It was Marian Hossa that seemed to spark his team’s scoring touch on Monday night, as his goal in the second period spurred Ben Eager to score just 28 seconds later.
The game itself was tighter and more physical than the series’ first game, of course. The Blackhawks’ eventual 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers gave them a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final and put them in good position as the series swings to Philly, but it was by no means a decisive win. The Flyers played a solid road game overall and looked good throughout the contest, despite falling apart during a few critical moments.
For Hossa’s part, he was just happy to put the puck in the net for a change. He finally scored after eight games without a goal and was glad to have the monkey off his back.
“It bugged me definitely that the goals were not going in for me,” said Hossa. “I was trying to create offence, either passing, but when I’m shooting the puck it didn’t want to get in. I tried not to get frustrated, but it’s in your head, you know. I was waiting for a garbage goal and hopefully now our line keeps going offensively better and better.”
Chicago was also able to hang on to a terrific performance from goalie Antti Niemi, too. He made 32 saves in the game and the crowd was chanting his name after the game. The Flyers were able to crack him once.
The series is far from over, however, and it would certainly be unwise for the Blackhawks to start planning the parade. Hossa knows this all too well, of course. He’s been in this situation before, with his former Detroit Red Wings being up two games over the Pittsburgh Penguins only to lose four of the following five games to watch the Pens march on to the Cup victory.
The Flyers made a few changes in the game, moving Dan Carcillo back into the lineup to stir some things up. His presence seemed to do the trick and the game took on a more physical tone, with plenty of chirping after whistles and a lot of scrums. Chris Pronger also had a solid game for the Flyers and his battle with big Dustin Byfuglien continued to rage on.
Still, the physicality wasn’t enough for the Flyers to come away with the victory and they’ll need to make use of their raucous home crowd when the series swings into Philadelphia. The sea of orange will be in full swing and the Flyers will be ready to feed off of that energy. It will be the most important game of the year for both teams, without question.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.