Whether you're a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks or the Philadelphia Flyers or any of the other 28 teams that failed to make the Stanley Cup Finals this is a sad and happy time for us all. Sad because yet another fantastic season of hockey is gone and we will all have to wait until the summer is over for hockey to come back. This is also a happy time because this is what we have all been waiting for since the puck dropped in early October. The long and grueling 82 game season and the playoffs have been a strain on the players as well as us fans but this is all why we choose to torture ourselves with the stress because there is nothing that can compare to the excitement and energy that the NHL playoffs bring.
So lets look at these two teams that will fight for Lord Stanley's hardware.
First off let me say I never would have imagined that the goaltending matchup for the Stanley Cup Finals would be Michael Leighton, a guy who has never really found his niche, and Antti Niemi, a young kid with a lot of potential.
The Blackhawks will win if: They sustain their heavy offensive pressure. They need to rattle Leighton's cage. He had a lot of success against Montreal but Chicago's offense is a much different animal then Montreal's. Chicago must also be physical with Philadelphia's top offensive forwards. And of course Antti Niemi will have to continue his solid play in net.
The Flyers will win if: Michael Leighton and that defense can continue to silence any offensive threat that faces them. The Flyers cannot let Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews take control in this series otherwise the Flyers will sink. Its a tall task but they got through the playoffs that way and will need to keep it going if they want to walk away champions after its all said and done.
Prediction: Chicago in 5. This may be a little harsh toward the Flyers but I just don't see them being able to slow down the Blackhawks. The Hawks are just flat out better then the Flyers and that will be proven in this series. Maybe the Flyers can extend the series longer than 5 games but don't expect them to walk away with the Stanley Cup.
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