2010 Stanley Cup Final: Five Changes to Expect in Game Two
After attending Game One of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, it was impossible to go to sleep. The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers played an exhilarating, back-and-forth game that got this year's NHL championship series off with an explosion.
The Blackhawks escaped with a 6-5 victory, but there are a number of subplots that are already starting to develop.
The question for everyone, including the rosters, as we prepare for Game Two is whether or not these subplots will become trends; when you get to this point in the season, 48 hours is more than enough time to make changes to a game plan, philosophy, and even the roster.
Let's take a look at some of the stories that fans should expect to change in Game Two as the Stanley Cup Final progresses.
That was the number of penalties called on the Blackhawks and Flyers, respectively, in Game One. Four on Chicago, zero on Philadelphia.
That won't likely happen again.
There were a number of calls that were clearly missed by the refs that kept the Flyers out of the box (Brent Seabrook has stitches to remind him of one instance), and there's no doubt that the zebras were made aware of this stat after the game.
But this isn't about evening the score in the box or making things right.
It's about two teams that combined for 77 hits in Game One.
The way the first game was played, the total number of penalties could have been as high as the final score. The refs appear willing to let the teams skate, but there will be a point at which the parade to the box begins.
Of all the high-flying scorers on these two teams, it was Troy Brouwer, Tomas Kopecky, Blair Betts, and Scott Hartnell that were lighting the lamp on Saturday night.
Indeed, the biggest "name" player to score a goal was Danny Briere.
That will change.
The incredible top lines for both teams combined for zero points on Saturday night, and every one of the players was at least minus-two in the game.
Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews, and their respective line mates won't be silent for long.
Both Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton have been spectacular this postseason but struggled in Game One. Leighton didn't make it out of the second period, and Philadelphia has a goalie controversy on its hands.
But it will be Leighton back in net for the Flyers in Game Two, and Niemi will once again be back between the pipes for the Blackhawks.
Expect their performances to improve.
Both goalies have had issues in games this year in the postseason but have bounced back with defining games. Considering the speed of the game on Saturday night and the defensive approach of both clubs during the regular and post seasons, expect the goalies to get more help on Monday night too.
Missing in Action
Both coaches were limited in Saturday night's game because they shortened their benches.
For the Flyers, Mark Parent skated one shift in the game.
For the Blackhawks, Brian Campbell was held to just 13 minutes, well under his season and playoff averages.
These realities will change.
For the Flyers, it appears that Dan Carcillo will skate on Monday night. Not only does that improve the odds that there are more than four penalties called in Game Two (and none on Philadelphia), but he will undoubtedly see more than one shift as well.
For the Blackhawks, if they want to move the puck and hold the Flyers under five goals, they need one of their top four defensemen to play better.
What was strange about the Blackhawks' success offensively on Saturday night was that Brent Sopel, who has the slowest trigger in the Western Conference, was part of the rush more than Campbell.
Expect to see a lot more of Campbell and Carcillo on Monday night.
Nerves of Steel?
Both teams admitted that the defensive play wasn't where it needed to be early in Game One because of nerves/excitement.
That will absolutely change.
Game One is in the books. Both teams have been through a 121-decibel national anthem and all the hype and hysteria of the Stanley Cup Final beginning. Game Two should be more about the game.
Even if the players are still nervous and/or excited, the other part of this point that will change is players admitting that nerves played a role in good or bad play. Emotion is a Game One crutch.