading the Central Division with 52 points, while Philadelphia is four points behind the New York Rangers for the Atlantic lead. The Flyers were last seen losing to the visiting Rangers in Monday's Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.
The Rangers notched a 3-2 win over the Flyers at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank on Monday. Mike Rupp scored two goals in the outdoor setting and Blueshirts goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stoned Danny Briere on a penalty shot with 19.6 seconds remaining to all but seal the victory.
New York fell behind 2-0 at the home of Major League Baseball's Phillies, but then scored three unanswered goals against Flyers backup goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Rupp pulled the Rangers out of the early hole, scoring goals late in the second period and early in the third, and Brad Richards netted the eventual game-winner less than three minutes later.
The Flyers were awarded a penalty shot as time ticked down after Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh was called for putting his glove over the puck while it was in the crease. Replays showed the puck drifting slowly toward the line, so McDonagh may have actually saved a goal. Either way, Briere was given a chance to tie the game in front of 46,967 fans.
"All I was thinking was, 'This game's going to overtime,'" Briere said.
Lundqvist seemed to invite the Flyers forward to shoot five-hole, but the Rangers netminder closed the gap before Briere could score.
Giroux and Brayden Schenn scored the goals for Philly and Bobrovsky made 30 saves. It's unclear if Ilya Bryzgalov will be back in the crease tonight, as the Flyers highly-paid starter was kept out of the Winter Classic after going 0-3-1 and surrendering 16 goals in his previous four starts.
In addition to the loss, Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr injured a left leg and played just over seven minutes. Philadelphia has since stated that Jagr, who is third on the team with 31 points, will miss 7-to-10 days with a groin injury.
Philadelphia is 8-6-2 as the host this year compared to a 14-5-2 mark on the road.
Chicago has lost two of its last three games and was dealt a 4-3 regulation loss by the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Former Blackhawk Ben Eager netted the game-winning goal in the third period as the Oilers edged the Blackhawks, 4-3, at United Center.
"They scored a couple power-play goals, and a couple funny ones went in on us," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we didn't deliver when we needed to."
Former Flyers enforcer Dan Carcillo will not be available tonight, as he was suspended seven games for boarding Edmonton's Tom Gilbert on Monday. This is the third suspension this season for Carcillo and the sixth of his career.
In injury news for Chicago, center Marcus Kruger is expected to sit out a fourth straight game with a concussion, while defenseman Steve Montador could return after sitting out Monday with an upper body injury.
The Blackhawks played five straight home games before tonight and will return home for a four-game homestand following this evening's road tilt. Chicago is 10-7-1 as the visiting club this season.