Series (Game 1 of 1)

Philadelphia leads 1-0

Game 1: Saturday, March 13th

Blackhawks 2

(44-18-5, 93 pts)

Flyers 3

(36-27-4, 76 pts)

1:00 PM ET, March 13, 2010

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
CHI 0 0 22
PHI 0 0 33

M. Leighton (Flyers - G): Saves: 39, Save Pct.: .951

C. Pronger (Flyers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

S. Hartnell (Flyers - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Blackhawks-Flyers Preview


The Chicago Blackhawks are cruising toward their first division title in 17 years, but they have their sights set on loftier goals.

They could gain a share of the Western Conference lead with their first road win over the Philadelphia Flyers in more than 13 years Saturday afternoon.

Chicago (44-17-5) is 16 points ahead of second-place Nashville for the Central Division lead and two behind conference-best San Jose, which hosts Florida on Saturday.

The Blackhawks, who last won a division title in 1992-93, and the Sharks have been battling for West supremacy throughout the season.

"Seems like we've been tied with them 30 times this year," left wing Patrick Sharp said. "Why not shoot for first in the conference and first in the league? We want to build as the playoffs come on."

Chicago also has a shot at the Presidents' Trophy. The team currently with the NHL's best record -- Washington -- plays in Chicago on Sunday afternoon after the Blackhawks visit Philadelphia (35-27-4) for the first time since a 3-0 loss Oct. 30, 2006.

Sharp helped Chicago to its seventh win in nine tries Wednesday, netting his second goal of the game at 2:08 of overtime in a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles.

Patrick Kane set up Sharp's first-period goal and will now try to get within a game of his career-high 11-game point streak from Dec. 22-Jan. 9. The right wing has four goals and 10 assists in the last nine games, giving him career highs of 26 goals and 75 points.

Kane's two assists helped the Blackhawks beat the Flyers 5-1 at home in the most recent meeting Dec. 26, 2008. He'll try to help them snap a seven-game slide in Philadelphia, dating to a win Nov. 9, 1996 -- 10 days prior to Kane's eighth birthday.

The Flyers, 20-12-2 at Wachovia Center, are tied with Montreal for sixth in the East after falling 5-1 to eighth-place Boston on Thursday to halt their five-game home winning streak.

"We all need to be better, from me all the way down," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "It was a very big game. They were four points behind us and this was a chance for us to distance ourselves from them. For whatever reason, (we) didn't come up with a good effort at all."

Jeff Carter's effort has been superb of late, scoring a goal in three consecutive games and totaling 10 during Philadelphia's 7-2-1 stretch. The center leads the team with 32 goals and 58 points but has only one assist in three meetings with Chicago.

Michael Leighton will likely get a 13th consecutive start and his first against the Blackhawks, with whom he played his first two NHL seasons. He gave up four goals on 25 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period Thursday.

Leighton has a 3.41 goals-against average in his last five games, getting chased twice.

It's unclear who Chicago will use in net, though Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi could each get a start this weekend. While Huet has a dismal .854 save percentage in his last seven games and was pulled from his most recent start, Niemi is 5-1-0 in his last seven games after making 28 saves to win Wednesday.

Niemi has never faced the Flyers, and Huet is 3-0-1 with a 2.54 GAA against them.