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Philadelphia Flyers Set For Game 3 of Stanley Cup Finals Against Chicago Blackhawks

The following preview comes courtesy of Sports Network. SB Nation's Travis Hughes is at the Wachovia Center for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, so check back throughout the day for the hype leading into Wednesday night's game. In the meantime, read more at our Flyers blog, Broad Street Hockey, and our Blackhawks blog, Second City Hockey.

The Philadelphia Flyers hope a trip back home can get them on the board in the Stanley Cup Finals when they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 tonight at Wachovia Center.

The Blackhawks held serve at the United Center in Games 1 and 2, winning both games by one-goal margins. Chicago earned a 2-1 decision in Monday's second contest to grab a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Chicago is 18-2 all-time when winning the first two games of a playoff series and is now just two victories away from its first Stanley Cup title since 1961.

The Flyers, who haven't won the Cup since 1975, are counting on getting back in this series in Philadelphia, where the club is 7-1 since the start of the playoffs.

"Obviously, not the way we wanted to start the series," Flyers captain Mike Richards said after Game 2. "But going home, I said all along, we played well there. We feel very comfortable playing there. So we have to go in and play like we have been lately."

The problem for Philadelphia is Chicago has been just as good as the road team during this postseason, posting a 7-1 record away from the Windy City.

Also tonight, the Flyers will also be aiming for their first win in the Stanley Cup Finals in 23 years. Philadelphia, which was swept by Detroit in the 1997 Cup Finals, last won a game at this stage against Edmonton in Game 6 on May 28, 1987.

The Blackhawks scored two goals in a span of 28 seconds late in the second period on Monday and then rode goaltender Antti Niemi to the 2-1 victory,

Marian Hossa and Ben Eager scored the quick goals in Game 2, a contest that was a different beast from the 6-5 offensive show in the series opener.

"We're finding ways to win these one-goal games," said Chicago right wing Patrick Kane. "You start out 2-0 just by winning by one goal. It's a funny thing, but I think throughout the season you see it by being down three or four goals and winning the game."

Niemi, lit up for five goals on 32 shots in the first game, had a terrific performance over the last two periods of this contest, as he stopped 29 shots in the final 40 minutes and finished the game with 32 saves. He has led Chicago to seven straight victories, dating back to Game 6 against Vancouver in the conference semifinals.

"He just shows up to play every night," said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith of Niemi. "He works real hard in practice. He doesn't like any pucks getting by him. We're real confident when he's in net."

Simon Gagne scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, tallying his eighth goal of the playoffs in the third period. The Flyers dominated Chicago over the final 20 minutes of regulation in Game 2, outshooting the Blackhawks by a 15-4 margin.

"It's disappointing because we had our opportunities in the third period," said Richards. "We had a mediocre second period that cost us. We need to have a consistent 60 minutes next game."

Flyers netminder Michael Leighton, back in net after being pulled late in the second period of Game 1, stopped 24 shots for the Flyers.

The Flyers have won just one series in their history after falling behind three games to none and, of course, that came earlier this postseason when they rallied to defeat Boston in seven games.

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.