2010 Stanley Cup Finals: Niemi, Hossa Lead Blackhawks To 2-0 Lead

May 31st, 2010 by TAB BAMFORD Leave a reply »
It might be time for the NHL to begin a "History will be made" commercial that ends with "What if Niemi said yes?"

In what has become the story of the young Finnish goalie's career, Chicago Blackhawks netminder Antti Niemi bounced back from a rough performance on Saturday night to deliver a signature performance in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals. When a third period that drew memories of Glen Hall, Tony Esposito and Ed Belfour concluded, Niemi was named the game's number one star and listened as 22,000 ecstatic fans chanted his name.

After a Game One that saw very little effective defense played in the first 40 minutes, Game Two began as a physical assault by both teams on the boards instead of the back of the net. The teams combined for 33 hits and zero goals in the first frame, but the Blackhawks carried the action early.

"The first period I thought they came out strong," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said after the game. "I thought they held the edge in physical play in the first period... Their first period was stronger. We like to come out stronger than that... I think their game influenced it a little bit. ...

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