Blackhawks ground Flyers to extend winning streak

CHICAGO (Ticker) — A record-breaking crowd watched the Chicago
Blackhawks make some history of their own.

Defenseman Brian Campbell and Dave Bolland notched a goal and an
assist apiece as the Blackhawks tied a franchise record with
their eighth straight victory with a 5-1 triumph over the
Philadelphia Flyers before an announced crowd of 22,712 on

Andrew Ladd, former Flyer Patrick Sharp and rookie Kris Versteeg
added tallies, while Martin Havlat and Patrick Kane each had two
assists for the Blackhawks, who last won eight straight from
January 4-21, 1981.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Sharp said. “We are not giving up
much defensively and that is the key. We have four lines and
six defensemen that are playing there roles. You can’t ask for
more than that.”

Captain Mike Richards netted his 15th goal of the season and
Martin Biron made 33 saves for the Flyers, who experienced some
difficulties with traveling and did not have a morning skate.

“We knew from the start it was going to be (mentally tough day)
today,” Richards said. “It is tough coming off a break and not
skating in the morning. But it didn’t seem like the effort was
there – it was 2-0 before we knew we were in game. If it wasn’t
for (Biron), it would have been a lot worse.”

Chicago has entertained 16 sellout crowds in as many home games
and leads the NHL with an average of 21,552 fans per game this
season. Its latest gathering also saw the Blackhawks beat the
Flyers for the second time in over 11 years.

“I thought tonight was one of our better games this year, all
aspects were very solid,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
“It was a good start and it was nice to get a quick two-goal
lead. We needed it because the second period, we couldn’t get
that third goal we were looking for.”

They entered having tallied only nine goals while dropping six
straight to the Flyers, and were 1-12-0 against them since
December 12, 1997.

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Ladd opened the scoring 73 seconds into the contest and Sharp
netted his team-leading 19th goal of the season 82 seconds

“It’s great when the first line scores on the first shift, and
you haven’t even hit the ice yet,” Kane said. “It was important
to get off to the quick start and get our big crowd behind us.”

Richards converted passes from Arron Asham and Jeff Carter 7:42
into the session, but Nikolai Khabibulin was impenetrable the
rest of the way. The Russian netminder finished with 17 saves
en route to notching his fifth straight win against

Chicago improved to 11-1-4 at home this season.

“For whatever reason, we seemed ready to use our travel problems
as an excuse from the start,” Philadelphia coach John Stevens
said. “You can’t do that against a team that has lost only one
game (in regulation at home) all season.”

The Blackhawks outshot the Flyers, 38-18, overall and by a 14-1
margin in the second period. However, it was not until the third
that Chicago ran away with the victory.

“It’s great to be behind the bench, I’ll say that,” Quenneville
said. “Everyone is chipping in and wants to play. Hopefully we
will keep it up.”

Campbell unleashed a slap shot from in front of the blue line
for his sixth tally of the season while on the power play 39
seconds into the final session.

Leading all rookies with 26 points, Versteeg beat Biron while
sitting on the doorstep 4:07 into the third and Bolland capped
the three-goal rally with a wrist shot from the slot one minute

“The key is everyone is buying into the system and we have four
lines that can score,” Versteeg said. “Our fourth line has
played great and they inspire the rest of us.”