(Sports Network) - After notching a thrilling overtime victory the last time out, the Philadelphia Flyers will try to draw even in the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 at Wachovia Center.
Each of the three contests so far in this best-of-seven series have been decided by just one goal. Chicago claimed wins in Games 1 and 2 on home ice, but the Flyers responded with the OT victory Wednesday night in the City of Brotherly Love.
Claude Giroux's tally at the 5:59 mark of overtime lifted Philadelphia to a 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks in Game 3. The play began with Danny Briere carrying the puck down the left wing. He stopped below the circle, and dished to the point for Matt Carle. The young defenseman's slap-pass found Giroux in the slot for a deft deflection that managed to trickle through Blackhawks netminder Antti Niemi and in.
"Obviously, tonight we played our best game in the series," said Giroux. "I think we have to find a way to just play the same way."
Giroux finished with a goal and two assists for the Flyers, who are 8-1 on home ice during the postseason. Giroux is third on Philadelphia with 20 points this postseason and second on the club with nine goals.
Scott Hartnell added a goal and one helper while Ville Leino and Briere also tallied. Michael Leighton stopped 24-of-27 shots in the win for Philadelphia, which had lost seven straight championship-round games dating back to Game 6 of the 1987 Finals against Edmonton.
Patrick Kane, Brent Sopel and Duncan Keith tallied for the Blackhawks, who could have taken a near-insurmountable 3-0 series edge with a victory on Wednesday. Niemi yielded four scores on 32 shots in defeat.
"This series is far from over, but you can't really even look ahead until you're done with Game 4," admitted Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. "We had chances to put the game away and didn't do it. Regardless of the score of the series, we'll keep doing what we've been doing and take it from there."
For the Blackhawks, it was just their second road loss of the postseason as they fell to 7-2 away from the Windy City. Game 5 is scheduled for Sunday night at Chicago's United Center.
Chicago also had a seven-game winning streak in this postseason snapped. Wednesday's loss was the first setback for the Blackhawks since May 9, when they dropped Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Vancouver.
The Flyers are desperate to knot the series at 2-2 tonight. Philly is 13-6 all-time when a series is tied 2-2, but just 1-14 when trailing a series 1-3. Chicago is 14-0 all-time when taking a 3-1 lead and 13-18 when splitting the first four games of a playoff series.
Philadelphia and Chicago are both looking to end lengthy championship droughts. The Flyers last hoisted hockey's symbol of excellence following a successful defense in 1975, while the Blackhawks are searching for their first title in 49 years, the longest current dry spell in the NHL.
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.