GAME TIME: 5:00 PST
If you believe that the home team will win every game in this series, then no, it's not over. I've seen a different alarming stat that I am standing by, as far as predicting goes. In games 2-5, the team that scores the first goal wins the game. Game 1 was the only time that was not the case. Game 1 to me, was an anomaly of sorts in its insanity, and looked like a feeling-out process.
I think the Flyers have to score first in Game 6 to have a chance to push this to seven games. When they do so they can slow the game down and play their defensive style, almost allowing the Hawks to make pushes to tie the game and then capitalize on their mistakes. If the Hawks score first, the Flyers have to open it up to push for the tying goal. Then it looks like they try to match Chicago's more open style of hockey, which they cannot do. There is much good to be said about Chicago's versatility though. They can play either style of hockey. However the Flyers seem to play tighter with a lead.
But that's not the whole story. Chicago was relentless in Game 5. The Flyers could not match that. They could hardly sustain any pressure in Chicago's zone. On top of that, Chicago is getting a lot of breaks right now, scoring ping-pong goals and what not. It doesn't look pretty for Philly right now, but one thing is for sure: you cannot count out the Flyers yet. This series has been back and forth, with teams taking their turns looking dominant in games. For all we know, the Flyers could out-hustle and beat Chicago in Game 6, making Game 5 a distant memory.
The Hawks can win if:
-they continue to capitalize on the power play. They started the series 0-for-6 in the first 3 games of the series, but are 3-for-7 in the last 2 games.
-they continue to expose Chris Pronger's lack of speed. Coach Q's line juggling in Game 5 worked like a hot damn. Separating Toews and Kane wise very wise, Padwan.
-Dustin Byfuglien kills everything in sight, using his size to his advantage. That was a monster game by Buffy on Sunday. That type of game from him was long overdue in these finals, and hell, it sure did wonders for the Hawks' success.
The Flyers can win if:
-Michael Leighton can play lights-out hockey. The Flyers will go to him in Game 6, ending the mini-controversy in goal. Is it just me, or does this guy look weak on the blocker side? The Hawks shot there a lot in Game 5. I lost count. Personally, I would switch things up and go with Brian Boucher. Leighton looks "off" to me. He's been caught deep in his net several times lately. He doesn't look as confident as Boucher does. Just my 2 cents.
-Pronger needs to pull a Buffy and take control of the game, again. Game 5 may have been his worst game ever.
-the top line gets going! Mike Richards: 1 goal and 1 assist in the series. Simon Gagne has 2 goals and no assists. Jeff Carter: 1 goal and 1 assist. Chicago's top players were their best players in game 5. When are we going to see that from those 3 Flyers? Ville Leino has 3 goals and 4 assists vs the Hawks. So does Scott Hartnell. Daniel Briere has a massive 2 goals and 7 assists! The top line needs to get on the scoresheet. All I'm seeing from them is unsustained pressure in Chicago's end and individuality. Hell, maybe Laviolette should change his lines...
-Get that power play clicking again. They are 1-for-9 in the last 2 games after going 4-for-10 in the first 3 games.
Enjoy! This could be it for hockey until late September.
Oh and I gotta paste a Tweet from funny-guy Steve Dangle from earlier today:
If the Hawks win tonight, will Chris Pronger steal the Cup?