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Briere gives Flyers 1-0 lead after period @NHLdotcom

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Danny Briere scored his 11th goal of the playoffs late in the first period to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 1-0 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night.

Briere flipped a shot into an open net off a backhand pass from a falling-down Scott Hartnell on the power play. Goaltender Antti Niemi stopped Braydon Coburn's initial shot, but was out of position after Hartnell's acrobatic play.

The Blackhawks are two wins shy of their first championship since 1961, while the Flyers haven't won it all since the second of consecutive titles in 1975.

The odds favor Chicago. Only two team teams in 33 tries have won the first two games at home and lost the series. Just four teams have rallied from a 2-0 series hole in the Stanley Cup finals to win it all.

One of those teams - Pittsburgh - did it last year. The Penguins beat Detroit on the road in Game 7 after trailing the series 3-2.

After tying an NHL record with five goals in the first period of Game 1, the teams have combined for one goal in the opening frame of the next two.

The Flyers have shut down stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews so far. Neither player has a single point. Kane hit the post on a rebound shot about 13 minutes in.

Michael Leighton, who was pulled after giving up five goals in Game 1, stopped all nine shots he faced.

The period ended with players pushing and shoving, though no one dropped his gloves. Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien received a penalty for roughing that will give the Flyers a man-advantage 5 seconds into the second period.

The Blackhawks took the opener 6-5 in a frenetic-paced, back-and-forth shootout. Both defenses tightened up in Game 2 as Chicago earned a 2-1 victory.

In the first Stanley Cup finals game at the Wachovia Center in 13 years, a boisterous sellout crowd did everything it could to give Philadelphia the home-ice advantage. The orange-clad fans wore T-shirts featuring a photo of a singing Kate Smith and the words: "Broad Street Believin"'

The "Let's Go Flyers!" chants started more than 30 minutes before the puck dropped. The roars were deafening when Lauren Hart, the daughter of longtime former Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart, sang "God Bless America," alternating lyrics with 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.

These teams were preseason favorites to reach the finals, but they took different roads to get here. The Blackhawks finished second in the West and breezed past Nashville and Vancouver before sweeping top-seeded San Jose in the conference finals.

The Flyers endured a frustrating season that included a coaching change from John Stevens to Peter Laviolette and bounced back from 14th place in the 15-team East. They needed a shootout victory in the regular-season finale against the New York Rangers just to get in, overcame numerous injuries to key players and kept their run going with an historic comeback against Boston in the second round.

The seventh-seeded Flyers knocked off New Jersey in five games and then staged one of the greatest comebacks in sports history by rallying from both a 3-0 series deficit and 3-0 hole in Game 7 to beat the Bruins on Simon Gagne's power-play goal. They beat Montreal in five games to reach the finals for the first time since 1997.

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