Live Action from Game 2 of Stanley Cup finals
Two to go.
The Chicago Blackhawks took care of business at home, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. They head to Philadelphia holding a series lead that only four teams have ever blown in the championship round.
The Flyers did all they could in a frantic final 90 seconds against Antti Niemi. They just couldn't score the tying goal.
The Flyers called timeout with 19.4 seconds left and put an extra man on the ice to try to send the game into overtime. They seemed to catch a break when Patrick Sharp's shot on the empty net bounced off the post.
Philly couldn't capitalize.
Now the Blackhawks are heading to Philadelphia for Game 3.
The Blackhawks are 7-1 away from home in this postseason, but the Flyers are 7-1 at home in these playoffs.
Chicago is seeking its first Stanley Cup championship since the days of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in 1961.
Simon Gagne and the Flyers are trying to pull off another comeback.
Gagne scored a rolling, seeing-eye goal past Antti Niemi with 1 second left on the power play to cut Chicago's lead to 2-1 at 5:20 of the third period.
Gagne, who didn't play much early in Game 2, scored his eighth goal of the postseason. The Flyers badly needed that goal. They had nothing to show for a second period in which they attacked Niemi and were stopped on several solid shots.
Gagne's goal kind of trickled past Niemi.
Does May 28, 1987, ring a bell for Flyers fans?
If not, here's a reminder. It's the last time the Flyers won a game in the Stanley Cup finals. The Flyers beat Edmonton 3-2 in Game 6 at the Spectrum to force a decisive Game 7. The Oilers won that game 3-1 and started Philadelphia on its losing streak.
The Flyers were swept in four games by Detroit in 1997 and lost Game 1 of this year's finals to Chicago.
The Blackhawks lead 2-0 entering the third period and are 20 minutes away from handing the Flyers their seventh straight loss in the finals.
Since winning two straight Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975, the Flyers have dropped their last five series appearances. Chicago has also lost five consecutive times in the finals since its last championship in 1961.
Returning home for Wednesday night's Game 3 might not help Philadelphia, either. Only four teams in the Stanley Cup finals have rallied from a 2-0 series hole to win it all.
Two stats to remember.
The Penguins did it last year, beating Detroit on the road in Game 7 after trailing the series 3-2.
And, the Flyers already came back from a 3-0 series deficit in this postseason. They stunned the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals and became the first NHL team in 35 years to pull off that type of comeback.
So history says it can be done.
The Flyers would just like to find a way to win Game 2 and not have to worry about it.
Two goals in 28 seconds.
Just like that, the Blackhawks are in control.
Marian Hossa snapped a scoreless duel when he knocked in a rebound with 2:51 left in the second period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead over the Flyers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night.
That was just the start of the scoring surge.
Ben Eager followed only moments later at 17:37 of the second with a goal from the right circle. The puck went up and over the glove of Michael Leighton — a really bad goal allowed by the Flyers goalie.
Hossa wants to end his personal Stanley Cup finals losing streak. He had been there the past two years with Pittsburgh and Detroit — and lost.
He and the Blackhawks are 20 minutes away from taking a 2-0 series edge over the Flyers. Chicago's Antti Niemi has made the Game 2 lead stand up headed into the third period. He stopped all 15 shots by the Flyers.
Chicago's Antti Niemi is in a groove.
He just made the best save of the series — a fantastic, stretched-out glove save that robbed Arron Asham. Asham fired from the top of the circle, but Niemi snared it on the far side. The Chicago crowd chanted "An-tti!" in appreciation.
Niemi has been on top of his game in the second period as the Flyers are starting to get in their shots.
The goalies have settled down.
After unimpressive first-game performances by Chicago's Antti Niemi and Philadelphia's Michael Leighton, both have been solid in through the first half of Game 2.
Niemi made a nice pad save to stop Mike Richards on a breakaway attempt. Leighton, who was yanked in Game 1, has also been strong.
The improvement of both goalies are key reasons why the game is still scoreless 10 minutes into the second period.
The Flyers and Blackhawks are scoreless heading into the second period of Game 2.
Not only is scoring down after a five-goal first period in Game 1, shots are on the decline, too. Chicago outshot the Flyers 9-3 in the first 20 minutes of Game 2. In the opener, the Flyers held a 17-9 edge.
No one recorded more than one shot in the first period of Game 2, except Patrick Kane, who registered three.
The Flyers also had three players sent to the box after going all of Game 1 without being called for a penalty.
One stat of note, Flyers forward Simon Gagne only played 3:26. Might he be hurt? Something to keep an eye on in the second period.
Must Love Hawks.
John Cusack, an Evanston, Ill., native and famous Cubs fan is throwing his support behind the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. Cusack tweeted "go hawks" on Monday night.
Guess he'll Tweet Anything.
Philadelphia 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala appears to be at Game 2. He tweeted "In the chi watching the flyers bout to tie this series up!" and posted a twitpic from behind the Flyers net.
Celebrity edge, Chicago.
The Chicago fans are letting Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger know exactly how they feel about him with a PG-13 rated chant.
After a brief scrum in front of Philadelphia's net, Pronger gave a two-handed shove to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Then the chant erupted.
Pronger is playing in third Stanley Cup finals in five years, all with different teams.
What's that? A power play for the Blackhawks?
Yes, the Flyers were finally whistled for a penalty late in the first period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Blair Betts was called for cross-checking at 14:48. It was the first penalty taken by the Flyers in 74 minutes, 48 seconds of the series. They went all of Game 1 without one — something not expected out of a franchise once dubbed the "Broad Street Bullies."
The Flyers haven't gone a regular-season game without taking a penalty in more than 10 years. Philadelphia didn't look rusty in its penalty kill. The Blackhawks failed to score during the advantage, keeping the game scoreless.
Chicago received its second power play with 2:33 left in the first period when Dan Carcillo was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct at the same time coincidental minors were whistled against Flyers captain Mike Richards (elbowing) and Blackhawks forward Tomas Kopecky (roughing).
Philadelphia killed off that advantage, too, and the teams went into the first intermission scoreless.
All that was missing was Curly. Dan Carcillo, back in Philadelphia's lineup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, pulled off a move worthy of a Three Stooges short.
Carcillo took a run at Chicago's Tomas Kopecky to deliver a big hit. He delivered all right, on teammate Jeff Carter. Kopecky stepped to the side and Carcillo drilled Carter. Carter slammed the ice hard and his helmet flew off his head.
Carcillo, nicknamed Car Bomb, and Kopecky briefly jawed at each other after the play.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals is under way. The Flyers and Blackhawks made it through the first 5 minutes of the game without scoring. Must seem like a weeklong scoring drought after the Game 1 Arena Football League atmosphere.
One key for both teams is getting their top lines going. Chicago's Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, and Philadelphia's Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne all failed to record a point in Chicago's 6-5 win.
Watch those players tonight. They could make the difference.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals is about to start. The Chicago Blackhawks won a wild opener over the Philadelphia Flyers 6-5. This one should promise to see some tighter defense and a score more appropriate for a regular NHL game.
If not, there could be more changes in the nets.
The Flyers are sticking with Game 1 starting goalie Michael Leighton after he was yanked after allowing five goals in the opener. Brian Boucher took his place and let in the winner, but a brief goaltender controversy was brewing in Philly.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette squashed that when he decided on Sunday to stick with Leighton.
He's still making changes.
The Flyers put forward Dan Carcillo and defenseman Oskars Bartulis in the lineup and scratched James van Riemsdyk and Ryan Parent.
Carcillo should play on the same line as Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Simon Gagne could bump down and share a line with Claude Giroux and Arron Asham.
The Flyers are looking for their first championship since winning consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975.
The Blackhawks are searching for their first title since the days of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in 1961.