Philadelphia Flyers-Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Showdown? All Signs Say Yes
Turns out the NHL's vague marketing slogan is indeed correct. History will be made.
But it won't be San Jose being the fourth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. And it won't be Montreal becoming the second No. 8 seed in NHL history to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.
After what is sure to be a grueling series, you'll either see the Flyers hoist the Cup for the first time since 1975, or the Blackhawks for the first time since 1961.
It might be a little premature to say that, especially with how unpredictable and downright crazy this postseason has been so far. We've already seen one 3-0 comeback in these playoffs.
San Jose is not out of the playoffs yet. They've lost the first three games by only a total of four goals combined. So who's to say the Sharks are done? The Blackhawks might have a pretty big say in that, considering they haven't lost four straight games all season. They're sure as hell not about to do it to end their season.
Dustin Byfuglien's overtime goal Friday night made Chicago a virtual lock to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. And if you saw the reactions from all involved parties: the Chicago bench, the San Jose bench, and the fans, you could tell. San Jose knows it's more or less over.
And how in the world can I count Montreal out of this series? They came back from a 3-1 series deficit against heavily favored No. 1 seed Washington in the first round, and rallied from a 3-2 series deficit against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Can the Canadiens make it three comebacks in a row? No. I wish, because they've been as fun as anything to watch unfold, but it's just not in the cards this time. Jaroslav Halak has been something else in this postseason, and should be unanimously handed the Conn Smythe trophy if he can somehow lead the Habs to the next round. But he can't do everything for this Montreal team.
Most importantly, he can't score goals. Figures he has a lot in common with the Canadiens' forwards as of recently. They've scored five goals in the four games against Philadelphia so far—and all five goals were in Game Three. That's right, they've been shut out three times in four games by Michael Leighton, who's doing his very best Jaroslav Halak impression.
When you have two goalies playing like Halak and Leighton are playing, it comes down to which team makes more mistakes which leads to scoring chances. So far, it's been Montreal, for the most part. The chances that Montreal could pull out of the offensive doldrums they're in now to rally and win three straight games against a Philadelphia team that has won seven of their past eight, is highly unlikely.
Congratulations are still certainly in order for the Canadiens and the Sharks, however. The Canadiens proved to the hockey world that no team should be overlooked come playoff time, and the Sharks silenced the critics that referred to them as chokers. They ultimately will lose the war, but they won some very important battles.
When the smoke finally clears for good in a few days, Chicago and Philadelphia will be left standing. Both looking for their first Stanley Cup in decades, both playing the best they have all season. When the smoke clears between those two, you can only guess who will be left standing then.
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