How many goals can the Chicago Blackhawks score in the United Center before “Chelsea Dagger” becomes irritating? If you’re a Blackhawks fans, the answer is always zero. If you’re an opposing team, the answer is probably one.
So how do you think the Philadelphia Flyers felt when they permitted seven goals in a Stanley Cup Final game at the UC? Probably not great. But it worked out well for the Blackhawks, and it adds another game to our countdown of most memorable Blackhawks playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville.
Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.
No. 29: 2010 Stanley Cup Final, Game 5
Chicago Blackhawks 7, Philadelphia Flyers 4
We’re pretty much just going to stick to the goals in this game, as talking about them will take up a lot of space to begin with. The Blackhawks were coming off back-to-back losses in Games 3 and 4 to tie this championship series at two, and they came out flying (no pun intended) in an effort to get their edge back.
Brent Seabrook, as he tends to do come playoff time, got things started during a Chicago powerplay a little more than 12 minutes in. Troy Brouwer won a puck along the boards and sent it behind the net to Kris Versteeg, who quickly shot it to Seabrook in the slot. The defenseman had all day to decide what to do, and he settled for a wrister through traffic. It wound up beating Michael Leighton and putting the Blackhawks ahead 1-0.
About three minutes later, future mustache aficionado Brent Sopel hammered a shot off the end boards behind Leighton, slowing the puck to a trickle in that area. Dave Bolland was the first one to the puck, and he simply turned and tapped it off the back of Leighton’s right skate and into the net for a 2-0 Chicago lead. The look on Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger‘s face is priceless after the play is over.
Da Windy City
Versteeg would push the Chicago advantage to three before the period was over, doing his best Patrick Kane impersonation by weaving around defensemen and holding on to the puck in the process. He wound up with a shot opportunity from just above the circles and managed to beat Leighton glove side.
Peter Laviolette had seen enough of Leighton after the first 20 minutes and went to Brian Boucher for the rest of the contest. Philadelphia responded, somewhat, with a goal in the first 45 seconds of the second period. Ville Leino walked right out in front of Antti Niemi and jammed the puck on net. Niemi thought he had it trapped, but it had trickled free to his right, where no one except Scott Hartnell was waiting. He deposited the puck into the twine to cut Chicago’s edge to two.
The Blackhawks kept pushing offensively, however. Patrick Sharp chipped a puck through a Philadelphia forward to Andrew Ladd, who was on a 2-on-2 with Kane. Ladd’s initial shot attempt was knocked down by Pronger, but Ladd stuck with the play and got the puck cross-ice to Kane, who had all day to beat a sprawling Boucher and give Chicago’s its three-goal cushion once more.
That would be short-lived, as Danny Briere created a mess in front of Niemi by throwing a shot on net with Hartnell also in the crease. The puck wound up bouncing out to Kimmo Timonen at the circle to Niemi’s right, and the defenseman wired a shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net, putting the Blackhawks’ lead back to two. It also prompted a “What chaos!” line from Doc Emrick.
We will mention one big save by Niemi right after Timonen’s goal. Simon Gagne sent a pass cross-ice to Mike Richards, who was all alone on the doorstep to Niemi’s right. He attempted a simple redirect on the pass, but Niemi got his pad over to stone Richards and make Pierre McGuire shout “Pure larceny!”
A penalty on Pronger late in the period set up Chicago to improve its lead once more. Some fantastic passing saw Sharp hit Kane with a pass along the boards, Kane find Duncan Keith at the point, Keith send it down low to Jonathan Toews and Toews force it to the front of the net for a tip-in by Dustin Byfuglien. The entire sequence took about five seconds and put Chicago ahead 5-2.
The Flyers weren’t close to done, however, as the trading goals game continued into the third. Lukas Krajicek (who?) put a shot on net from a little ways inside the blue line. Niemi made the save but offered a big rebound to James van Riemsdyk between the circles, and he put it home to make the score 5-3.
With less than four minutes left, it looked like that was how the score would stay. Both of these teams had other plans, however, starting with Chicago. Kane brought the puck into the offensive zone with Ladd at the opposite wing and Sharp up the middle. A pass back to Sharp and a mean shot later, the Blackhawks held a 6-3 edge. The shot was so quick that Boucher hardly budged in an attempt to stop it.
Again, Philadelphia wasn’t finished. Keith’s stick broke while the Flyers were moving up ice about a minute after Sharp’s goal. Leino carried the puck in deep and waited for Seabrook to go down and slide out of the passing lane, then fed Gagne for a near-open net, moving the ledger to 6-4.
Byfuglien gave himself a two-goal night to cap this one, firing the puck into an empty net from his defensive-zone blue line. He clearly went to the Toews school of reactions, because he shows absolutely no emotion after icing the game.
This wound up being the last game Chicago would play at the UC in the 2009-10 season, as the Blackhawks went on to their first Stanley Cup in 49 years in their next outing. Since there was so much happening in this game, I’d recommend watching the highlight package for some great almost-goals for both sides that I decided to gloss over, for the sake of keeping this post shy of 3,000 words.
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