What a wild game 1. It was the most goals scored in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals since 1982, when the Islanders defeated the Canucks 6-5. Game 1 was not indicative of how this series is going to be played. Both teams are insisting that they have to be better defensively and that, of course, is very true. That looked like 80's hockey out there, not that I minded all that much.
As reported on Sunday, the Flyers will go back to Michael Leighton in game 2. Yeah, he was lit up in game 1, but the Flyers will quickly admit that they did not play well in front of him. That is also true. Philly, like every other team the Hawks have faced in these playoffs admitted that they got caught playing Chicago's run and gun game. From what I have seen from them this postseason, they are a fair bit more defensive than Chicago is, yet the Hawks can play that way too. I think game 2 will look more like the 3rd period of game 1, where both teams settled down and played more defensively, while waiting for turnovers in their transition game.
The biggest wack stats of game 1 were the futility of both teams' top lines. Byfuglien, Toews and Kane combined for no points (adiose to Toews' point streak), 5 shots and a -9. Carter, Gagne and Richards combined for zero points, 10 shots and a -7.
It was Danny Briere who lead all teams in scoring with 1 goal and 3 assists. Scott Hartnell and Troy Brouwer each had 3 points, while 8 other players had 2 points. I thought that out of all the players, Marian Hossa stood out the most. Does this guy want a Cup or what? It seemed impossible for the Flyers to knock him off the puck, and he beautifully set up 2 of the Hawks' goals. Look for him to continually be a factor in this series as he tries to avoid the embarassment of losing in 3 straight Cup Finals. The other player I noticed being stellar was Chris Pronger, who played over 32:00, had 2 assists and was a +2. More on him in a sec.
The other whack stat is the the Flyers did not take any penalties in game 1. The FLYERS. Say what? The Hawks were shorthanded 4 times and the Flyers capitalized once.
The way Tomas Kopecky played in game 1 Andrew Ladd may as well stay hurt. Kopecky, who won a Cup with Detroit, jumped out of the press box and was a huge factor.
Panic time for the Flyers? Nope. At times like these you can see why Chris Pronger is a handy guy to have in your locker room. Check this out:
Is that great stuff or what? He wasn't finished there. Check this out.
Can't wait for game 2. I think Mirtle was saying that about 86% of home teams that win game 1of the Finals win the Cup. We'll see about that. I want this series to go the distance.
NOTES: James VanRiemsdyk is out, Daniel Carcillo is in, which will guarantee a win for Philly, ha!
Remember Adam Burish's dangerous hit on Lukas Krajicek in game 1 where he got called for boarding? Well here is his response to that hit:
"I don't want to see anyone get hurt but this is the finals. Anything goes out there," Burish said. "I'm not here to make friends."
No, you aren't making friends. But if Krajicek had been injured (he's not, he'll play tonight) you'd be watching from the press box. Here is the hit:
More on Burish here.