Friday the Flyers hurt my new love of hockey by beating the Blackhawks 5-3 and evening the Stanley Cup series 2-2. What is the problem with the Blackhawks? The Blackhawks have been winning with confidence but now they have lost two in a row so perhaps we can examine their difference in play.
Keep in mind I have never been a hockey fan until this year. I jumped on the Blackhawks’ bandwagon. I admit that is tacky to do but because of being distressed with the Cubs I thought the Blackhawks had developed a sure thing. I wanted to identify with a winner. Much to my surprise I actually started to enjoy hockey.
Shawn P. Roarke posted an article on the Blackhawks web site titled “Flyers Sink Blackhawks to Aid in final 2-2.” Chicago made a couple of changes in the starting lineup with players who were more aggressive and heavier. However the play of the Blackhawks in the first period was lax and the Flyers jumped off to a three-run lead. The game remained that way until the third period when the Flyers scored another goal making it 4-1.
What the Blackhawks had concentrated on was physical play and taking out the key player of the Flyers who is Vieno. He had scored for them recently. The Blackhawks just did not play inspired hockey. As a result they were scored on quickly and they were not allowed to score themselves other than the one goal in the first period until late in the third period. At that time they entered into a power play and scored two quick goals to make it 4-3.
As the game began to wind down they became more and more frantic. Finally their goalie left the net to help them. They had their chance. They had a couple of decent shots but the puck was mishandled.
So what is the situation? The Blackhawks were heavily favored going into the Stanly Cup Series. They had shown, particularly in the past six games before their two losses, that they couldn’t be rattled, that they expected to win, that they had confidence and they played hard confident hockey.
The Flyers have had a freaky season. They have come back from odds no one else has and it has made them a team that truly never gives up. It is like the tortoise and the hare. Consider the Flyers the tortoise and no matter how far ahead the Blackhawks (the hare) get they can never relax. The Blackhawks have to take them very seriously every minute they are on the ice.