The Chicago Blackhawks are just one game away from ending the Stanley Cup drought in the windy city, but for some reason, you get the sense that this series is going to go the distance. The two teams are so evenly matched, as evident from the first three games of the series, which were decided by a one goal margin.
One thing is for certain, the goaltending of the Flyers is starting to let them down. It can’t all be put on Michael Leighton, he’s played fairly well, but the bounces have definitely gone the Blackhawks way, so much so, they must be feeling like a team of destiny right now. Game 5 saw Dustin Byfuglien return to his dominant self, something we hadn’t seen all series. Byfuglien seemed to regain his stride and was able to dish out a little payback to Chris Pronger who had plagued him and manhandled him in front of the net for the better part of this series. Pronger recorded one of his worst games, with -5 rating.
So far the home team has held serve in this series, obviously, Chicago won’t mind if the entire series plays out that way, considering they’ll have the last game at home. But there is a danger if they don’t win Game 6, that being the added pressure of Game 7 for the Stanley Cup on home soil. Game 7 would be played in front fans starved for a championship since 1961, and perhaps even a nervous crowd, and nobody wants to play in front of a nervous crowd.
I just can’t see Philadelphia ending their season in their own barn, they’re too good of a team and they have too many character guys in the lineup to allow that to happen. I’m going to be betting on the Flyers to win game 6, it’s only fitting that this series should go 7 games to put a cap on an exciting final and a great hockey postseason. I’m wondering what the Flyers are going to do with their goaltending situation, is Leighton the guy or is Boucher? The leash seems awfully short for Leighton who has had some issues between the pipes, but Boucher hasn’t exactly looked like Patrick Roy out there either. That’s a situation that needs to be sorted out quickly, the only thing worse than shaky goaltender is a shaky goaltender with no confidence.