By Brady Stiff
…And what a time to come back. I want to apologize for the long hiatus.
The Hawks are up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Cubs are playing…well they’re playing, and we’re just a month away from the start of the most exciting summer in NBA history.
The Blackhawks have beaten the Flyers in two different ways in the first two games of the Finals. Game One was a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. The Hawks’ 6-5 victory was a game where you got them impression that even the players on the ice couldn’t control what was going to happen. I know that sounds ironic, but it’s the feeling I got.
In Game 2, both teams were much, much better. Both goaltenders were much, much better. Antti Niemi was just a little bit better than Michael Leighton, and so the Hawks won Game 2 last night, 2-1.
The physical play picked up quite a bit as well. Dan Carcillo of the Flyers was inserted into their lineup specifically to stir things up. He did his best alright. He immediately began throwing his body around, trying to get in the heads of the Blackhawks. It only worked once, as he drew a roughing penalty from Tomas Kopecky. For the most part, the Hawks played a very disciplined game, and therefore came out on top.
I think it’s obvious that the Blackhawks have more overall talent than the Flyers, but they won’t win on shear talent. They have to play the Flyers’ game. They have to be better than the Flyers at the physical stuff. They have to out-grind the Flyers. It’s not going to come easily, especially with the series shifting back to Philadelphia.
How many times last night did we hear the stat about the home teams winning the first two games of the Finals? We know history is on the Blackhawks’ side. But I hate statistics like that. It’s obvious that the team that wins the first two games has an incredible advantage. But each year is its own series, and anything can happen.
This all being said, the Hawks have won seven road games in a row in the playoffs. This sort of stat is unheard of. I have no idea why the Hawks have been so successful on the road. Maybe its their depth, maybe its their superior talent. I don’t know, but I’ll take it.
I think, that if the Hawks are going to win the Stanley Cup, everyone would want them to clinch it at home. But when you’re going for a championship, the ultimate goal, something you’ve been after since October, you just want to win it. Plus, there has to be some sort of satisfaction winning the Cup in someone else’s building.
Game 3 is tomorrow night in Philly. As long as Antti Niemi continues to play well, I don’t see a way the Hawks lose this series.