Down 2-0, the Philadelphia Flyers desperately need a win tonight when they return home for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The series began with a bang, as goals were plenty in Chicago's 6-5 victory in Game 1. Goals became more scarce in Game 2, as the defense and goaltenders picked up their play and Chicago edged the Flyers 2-1.
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Marian Hossa netted his first goal in nearly a month in Game 2, and Ben Eager scored his first of the postseason - which was also the game-Sportsbook. For the second straight game both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were held scoreless. Toews and Kane are still the Blackhawks’ top scorers in the playoffs, but Toews hasn't scored since Game 3 against San Jose and Kane's last goal was in the series finale against Vancouver.
The Flyers’ lone goal in Game 2 was scored by Simon Gagne, but Philly's lack of goals wasn't through lack of trying. Philadelphia outshot Chicago 33-26, but they couldn't beat a re-energized Antti Niemi. The Flyers outshot the Blackhawks 15-4 in the third period, but couldn't get the puck past Niemi to net the equalizer.
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Philly netminder Michael Leighton also had a bounce-back game on Monday night, but he couldn't match Niemi. Leighton got the hook in Game 1 after allowing five goals on 20 shots, but in Game 2 he made 24 saves to at least keep Philadelphia in the game until the final horn. With Game 3 being played back in Philadelphia the Flyers are slight favorites at -130 at Sportsbook.
The Blackhawks are underdogs for the first time in the series at +110. The Flyers have excelled at home during the playoffs and have won five straight and nine of their last 10 at the Wachovia Center.
Philadelphia may be beasts at home right now, but the Blackhawks are just as good on the road. Chicago has won seven in a row away from home, and overall during the postseason they're 7-1 as the visitors. If the Flyers are going to make a series of the final they have to win tonight, and it looks like they will.
If Philly can keep holding down Toews and Kane they should be able to keep Chicago from beating them tonight. With the raucous Flyers fans behind them, Philly should find new life at home and finally get on the board in the series.
Game 3 Flyers vs Blackhawks Matchup Stats and Odds