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2010 Stanley Cup Finals: Four odd predictions for the finals

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We’ll have our more ‘normal’ predictions and picks up on PHT later this week, but just as there will always be a top scorer, a better goaltender and an ultimate victor in the Stanley Cup finals there will also be some unforeseen events that leave you scratching your head some or just basically fall outside the normal “why would anyone have predicted that to happen”.

Well, I’ll try. Knowing my luck at predictions, I doubt I get any of these right.

The leading scorer in the series will not play for the Stanley Cup champion.

I know, this one makes no sense. But here’s my reasoning.

Both of these teams have developed incredibly deep scoring in the postseason; the Blackhawks were built that way and the Flyers have seen some heroes emerge the past two series. For either team to win the Stanley Cup, they’ll have to continue to be deep on the scoreboard and receive production from their secondary scoring. The Flyers and the Blackhawks have the ability to shut down a top line or a leading scorer, it’s the team that responds with better scoring depth that will ultimately have the best chance to come out on top.

If one team is relying on one big scorer for all of their offense, then chances are they’re being shut down everywhere else. The team that is able to spread the scoring around the best will ultimately win the Cup.

By Game 3, we’ll be debating whether Chris Pronger will be suspended

Okay, maybe this one isn’t so bizarre or outlandish. So far, Pronger has been on his best behavior in the playoff and has yet to resort the leg-stomping, skull crashing plays that have earned him such a great reputation. Yet as he gears up for the Chicago Blackhawks, you can almost guarantee this is one team that knows exactly how to get under his skin.

Dustin Byfuglien and the Hawks are masterful at agitating, and it’s likely they’ll be taking their antics to new heights against Pronger is an attempt to knock him off his game and eventually off the ice.

We’ll see Brian Boucher at some point in the series

This isn’t to say that the Flyers will lose, or that Michael Leighton will be benched. Yet the Flyers have yet to face an offense the caliber of the Blackhawks and there’s a good chance that one of the first few games will get out of hand for the Flyers.

Despite the great postseason by Philadelphia, they’ve shown that they do have the ability to fall apart a bit during a single game. With Boucher close to returning as the Flyers’ backup, then you can certainly envision a scenario that Leighton is pulled after allowing four early goals.

Of course, then we’ll be debating whether Boucher should take his spot back as the starter.

At least one game will go into marathon-overtime mode

So far this postseason we’ve witnessed a number overtime games and one 3 OT (Pittsburgh-Ottawa), but neither the Flyers nor the Blackhawks have taken part in many of either. For that reason, we’re likely to see both, especially if both goaltenders continue to play as well as they did in the Conference finals.

There’s nothing quite like the stress involved in an overtime game in the playoffs, but when it’s in the Stanley Cup finals things are ramped up even farther. Add in a multiple overtime game, with teams ordering pizzas and getting IVs during intermissions and you have one of those epic games we’ll be talking about for years to come.