2010 Stanley Cup Finals: The Numbers Behind the Blackhawks-Flyers Matchup
The stage is set, the teams have battled to get to this point, and on Saturday, the puck will drop on yet another Stanley Cup Finals.
Here is a look at a portion of them by the numbers.
Five: Chances each team has had to win the Cup and failed to in an attempt to break their respective droughts.
That's right, Philly and Chicago have lost five straight finals appearances each. Philadelphia last played in 1997, and Chicago in 1992. One streak will be broken. Five is also the number of Cup wins between the two franchises.
49, 35: Years since the last time Chicago and Philadelphia raised Lord Stanley's Cup, respectively. It is safe to say both teams are itching to nix their streaks.
Seven: Goaltenders used by the Flyers this season, including Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher for long stretches of the regular and post seasons.
Three: Seasons Chicago has played since former Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz passed away. "Dollar Bill" was synonymous for not showing home games with the intent of putting fannies in the stands, and pinching every penny when it came to signing and resigning the major talents that played on the west side.
In those few years, new owner Rocky Wirtz has given the franchise a much needed face-lift and has been instrumental with the resurgence of the Blackhawks.
One: Game played between the two teams this season. This does not mean much in the playoffs, but as a fan of hockey, it is a shame that the two don't get a chance to play more often. Two storied franchises should play more often.
Countless numbers: Injuries faced by Philly this season. I mentioned the seven netminders, but the Broad Street Bullies resembled the walking wounded for much of the season.
In the playoffs alone, injuries to forwards Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Ian Laperierre proved costly, as the Flyers were on the brink of elimination without their players. Gagne returned and potted game winners, and Carter came back in time to watch Philadelphia clinch. Some speculation has mentioned that Laperierre may play in the Finals.
Two: Goalies with something to prove. Chicago's Antti Niemi and Phildelphia's Michael Leighton are not the Vezina candidates that you would expect to see at this point, but without them, both teams could have faced a different fate.
Niemi was just a back up in Finland a handful of years ago, and Leighton bounced around the league after Chicago, the team that drafted him in 1999, traded him to Buffalo in 2005.
For hockey, this matchup has the potential for greatness. Hockey purists love to see the historic teams play for glory. For the youth, this is a time to fall in love with the game and enjoy the abundance of talented youth playing.
Players like Jonathon Toews, Mike Richards, Patrick Kane, Jeff Carter, Dave Bolland, and James van Riemsdyk serve as a notice as to how promising the future of the NHL will be.
It's all about numbers, and starting Saturday, it will be only be about four, the number of wins it takes to be champions of the hockey world.
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