PHILADELPHIA – Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game for the Flyers with 3:59 left in regulation and Philadelphia and the Chicago Blackhawks went to overtime tied at 3 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night.
The Blackhawks are one victory from winning their first Stanley Cup since 1961 and ending the longest active championship drought in the NHL.
The Flyers are seeking their first Cup victory since the second of consecutive titles in 1975.
Game 7 would be Friday night in Chicago.
Ville Leino set up Hartnell’s tying goal with nifty puckhandling between defenders and a backhanded pass through traffic in front. Hartnell shot it past Antti Niemi for his eighth of the playoffs.
Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp scored for Chicago.
Danny Briere had Philadelphia’s other goal.
Ladd deflected Niklas Hjalmarsson’s slap shot past Michael Leighton with 2:17 left in the period to give Chicago a 3-2 lead.
The Flyers briefly led 2-1 after Leino set up Briere’s goal with another perfect pass. Leino streaked down the middle into open space because Blackhawks defenceman Keith Duncan slipped. Briere one-timed the pass into the far corner for his 12th goal of the playoffs to give the Flyers the lead.
But Sharp answered quickly, firing a shot under Leighton’s left skate to tie it at 2. Sharp’s 11th of the post-season came during a 4-on-4.
Niemi stoned Simon Gagne on a breakaway early in the second to keep it 1-1.
Chicago outshot Philadelphia 39-22 in regulation. Leighton was shaky in the second period after 16 saves in the first. He was pulled for the second time in the series after giving up three goals in the first period in the previous game.
The home team has won each game in this series, starting with Chicago taking the first two and Game 5.
Byfuglien slipped a shot past Leighton from right in front 20 seconds into a power play for his 11th goal of the playoffs, giving the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. A high-sticking call on Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger, a strong contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy, gave Chicago the man-advantage.
Pronger, coming off a career-worst minus-5 in a 7-4 loss in Game 5, had two penalties in the opening period.
Hartnell scored his seventh goal of the playoffs on a backhander off a rebound of Briere’s shot with 26.5 seconds left to tie it.
An orange-clad, sellout crowd of 20,327 began chanting “Let’s Go Flyers!” during a stirring pre-game video montage and kept it up. For the final time this season, Lauren Hart, the daughter of longtime former Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart, sang “God Bless America,” alternating lyrics with Kate Smith, who was on a video image. Smith’s rendition of the song has been a rallying anthem for the Flyers since the mid 1970s.
The Flyers are trying to continue a remarkable post-season run.
They needed a shootout victory over the New York Rangers in the regular-season finale just to get into the playoffs. After beating New Jersey in five games in the first round, they staged one of the greatest comebacks in sports history by rallying from both a 3-0 series deficit and a 3-0 hole in Game 7 to beat the Boston Bruins. The Flyers then beat Montreal in five games to reach the finals for the first time since 1997.