NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Don't Count Out the Philadelphia Flyers

Bleacher ReportContributor IMay 24, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 24:  Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates with his team after scoring a goal in the first period against Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wachovia Center on May 24, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After making easy work of the Canadiens in five games for the Eastern Conference Title, you’d think the Flyers would be rolling on as real contenders for the Cup. But the Blackhawks did them one better, sweeping the powerhouse San Jose Sharks in the West.

Everyone is picking Chicago to win this series with ease because they made such an example of teams like Vancouver and San Jose, and the Flyers were ranked the lowly seven seed in the East.

The Blackhawks might want to tighten up their chin straps because I think the Flyers are going to come to play.

With Jeff Carter and Ian Laperierre back in the lineup, the Flyers round out a good group of forwards somewhat comparable to the Hawks. The big question mark will be in goal.

If Antti Niemi can play as well as he did against the Sharks, the Flyers will be in trouble. But Leighton has held up his end of the deal as well, with three shutouts against the Habs.

This match up is closer than most people think. Philadelphia really aren’t getting as much credit because of their regular season record, but they’ve now won seven of their last eight and their big guns are firing on all cylinders.

Remember, the New Jersey Devils were expected to be blown away by the 1995 Detroit Red Wings. The Devils went on to sweep Detroit for the Stanley Cup.

Chicago believes they have the best fans in the NHL. Did they watch the game at the Bell Centre on Saturday? Or a better question is, did they see the game tonight when Flyers fans continued to serenade the Habs with “Ole Ole Ole” even when the game was over and they had left the rink?

Flyers fans are almost as arrogant as us Leafs fans.

Mike Richards decided to do the opposite of his counterpart Jonathan Toews and pick up the Conference Championship trophy. I think it was fitting. The Hawks seem like their run has been planned out perfectly and going smoothly. Philadelphia have just scratched tooth and nail to take what they want.

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