2010/06/05

Now a Best of 3 Series

The Flyers won Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals in front of a crazy home crowd at the Wachovia Center to take even up the series at 2, and now it becomes a best of 3 series.

The Flyers jumped all over the Blackhawks in this game in the first period, and even though things got close at the end, the Flyers held off the Hawks to win the game 5-3. The Flyers got a great solo effort from Mike Richards to get on the board early in the first period. Shortly after, Matt Carle kept a Blackhawks clearing attempt in the zone and fired a puck into the open net. Carle's goal went as unassisted, but James van Riemsdyk played a big role on that play, bringing the puck around behind the net and getting it out in front. After a Blackhawks Patrick Sharp goal, Claude Giroux snuck behind the defense, and Kimmo Timonen found him with a great pass, and the Flyers took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.

After a scoreless 2nd period, Ville Leino banked a shot off a Blackhawks defender and passed Antti Niemi and gave the Flyers a 4-1 lead halfway through the 3rd. The Blackhawks would not go away however, and scored 2 quick goals to make it 4-3, and then had plenty of good opportunities down the stretch to tie it, but Jeff Carter put the game away with an easy empty netter, and give the Flyers a 5-3 victory. Ville Leino's goal allowed him to become the all-time leading Flyers postseason scorer for a rookie passing Brian Propp.

5 different Flyers had goals, and no one had more than 1 assist either. The top line that needed to step up, ehh sort of stepped up. Richards goal was on the power play, so it was not with his linemates, and was a solo effort anyways. Carter's goal was an empty netter that hopped over Blackhawks defender Duncan Keith's stick and gave him an easy breakaway goal. The top line did play better though, and Carter, although I still don't think he had a good game, did play better than Game 3. The top line really needs to get going though, and win a game in Chicago.

The Flyers did do what they should have and replaced Daniel Carcillo with van Riemsdyk, and although van Riemsdyk made some mistakes, he also has an assist, and a great play on the Matt Carle goal. van Riemsdyk solidified his spot, and should play on the Giroux, Asham line the rest of the postseason.

Michael "Lights Out" Leighton turned the lights out on the Blackhawks, and made 31 saves in the game. Leighton played very well, and there wasn't much he could have done on any of the 3 Blackhawks goals. The first one was deflected, again off a Flyers played, as Braydon Coburn deflected the puck into the net. The 2nd one was on a 5-on-3 advantage, so it's hard to do anything on that one. And the 3rd one was kind of fluky and just a matter of the Blackhawks sending the puck towards the net, and the puck kind of rid on Timonen and Toews going towards the net and went in. Leighton really has played well, and needs to do it on the road now to steal a game.
Chris Pronger has been fantastic this Stanley Cup shutting down the first line of Kane-Towes-Byfuglien. He has the Blackhawks players all complaining about his play, and he is pushing these 3 players around, and having his way. Pronger did not have a point last night, and actually only played 28 minutes, which is less than usual for him, but he always has an impact on the game, and in this postseason, it has been a very positive impact.

Now... there is still a lot of work to do. The Flyers do have the momentum, but all that momentum might stop come Game 5 when the puck drops in front of the Chicago crowd. The series is now a best of 3 series, and the Blackhawks have 2 home games to the Flyers 1. The Flyers need to find a way to steal a game in Chicago, and it really needs to be Game 5 since the Flyers do have the momentum. The Flyers do not want to let Chicago go up 3-2, and have to win 2 in a row, with the final one being in Chicago. The Flyers really need to come out and try to win Game 5. The top line has the capability of having a big game, and stealing a game. Michael Leighton has the capability to steal a game. The team needs to step up for Game 5, and come back to Philly with a win, a 3-2 series lead, and a chance to win the Stanley Cup Finals on home ice in Game 6. Of course, that is much easier said than done.