PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Blackhawks hoped for a split in Philadelphia that would have set up a Cup-clinching game Sunday night in Chicago. Now, Game 5 will be to reclaim the series lead, not Stanley.
"I know we're playing catch-up the whole game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after a 5-3 loss in Game 4. "I still thought you look at how we played from the catch-up standpoint, I still thought we were competitive. We were in the game. I don't know who was controlling, but they obviously had the lead.
"So they were dictating a little bit more than we would like," he said. "Certainly the goals were all types of goals we don't generally give up. I thought they came rather easily. That's one of the strengths of our team. We have to make them make plays to score goals."
From the Philadelphia perspective, coach Peter Laviolette said very little has changed, except one important factor -- the score.
"I said when we left there, again it wasn't just … I wasn't just talking," Laviolette said. "I thought we could have won both games. I like our game. I like what we're doing. In saying that, they probably thought they could have won Game 3. It's going back and forth quick both ways. Guys are really competing out there.
"But nothing changed for us. Our game hasn't changed. Just the score changed."
Man of the moment -- When injuries to Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere took three big cogs out of the Flyers' lineup in the first round against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers wiped the dust off Ville Leino. Now, three rounds later, they are tied in the Stanley Cup Final thanks to his strong play.
Needless to say, Laviolette is happy to have had the former Detroit Red Wing around to call upon.
"When we didn't get Ville in the lineup, I take responsibility for that," Laviolette said. "That's my job … part of my job is to get the most out of everybody. At the time we were winning a lot of hockey games, and there was a certain lineup that was in there. He just couldn't crack it. It wasn't necessarily a knock against Ville or his game. We just couldn't … we didn't have any spots. Our forwards were healthy, which was a good thing. We were winning a lot of hockey games. I just didn't want to mess with him -- the make-up of the room at the time.
"He's a terrific person," Laviolette said. "I don't know if you have gotten to know him a little bit, but he's a terrific person. He comes to the rink every day. He comes to the rink the same way today as he did back two months ago when he hadn't played for 10-games straight. And he's just a happy guy that wants to play hockey. I think it really shows out there in his game. That's one thing for me that shows is you can feel he just loves playing the game. I can, anyway. I can see that and feel that. The conversations at the time were 'yes, hang in there and keep working hard.' And he did. He worked hard."
In the process, he earned the respect and admiration of his teammates.
"Ville was scratched at the beginning of the playoffs, but he's been doing it for the past three rounds," Danny Briere said. "I saw a lot of skills when he came in, when he was traded here. You could tell that he was good with the puck. He had really good hands, good vision. But some guys figure, they figure it out. Other guys don't, so you never know. But right now he's in the zone. Everything he touches seems to be working for him. … But you have to work to create those bounces for yourself as well. I really believe that."
Did you know? I -- Here is a strange fact for Game 4. You might think Chris Pronger logged the most minutes on the Flyers, and he was out there for quite some time -- 25:41. But he was not the Flyers' ice time leader. That was Braydon Coburn, who played 26:35. And Coburn wasn't the leading minute man in the game, that honor went to the Hawks' Duncan Keith, who topped all players at 28:45.
Did you know? II -- Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger didn't have a point in Game 4, but was on the ice for all five of his team's goals and finished the game with a plus-4 rating, six hits and three blocked shots. It was the third time this series that Pronger has been at least plus-2 rating or better. He was plus-2 in Game 1 (6-5 loss) and plus-2 in Game 3 (4-3 OT win).
Did you know? III -- The Blackhawks have lost their past 10 games in Philadelphia (eight regular-season, two playoff), a streak that began in 1997-98. The last Blackhawks' victory at Wachovia Center occurred on Nov. 9, 1996, during the building's inaugural NHL season.
Home, sweet home -- The Blackhawks are more than a little delighted to be back in Chicago, even if the Stanley Cup Final is just tied and the 2-0 series lead seems like it was built a long time ago.
"We're excited with going back home," coach Joel Quenneville said as his team packed its bags for the flight home Friday night. "I know the Series is wide open. It's even. We get to go home.
"We have to take advantage of home ice," he said. "We played well there all year. As we progress in these playoffs as well, I just know momentum is an important thing for to us grab early at home. I still think we have to be smart, disciplined and make them play defense."
Packing 'em in -- If the weather wasn't so hot and humid in Philadelphia these days, there is little doubt you could move the Stanley Cup Final across the parking lot to Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL's Eagles, and really pack 'em in for a Flyers game.
As it stands, hockey has never been a bigger draw in Philadelphia, where Game 4 drew 20,304 to the Wachovia Center -- marking the largest hockey crowd ever at the arena and the largest crowd in the state of Pennsylvania to see an NHL game, breaking the mark of 20,297 established in Game 3 of the Final.
For the season, both regular and post, the Flyers have surpassed 1 million in attendance -- 800,966 fans attended 41 home games (an average of 19,536 per game), while 199,406 fans have attended the 10 home games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, bringing the total to 1,000,372.