How does that song go?
“Tonight’s gonna be a good, good night”.
I hope so anyway.
They showed a picture of the rafters at the United Center during the NBC broadcast of Game 5 on Sunday night. There’s a lot of banners between the two main inhabitants…the Bulls and the Blackhawks. The Hawks have a chance to add another pretty important one tonight.
With a win, they would bring home the 4th Stanley Cup in franchise history, and the first since 1961, but I’m sure you knew that already.
Every talking head I’ve heard talk about the series has said that they think the series is coming back to Chicago for a decisive Game 7. I have to disagree. It’s not because I’m a homer or I’m typing with my heart, but because I think the Hawks found a recipe for success in Game 5.
Joel Quenneville knew his team is so much deeper than Peter Laviolette’s, and he used that knowledge to dominate the game. He switched up his lines to spread his scoring talent out, forcing the Flyers to pick and choose their spots for their best defensemen. As a result, Chris Pronger, who had irked the Hawks until then, had his worst game in recent memory, going minus five, and being in the penalty box when the Hawks scored another.
Dustin Byfuglien earned the first star, and my did he deserve it. Not only did he score twice (once on an empty net), he was much more physical in this game. The fact that he wasn’t on the top line anymore allowed him the freedom to throw his body around more, especially on Pronger.
Patrick Kane finally had room to move, it seemed like. Every time he has the puck he carries it so long because he can. Hell, my friends and I have started whistling “Sweet Georgia Brown” when he gets the puck because of his Globetrotter-like stickhandling skills. He scored as well, and had an assist, giving him 25 points in the postseason. His 25, and Jonathan Toews’ 29 points give the Hawks 54 points from their two young stars. That has to be some kind of record, but I’m too lazy to look it up.
Antti Niemi was less than spectacular, but he didn’t have to stand on his head like he has in the past. When the Hawks’ offense is working like it can, they almost don’t need a goaltender. The first period especially was ridiculously good on the Hawks’ part, as they dominated in the Flyers’ offensive zone. I would be willing to bet that the Flyers had less than 90 seconds of offensive zone time in that first period.
There’s no doubt that Game 6 will be tough. In Philly, in an elimination game, against a good Flyers team. I just think that the Hawks depth and talent will take over. It’s a much more even attack they have. They can escape Pronger. They can keep forecheck pressure up.
I have a feeling that despite Philly’s last line change advantage, the Hawks will be bringing home Lord Stanley’s Cup tonight.