The following preview is courtesy of Sports Network. Follow along with us all day, as SB Nation's Travis Hughes is at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia for tonight's potential Cup-clinching Game 6 between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks.
The home team has won all five games in this best-of-seven set and Chicago grabbed a 3-2 series lead with a dominating 7-4 victory in Sunday's Game 5 battle at United Center.
After winning Games 1 and 2 on home ice, the Blackhawks were dealt consecutive losses in Philadelphia before retaking the lead in the series on Sunday night. Overall, Chicago is 7-3 as the guest in this postseason, while the Flyers have an impressive 9-1 mark on home ice.
Both the Blackhawks and Flyers are looking to end lengthy championship droughts. Chicago can lift Lord Stanley's Cup for the first time since 1961 with a victory tonight. The Flyers, meanwhile, will need to win this evening and also take Friday's Game 7 in Chicago to win their first title since 1975.
The Blackhawks were led by Dustin Byfuglien in Sunday's contest, as the big forward finally broke out, scoring two goals and adding two assists in the 7-4 decision. Byfuglien had been held to just one assist through the first four games before turning in his strong Game 5 performance.
"I don't know if I really got off my game. I just wasn't getting the bounces and the things that makes me happy," Byfuglien said. "I just knew I had to come in and work hard and do the best I can to help the team. That's the way I came in today."
Kris Versteeg had a goal and two assists, while Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland and Brent Seabrook each had a goal and a helper for the Blackhawks, whose power play was lethal after looking lethargic for the first four contests. Entering the game with a 1-for-9 mark on the man advantage, Chicago went 2-for-4 on Sunday.
"We just settled down and played our game, and that's a big factor," Byfuglien said of the power play. "Even with the even strength, we came out ready to go, controlling the puck a little better. That led into the power play with guys just settling down, confidence and just playing. That's something we needed to do."
Antti Niemi, fresh off giving up eight goals in Games 3 and 4 -- both losses -- allowed four goals on 27 shots to earn the victory. The Hawks now have history on their side, as the team winning Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals when tied, 2-2, has gone on to win the series 14 of 20 times. However, one of those six defeats came last season, when Pittsburgh rallied to beat Detroit in seven games.
Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa is also just one win away from his first Stanley Cup title after playing for the losing team in each of the last two Cup Finals. He was a member of the Penguins two years ago when they lost in six games to Detroit and was on the Red Wings last spring when they were defeated by Pittsburgh in seven games.
Scott Hartnell, James van Riemsdyk, Simon Gagne and Kimmo Timonen scored for the Flyers, who will have to make yet another comeback to finish off their fairy tale with a happy ending. Philadelphia, the seventh-seeded team from the East, recovered from an 0-3 deficit in the conference semis against Boston and an 0-2 deficit here in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Michael Leighton allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period, prompting the Flyers to insert Brian Boucher, who made 11 saves the rest of the way. Chris Pronger, who had been a steady defensive force for each of the first four games, took a minor penalty and had a career-worst minus-five rating.
"We didn't do a very good job in the neutral zone," Pronger said. "The first period we didn't get much of a forecheck. Subsequently, we were in our own end. It was just a matter of time. Staving off, staving off, eventually they're going to get to you. And they did."
Philadelphia's power play, which went 5-for-16 in the first four games, was 0- for-3 in Game 5.
Following the game, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was non-committal about who would start in net in Game 6, but all signs are pointing to Leighton.
"I don't have an answer for that," Laviolette said. "Our team needs to be better, the whole group, I believe, needs to be better. When we're successful, we do it as a team. When we lose and we have a night that's tougher, we do it as a team."
This is just the second-ever playoff meeting between Chicago and Philadelphia. The other battle was in the 1971 quarterfinals, a series that was swept by the Blackhawks.