This just in…..the Philadelphia Flyers are good. Coming into this series I’m sure a lot of people had this pegged for a clean sweep. I mean come on its a measly 7 seed against a dominant 2 seed, what can they really bring to the table? How about heart, and a defense that has so far shut down the Blackhawks top line. Philadelphia has been here before, with their backs against the walls, scratching and clawing to find a way to stay in it. The question that need’s to be asked is can the Blackhawks contain that?
The only way Chicago is going to combat the energy and heart of Philly is by playing simple. We all know Chicago is one of, if not the most lethal team in hockey when they play a simple type of offense. Chicago needs to cut the cute factor out of their game, and go back to the dump and chase type of offense. Get the puck in, work it around and pepper the goalie with shots. In Game 3 we seen the return of the drop pass along with the return on the one man stick handling turn over show at the blue line. Philadelphia plays too good of a defense to be fooled by these things, and snuffed them out whenever they saw them.
The simple game also needs to carry over to the power play unit. In Game 3 the power play unit was terrible, passing up shooting opportunities for passes. On the flip side the penalty killers were equally as bad, allowing the Flyers to establish net presence which led to two power play conversions. Chicago must find a way to get their special team’s going in this series as they have gone 0-6 on the power play and 4-10 on the penalty kill.
Going into Game 4 the Chicago coaching staff has an interesting conundrum. That conundrum is, if Andrew Ladd is ready to play who do you sit? Tomas Kepecky has been a nice surprise since being inserted into the lineup for the injured Ladd, so you shouldn’t expect him to be benched. Ben Eager has had a fantastic series so far, making the most of his limited opportunities, and is a much needed physical body out there. That leaves Adam Burish as the odd man out. Burish has been almost nonexistent in the Finals so far, recording 0 points and a +1 rating in the 3 game’s so far.
Niemi_No_No’s 3 Keys to the Game:
Pucks on Net: As we seen in Game 3 by Philadelphia, when you throw pucks towards the net good things will happen. Chicago needs to pepper Leighton with shots from all over the ice, and hope for rebounds. In Game 3 Chicago looked hesitant when they had the puck in the offensive zone, and instead of firing pucks they settled for little passes.
Cycle Game: Where did the cycle game go? Chicago must utilize the cycle game to open up the ice, and get the Flyer defenders on their heels. If Chicago can get the cycle game working and put pucks on nets, it could be a long night for Philadelphia.
Clearing Pucks: How many times in Game 3 did we see a Chicago Blackhawk player attempt to clear the puck, only to see it stay in the zone? It almost seemed like the players did not realize how much time they actually had, and instead of settling the puck they tried forcing it out while it was on edge, thus leading to turnover after turnover.