Flyers Need Overtime, Replay But Beat Blackhawks 4-3

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PHILADELPHIA — Twice, the Philadelphia Flyers needed video replay to decide if a goal counted. One did, one didn't.

Claude Giroux didn't need the officials to check his winner.

Giroux scored 5:59 into overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 overtime victory over Chicago in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night, cutting the Blackhawks' series lead to 2-1.

Game 4 is Friday night in Philadelphia.

Giroux scored on a deflection off Matt Carle's pass, beating Antti Niemi to decide the third straight one-goal game in the series.

The Blackhawks, trying to win their first Stanley Cup title since 1961, snapped a seven-game winning streak and a seven-game road winning streak.

Giroux ended the game moments after Simon Gagne thought he scored the winner, only to have replay officials rule the puck didn't cross the goal line.

The game kept going — but not for long.

It was the second time replay was needed to determine a Flyers' goal. They went 1-for-2 — but, oh, how huge that one was for the Flyers in their first Stanley Cup home game since 1997.

Scott Hartnell had a no-goal overturned by replay to spark the Flyers to their first Cup win since 1987. Danny Briere and Ville Leino also scored for the Flyers, helping them win a game they desperately needed to avoid their second 3-0 hole of the playoffs. Michael Leighton made 24 saves for the Flyers.

Giroux's goal was the only shot in OT for the Flyers. Niemi stopped 28 shots in the third straight thriller in the series.

Duncan Keith, Brent Sopel
and Patrick Kane scored for the Blackhawks.

The Flyers heard the goal horn twice on one goal midway through the second period to go up 2-1.

Chris Pronger's power-play slap shot was deflected by Hartnell, trickled through Niemi and eked past the red line. Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson's diving stab at the puck cleared it back onto the ice as the goal horn sounded.

Flyers fans were irate over the blown call as play continued for another 1:42 even as the red light spun like a siren light.

When play stopped, officials reviewed the play. Flyers fans howled in delight and coach Peter Laviolette watched stern-faced as numerous replays on the big screen showed, in fact, the goal was good.

Referee Bill McCreary skated on the ice and declared, "Upon further review, we have a good goal."

It seemed the fortuitous type of goal that would shift for good all the momentum toward the Orange and Black.

Not so fast.

The Blackhawks didn't reel off the second-longest road winning streak in NHL playoff history by wilting when the game got tough.

Sopel blasted a shot past Leighton from inside the point to make it 2-2 — a shot the goalie likely never saw because of an ill-timed screen by Flyers defenseman Lukas Krajicek who was standing in front of him.

Chicago and Philadelphia swapped goals 20 seconds apart to make it 3-3 early in the third. Kane was all alone on a breakaway when he beat Leighton stick side for his first goal of the Stanley Cup final and Chicago's first lead, 3-2.

Leino revived a suddenly hushed crowd when his rebound off Giroux's shot tied it 3-all.

The Flyers seemed determined to win it in regulation and pounded Niemi in the third. He delivered by stopping 14-of-15 shots.

Niemi wasn't so lucky late in the first.

The Flyers struck first on Briere's 11th goal of the postseason that simply left mouths agape. Braydon Coburn's shot bounced off Niemi's mitt, Hartnell made a blind backward pass to Briere who flipped a shot into the open net to make it 1-0.

The first lucky bounce of the game came courtesy of Keith's slapper the glanced off Jeff Carter's stick and sailed into the net.

Kane had the assist for his first point of the series and make it 1-1.

The goal was one of the few times the decibel level at the Wachovia Center returned to easy-listening levels.

In the first Stanley Cup finals game at the Wachovia Center since Game 2 of the 1997 final, the crowd was unglued from warmups. The rocking sellout crowd of 20,297 was the largest to ever watch an NHL game in Pennsylvania.

The Flyers should have handed out earmuffs instead of orange T-shirts. It sounded like there was a pregame flyover when Leighton led the Flyers out of the tunnel to the "Rocky" theme.

The Flyers improved to 8-1 at home this postseason.

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