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Tuesday, December 18, 2018  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Chicago takes lead

Byfuglien helps put Blackhawks up 3-2

CHICAGO – Big Buff got bumped from a struggling top line and responded with a performance that has lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to within one win of the Stanley Cup.

Dustin Byfuglien scored two goals and had a pair of assists as Chicago got off to a quick start and beat the Philadelphia Flyers 7-4 on Sunday night for a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup finals.

The 257-pound Byfuglien, who had eight goals in the first three rounds of the playoffs but none in the first four games against a tough Flyers defense, had a power-play goal in the second period and added an empty netter in the closing seconds.

“Getting down there two games in their building, we had to come back with some fire and get on them and show them we weren’t going to quit. Right from the get-go we moved our feet and were physical,” Byfuglien said.

Byfuglien’s top line that had included Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews was split up for Game 5, a strategy that worked for coach Joel Quenneville. They had combined for just one goal and four assists in the first four meetings with Philly. Kane also had a goal and an assist, and Toews added an assist Sunday.

Brent Seabrook added a power-play goal, and Dave Bolland, Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp also scored for the Blackhawks.

Chicago can capture the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961 with a victory Wednesday night in Philadelphia in Game 6. A Flyers win would send the series back to Chicago for a decisive Game 7 on Friday night.

“We’re not going to think about that now. We have to keep levelheaded and go into that building with the same mindset and have fun,” Versteeg said of Wednesday’s chance to wrap it up.

All five wins in the series have come on home ice.

Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen, James van Riemsdyk and Simon Gagne scored for the Flyers. Gagne’s goal with 2:36 left made it 6-4, but a half-minute later Byfuglien converted the empty-netter.

“We got outworked pretty good,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.

The Blackhawks blitzed goalie Michael Leighton with three goals in the final 7:43 of the first period, and the United Center erupted as Chicago quickly found the offensive game that had helped it make the finals.

 
Tags: hockey, NHL

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