Hawks: Flyers got the power
The visitors say the power play is key.
The Blackhawks can talk about losing a road game for just the second time in the playoffs. They can feel nauseous about a Flyers goal that was reviewed before it was awarded Wednesday night.
But after losing 4-3 in overtime in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center, the Blackhawks will spend much of their time before Friday's Game 4 examining their special teams.
It could be the key in keeping the Flyers, who are down two games to one in the series, from rallying.
"Their power play is pretty hot, and our power play isn't," Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane said. "We'd like to get some more opportunities, but their power play has been playing pretty good. We have to stay out of the box and stop taking penalties."
Half of the Flyers' goals were scored on power plays in Game 3, while the Hawks didn't score on any of their three opportunities. The Hawks have yet to score on a power play in the series, while the Flyers capitalized on one in each of the first two games.
The Flyers' first two goals Wednesday night came on power plays from Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell, providing a 2-1 lead midway through the second period.
Said Hawks defenseman Brent Sopel: "We're taking too many penalties. They're a great team with a big power play. We definitely have to be smarter."
Ladd for Game 4? Andrew Ladd practiced with the Blackhawks on Wednesday morning for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury, but he still was a scratch for Game 3. He has not played since early in Game 4 of the conference finals.
Good news. So far, the Stanley Cup Finals has been a success for the NHL by every measure, with record TV ratings locally and nationally and impressive results for merchandise sales.
Through the first three games of the Finals, total merchandise sales volume has already surpassed the entire seven-game Finals last year, the league said.
"The very devoted fans in both of these markets have shown tremendous support of their teams," Bryan Nosal, senior buyer for J.C. Penney, said in a statement. "Our hot market results have been beyond our expectations thus far, and we anticipate exceptional results for whichever team wins."
As for TV, viewership on NBC has been the best on network TV in 13 years, the NHL said.
Through two games on NBC - Games 3 and 4 are on Versus - the Stanley Cup Finals averaged 5.16 million viewers, the highest for the first two games on U.S. broadcast television since 1997, when the Flyers and Red Wings drew 5.69 million on FOX.
The 5.16 million viewers is a 7 percent increase over last year's 4.82 million.
Monday's Game 2 of the Finals attracted 5.89 million viewers, the most since records have been kept, since at least 1975.