Philadelphia held off Chicago's late rally to beat the Blackhawks 5-3 in Game 4 on Friday night and even the series up at 2-2.
Flyers skate back in series
PHILADELPHIA // Relaxed, loose and comfortable, the resilient Philadelphia Flyers are right back in the Stanley Cup finals ahead of tonight's Game 5. Mike Richards, Matt Carle and Claude Giroux all scored first-period goals and Philadelphia held off Chicago's late rally to beat the Blackhawks 5-3 in Game 4 on Friday night and even the series up at 2-2. "Not the greatest way that we wanted to finish the game, but I think we have confidence in ourselves with a one-goal lead," Richards said. "Closed it out when we needed to."
Michael Leighton had 31 saves, and Jeff Carter scored an empty-netter in the final seconds to help the Flyers become the first team in the series to win a game by more than one goal. After losing the first two games, the Flyers have pulled within two wins of their first championship since the second of consecutive titles in 1975. Now they head back to Chicago. They have to win at least once in Chicago in this series if they are to win the Cup.
"I said when we left there I thought we could have won both games," Peter Laviolette, the Flyers coach, said. "I like our game. I like what we're doing. It's going back and forth quick both ways. Guys are really competing out there. But nothing changed for us. Our game hasn't changed. Just the score changed." After a fast-paced first period, the tempo slowed in a scoreless second. Ville Leino gave the Flyers a 4-1 lead in third, but the Blackhawks made it interesting with two goals late.
"We knew that it was going to be a long series and not everything is going to go your way," Jonathan Toews, the Chicago captain, said. "It would have been good to be up 4-0 by now, but that is not reality. It is frustrating, but we have to find a way to battle through things." The Flyers, who extended their remarkable run with a historic comeback in the second round against Boston, have not lost beyond Game 3 in any round this postseason.
Game 6 will be back in Philadelphia next Wednesday. The Blackhawks are going to need more production from their top line to get back on the winning track. Toews and Patrick Kane have combined for one goal and three assists in four games. "We did a lot of good things out there, but it doesn't mean nothing if you don't score and we know that," Toews said. Trailing 4-1, the Blackhawks won a key face-off and Dave Bolland shot one past Leighton on the power play. Then Brian Campbell cut it to 4-3 when his shot appeared to deflect off Flyers defenceman Kimmo Timonen's stick. His first goal of the series was upheld after a brief review and it silenced a raucous crowd. * AP