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A few observations, notes and numbers from Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, won by the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 to bring the series to 2-2 heading back to Chicago:

1. Broadstreet darlings? One of the league's most penalized teams during the regular season, the Flyers have been shorthanded only nine times in the series compared to 16 for the Blackhawks. Discipline has surprisingly been an issue at times for Chicago -- and not Philadelphia -- although there have certainly been calls missed.

2. Depth on display: Four more players scored for the first time in the series: Flyers captain Mike Richards' game-opening goal, teammate Matt Carle's late in the first period, Blackhawks defenceman Brian Campbell's late in the third and then finally Jeff Carter's empty-netter. After four games, 21 different players have scored in the finals.

3. Power outage: The Blackhawks' power play (1-for-9) has been a big factor working against them in the series, especially given Richards's goal was the Flyers' fifth power-play marker of the series. Chicago's man advantage, one of the team's few average attributes during the regular season, finally broke through with its first goal of the series with eight minutes to play when Dave Bolland capitalized on a 5-on-3, but it proved too little, too late in this game. Philadelphia's penalty kill, meanwhile, has been excellent all postseason -- led by Blair Betts -- and that's continued in the finals.

4. Shufflin' Byfuglien: Blackhawks winger Dustin Byfuglien has struggled so mightily in this series that Chicago coach Joel Quenneville finally dropped him from his team's first line late in the game. Byfuglien has no goals, one assist and is minus-3 in the finals despite plenty of plum ice time with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. That trio is on its last legs.

5. Passing Propp: Winger Ville Leino's third-period goal to make the score 4-1 broke the Flyers' franchise record for points in one playoff year by a rookie. Leino has seven goals and nine assists for 16 points, one better than Brian Propp had in 1980, after recording only 11 points during the regular season.

Three Stars 1. Mike Richards, Philadelphia 2. Chris Pronger, Philadelphia 3. Duncan Keith, Chicago



The Hero: Chris Pronger

The big Flyers' blueliner was on the ice for all three of his team's goals for in the first period. He was also plus-4 in the game and is now an impressive plus-7 in the finals.

Pronger has successfully avoided taking bad penalties -- spending only two minutes in the box in the series -- while intimidating Chicago to the extent that players like Kane have been a non-factor. With 17 points in 21 playoff games, Pronger, at age 35 and playing 29 minutes a night, has emerged as the front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

The Goat: Niklas Hjalmarsson

The unheralded Swedish defenceman was solid in the series' first three games but didn't have a night to remember, coughing up the puck twice in the game's opening 15 minutes to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.

On the game's first goal, Richards stripped Hjalmarsson of the puck by lifting his stick and fired a shot past Antti Niemi. On the second, Hjalmarsson's weakly whacked a rebound that ended up on Carle's stick and then in the back of Chicago's net.

Game 4: By the numbers

9 - Total goals allowed by Flyers netminder Michael Leighton in six home games in the playoffs. Leighton is 6-0 at Wachovia Center since taking over in goal for Brian Boucher.

24 - Number of the previous 27 Stanley Cup champs that won Game 4 of their series. Since 1981, only the 2003 New Jersey Devils, 2001 Colorado Avalanche and 1999 Dallas Stars lost Game 4 and went on to win.

21:12 - Ice time for the Flyers' Mike Richards, tops among all forwards in the game. Richards scored his first goal of the finals to open the scoring and had five of Philadelphia's 30 shots on goal.

30:30 - Ice time for the Blackhawks' Duncan Keith, tops among all players in the game. Keith also had three assists but was beaten to a puck with time winding down as Carter iced the game with an empty-netter.

Nov. 9, 1996 - The last time the Blackhawks won a game in Philadelphia, regular season or playoffs. Chicago has a 10-game losing streak at the Wachovia Center and will be back there for Game 6 on Wednesday.

Game 5 preview

The Blackhawks still have home-ice advantage, but they haven't been particularly dominant at the United Center in these playoffs and have to be reeling given Philadelphia's impressive turn at home. It's now a three-game series -- and Chicago desperately needs Toews, Kane and its other impact players to step up come Sunday.

Follow on Twitter: @mirtle

 

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