After beating the Flyers 7-4 in quite possible the toughest game of their careers, the Chicago Blackhawks now look to bring Lord Stanley back to Chicago in the biggest game of their careers. In Game 5 we saw the Blackhawks come out with fire and energy, jumping on the Flyers 3-0 before the first period horn even sounded.
With all the momentum in the world the Blackhawk’s still allowed to hang around and keep it interesting. We saw the team once again go into a shell with a lead instead of keeping their foot on the pedal. While it’s nice to have a victory, Chicago allowed Philly to gain a little confidence by keeping up with the team in the 2nd and 3rd periods. In order for Chicago to win Game 6 they have to come out with that same fire, and keep the pressure on Philadelphia for a full 60 minutes.
The biggest factor in Chicago winning Game 5 was the brilliant line changes by Coach Joel Quenneville. He spread his star’s out and made Philly try to keep up with three legit scoring lines, instead of focusing on just one. The big question heading into Game 6 is will Philadelphia be able to adjust to these changes, and if they can will Chicago be able to do what they did in Game 5. Coming into this series we heard about the depth of both teams, and I think in Game 6 we will finally see just how good of depth each team really has.
One thing that was very noticeable in Game 5 was the number of penalties. For the first time in the series the Chicago Blackhawks had an advantage in the number of power play opportunities. We could chalk this up to the series finally evening out, or we can chalk it up to the Hawks finally found their composure. Whatever the reason was the Blackhawks must continue to limit the penalties in Game 6, and the Hawks must capitalize on the opportunities they are given.
BHOD Three Keys to the Game:
Score First: If Chicago can find a way to light the lamp early in the game, it would go a long way in taking whatever momentum Philadelphia and their crowd have away. The Hawks have to make Philadelphia weather the same storm that they faced in Game 5. We all saw what happens to the Flyers when they are forced to play an up tempo aggressive fore-check, and Chicago has to bring that same intensity to period one.
Pucks on net: In Game 5 the Hawks finally started throwing pucks towards the nets, which in turn resulted in a couple of easy goals. Chicago can not let Leighton or Boucher relax, keep them on their heels and make them think pucks are going to come from everywhere on the ice.
Clear pucks: The Hawks have struggled clearing pucks out of their own zone in this series. Their inability to clear these pucks have resulted in numerous Flyer chances. The boys in the Indian head sweater have to realize that they have time and can settle the puck down instead of forcing it. Any puck that is sitting out in the open needs to be cleared, even if it goes down for an icing it takes away a vital scoring chance for Philadelphia.