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CHICAGO (AP) — Antti Niemi's days of driving a Zamboni are long gone. Instead of cleaning the ice as he once did in his native Finland to make a few extra bucks, he's clearing away pucks and hoping to help the Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup.
Niemi made 14 of his 32 saves in the third period and Chicago beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 Monday night to take a 2-0 series lead on Monday night.
It was different-styled game from the opener when Niemi let in five goals before the Blackhawks outscored the Flyers 6-5.
"I think our 'D' played maybe a little bit better in front of the net in blocking shots and letting me see the puck," Niemi said. "But it's always a little bit about the luck, too, how you see the puck, and how it bounces."
Game 2 took on a different tone from the outset.
Defenses were tightened. Bodies were flying and tempers flaring. There was one striking similarity — Chicago's young stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane again failed to account for a point, but the Blackhawks still won.
It was Niemi's last-period performance that really brought the raucous crowd to its feet when the puck finally slid down the ice and the Flyers wouldn't score in the final 1:44 after pulling goalie Michael Leighton for an extra attacker.
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