Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

2010 Stanley Cup Finals: Blackhawks and Flyers still not at their best

Image (1) Carcillo8-thumb-250x229-12688.jpg for post 1878

This has been a very entertaining series to watch so far, especially considering some of the bad blood that is developing between these two teams.

Still, it’s sad to see both teams fail to play their best two games in a row.

The Chicago Blackhawks are still waiting for some kind of production from Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien. Granted, Byfuglien finally got a point in the game, yet the Flyers have done one hell of a job negating the top line of the Blackhawks. Conversely, the Hawks have shut down Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, with Simon Gagne finally getting a goal in the third period.

The difference in this series has been the scoring depth of the Blackhawks, something the Flyers have no way of matching game after game. Both games have been just one-goal losses, so it’s impossible to say that the Flyers have been grossly outplayed. Yet in a seven-game series, if you take away the top lines for both teams there’s no doubting which one of the Flyers and the Blackhawks will have the advantage night after night.

The Flyers were able to score five goals on Saturday night behind some timely goals by role players, despite their top forwards failing to register a point. For the second game in a row, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter struggled and it showed as the Flyers struggled to put together an offensive attack in the first two periods. The Flyers finally found their groove in the third period, yet the Flyers top players still failed to get on the board.

Once again, the Flyers walked away feeling like they played well and just needed to improve. After the game coach Peter Laviolette said his team definitely finished better than they started.

“I think we could have started a little bit better tonight. I’m not sure we should be frustrated,” said Laviolette. “I don’t think we got outplayed. I think when you’re at the end of the night you’re going to look at it again, probably outshot him, outchanced him a little bit and didn’t get the results we were looking for.”

The Flyers certainly improved in Game 2, yet despite the coach feeling they shouldn’t be frustrated are now down 2-0 headed back to Philly. For the Flyers to have any chance of pulling off a comeback, they’ll need to get much more from their top players.

The Blackhawks are facing a similar issue, still waiting for their best game to show up. Thankfully, the Flyers were more concerned with physicality and antagonizing the Blackhawks in the first period to worry about putting together a full 60 minute effort. Once again, the Blackhawks have relied a bit too much on the play of Niemi for their success, something the coach Joel Quenneville hopes will change in Philadelphia.

“We certainly didn’t want to spend that much time in our own end, and the quality that they’re getting, we had to be better,” said Quenneville after the game. “They’re coming, they’re pressing, and they’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays.

“I think that’s, you know, that was one of those games where we’d like to spend some time in their end. We’d like to have some more puck-possession game, we started the game the way we’d liked. Second period we might have been fortunate coming out with some very timely goals.”

If the Hawks and the Flyers both continue to have struggles with their best players producing, there’s no doubt the series favorites the Blackhawks. With a 2-0 series lead now, Chicago also has a significant advantage. Yet it’s been some timely saves by Antti Niemi and some bad bounces for the Flyers to keep this series from being more in the favor of Philadelphia, something the Blackhawks know must change moving forward.

Once this series gets back to Philly, the Flyers will become a much, much different team.