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Monday June 7, 2010 9:00 pm

49-year drought just days away from ending




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Championship, NHL, Playoffs,

Dustin ByfuglienChicago finally applied the strategy everybody knew would work: stop Chris Pronger, win the game. In that order. Pronger was an uncharacteristic minus-five in a 7-4 Chicago win in Game 5. The Blackhawks are now one victory away from ending their reign as the team with the longest streak without having won a Stanley Cup. 1961 feels a lot longer ago than 49 years for many fans in the Windy City, and they may only have wait as few as two more days to bring the Cup back home.

After coach Joel Quenneville split up his top trio of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Dustin Byfuglien to provide more depth throughout their lines, the Hawks made winning look easy. The three combined for seven points. Chicago scored three times in the first period and spent the rest of the game trading goals with the Flyers. Four times Philly was able to close the margin to two, but Chicago was too overpowering in their defending and handily won a game that was never really in doubt.

Chicago rifled 13 shots on Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton in the first period; 10 of which were stopped, but that was not enough to keep him in the game. Brian Boucher came in to stop the bleeding, who was only partially effective. Chicago did not pepper the Flyers goalies, but they certainly controlled the puck. They won 55% of the faceoffs throughout the game, including 71% of puck drops while shorthanded, which really limited Philadelphia’s chances with the man advantage.

Game 5 was the kind of game most people expected to see throughout the series. Michael Leighton and Mike Richards are really going to have to step up their offensive games if they want to give Chicago a run for the Cup in Game 6 on Wednesday night. Coming back from a 3-2 deficit is not unheard of, but Chicago is definitely the stronger team right now. Home ice has been an advantage in every game of the series, but even if Philly squeezes out one more win, the climactic final game will be in Chicago.

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