After a long holiday weekend without any posts (woops) I figured it was time to put up something about the Stanley Cup Finals. Chicago took a wild Game 1 by a final score of 6-5 and got a brilliant performance from goalie Antti Niemi in a 2-1 win in Game 2. So here are some thoughts about the series thus far.
Antti Niemi stole game 2 for Chicago. Niemi had some incredible saves that other goalies might not have made. I'll be the first to admit that I questioned his ability going into the playoffs but he's shut me (and tons of other people) up after his performance thus far.
- When did Tomas Kopecky become a "tough guy"? I noticed him trying to push and shove a lot of people in last night's game and trying to start fights with guys like Dan Carcillo, Chris Pronger, and Mike Richards. He should probably think twice on any of those, unless he's forgotten about the broken face he suffered from Francois Beauchemin.
- Ville Leino has looked like what we had hoped he would look like in Detroit. He's getting clear chances and handling the puck very well while distributing it to teammates. He had a nice move in last night's game to inside-out a defender and put a shot on net. I think this is the result of him getting more playing time in Philly and on higher lines.
- I think the Flyers are one step from busting things open and getting back in this series. They had a ton of quality chances last night and if they had guys in better positions on rebounds they could have buried a few. I've noticed they play a lot with a guy behind the net and it's not working that well since the Blackhawks don't really have a guy pressing back there and all the passing lanes from behind the net are clogged as a result. I think if the Flyers transition to putting a guy in front of the net more they could have success with passing and rebounds.
- That being said, their defensemen have to play smarter at the points in the offensive zone. I noticed quite a few times in which the defensemen would pinch and odd-man rushes would happen the other way as a result. There's a fine line to balance in terms of sustaining offensive pressure and playing smart defensively so that might be a point to hammer home.
- Really, how are some Wings fans pulling for Chicago? This makes no freaking sense.
For Flyers coverage head on over to Broad Street Hockey and for Blackhawks coverage head to Second City Hockey.