PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In a city where the Stanley Cup drought is 49 years and ticking, the temptation is to say it's OK to win the silver trophy at home.
Win it in front of the rowdy Chicago fans. Win it with "Chelsea Dagger" roaring through the stadium in an endless loop. Win it and keep partying right into the parade past City Hall.
It's tempting, for sure.
It's just not necessarily ideal.
The Blackhawks want to win the Stanley Cup, period.
"We want it more than anything," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Tuesday. "Whether it's on the road or at home, to us it doesn't matter."
The Blackhawks would love to leave Philadelphia with a new carry-on for the plane. Beat the Flyers in Game 6 on Wednesday, and they'll win their first championship since the days of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in 1961.
The 49 years without a championship is the longest active streak in the NHL.
Toews and his teammates know the Stanley Cup will be the guest of honor at Game 6 in Philadelphia. No celebrity, no dignitary will mean more than the nearly 3 feet and 35 pounds of one of sports' great trophies, and only 60 victorious minutes would turn it into the world's largest champagne flute.
"The more time you spend away from the rink, the easier it is to think about how close you are to winning the Cup," Toews said.
Holding the Stanley Cup high and giving it a celebratory shake is the dream of every hockey player. It could come true faster than most for the 22-year-old Toews, already the star and captain in just his third NHL season.
Toews, who leads the Blackhawks with 28 points this postseason, drew inspiration from Pittsburgh's championship run last season. He saw Sidney Crosby, then only 21, hoist the trophy as the youngest captain to ever win the Stanley Cup.
Toews can't beat Crosby in the age category. But he could join Crosby and have his name forever etched on hockey's ultimate prize.
"I think that's when it really first set in that I felt our team, and myself personally, never felt closer thinking that this is an opportunity — this is something that can really become a reality," Toews said. "It's been a long year, but I think we all knew all along that we can make it this far."
Ah, yes. That Detroit-Pittsburgh final. Turns out, a year later it's just as inspirational to the Flyers as it's been to Toews.
In that series, the Penguins lost the first two games on the road, were pounded in Game 5, and trailed 3-2 in the series before storming back to win the championship.
Yo, Philly! Sound familiar?
The Flyers opened the finals with two straight losses in Chicago, won Games 3 and 4 at home and were pounded 7-4 back in Chicago in Game 5.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has earned rave reviews from his team for his passionate pregame talks. His job is as much motivational speaker as it is breaking down gameplans. He'll reference the 2009 finals and say, "We can do this."
"Our championship is special," Laviolette said. "Maybe more so than others, if you look at how we had to get here and what we had to do to get our hands on the thing. I always think you're looking for something to motivate."
Laviolette knows how Chicago feels playing for the Stanley Cup with the trophy looming in the building. He twice had his chance with Carolina in 2006 to win with it, well, on ice.
Leading the series 3-1, his Hurricanes lost Game 5 in overtime to Chris Pronger's Edmonton Oilers.
"It was nauseating," Laviolette said.
Carolina lost Game 6 in Edmonton 4-0 and sent the Stanley Cup back to North Carolina, where the Hurricanes eventually won the clincher 3-1.
Wiping out the Flyers at home will be tougher than a week-old cheesesteak. The home team has won every game this series and the Flyers are 9-1 at home in the postseason.
"We know what we're up against," said Pronger, who was on the ice for six of Chicago's seven goals in Game 5 and had one of the worst playoff games of his career (minus-5).
Then, the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday turned him into Pronger the Pinup with an unflattering picture of him in a skirt beside a bold headline that declares, "Chrissy Pronger. Looks like Tarzan, skates like Jane."
"I really couldn't care, to be honest with you," Pronger said. "I'm worried about playing the game."
The Flyers are sticking with Michael Leighton in goal after he was yanked in Game 5 (also in Game 1). Leighton has an NHL-low 2.34 goals-against average in 13 appearances since taking over for the injured Brian Boucher in Game 5 of the second-round series against Boston. He finished with three shutouts in the Eastern Conference finals.
If the Blackhawks need any added incentive to finish the Flyers in Philly, it's this: Philadelphia won a Game 7 on the road already this postseason (at Boston) and rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the game.
"We want to take that last and final step tomorrow night," Toews said. "That's all we need to focus on."