It can’t be stressed enough just how many different players have stood out throughout the Stanley Cup Finals, let alone the entire 2010 playoffs.
Jaroslav Halak’s and Joe Pavelski’s heroics in the earlier rounds of the postseason have been long since forgotten, and a new road has been paved for the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers.
Players like Danny Briere and Jonathan Toews have brought their best game to the postseason and have taken over the spotlight.
But Wednesday night’s Game Six at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia will provide yet another chance for a hero to be born.
There are several players who will be a major factor in Game Six, but here are the seven you should keep a close eye on.
Giroux has rebounded from a decent regular season with a fantastic postseason. He has 10 goals and 21 points in 22 playoff games, and is a plus-seven overall.
The NHL sophomore has had an interesting Stanley Cup Finals thus far.
In the three games played at the United Center in Chicago, Giroux has no points and is minus-seven.
However, in the two games in Philly, the 22-year-old has two goals and four points, and is a plus-four. He also scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game Three.
Giroux’s play at the Wachovia Center has been incredible and will need to continue if the Flyers wish to see Game Seven.
Statistically, the finals have been Niemi’s worst round of the playoffs. But the “Antti-Flyer”—get it?—has made some key saves and still has the Blackhawks one game away from their first Stanley Cup in almost 50 years.
Niemi has let up four goals in three consecutive games is overdue for a great game.
Despite only have one game in the finals with a save percentage over .900, Niemi is coming off an incredible series sweep against the San Jose Sharks where he posted a .949 save percentage and a 1.67 goals-against average.
Niemi’s has been exceptional on the road during the playoffs. He has a .923 save percentage and a 2.48 GAA in 10 playoff road games.
21 points in the his first 17 playoffs games spelled trouble for the Blackhawks, but Richards has cooled off significantly in the finals.
Despite the most shots he has had against any opponent thus far, Richards has one measly goal and two points in the finals. He also played just under 19 minutes in the Flyers’ Game Four loss.
However, the worst statistic for one of the league’s best defensive forwards is his plus/minus. Richards is an uncharacteristically bad minus-six against Chicago.
The 25-year-old captain is one nice defensive play away from breaking out in Game Six. If he doesn’t show up defensively though, expect a point or two on the score sheet.
Sharp has been incredibly consistent and, um, sharp this postseason. He has had at least two goals in every series and has goals in three of the five Stanley Cup Final games.
The 28-year-old sniper is also even or better in nine of his last 10 games.
Sharp’s ice-time seems to be his most impressive stat. In a postseason where players have been benched left and right, and on some nights overplayed, Sharp is averaging 17:43 to 18:00 minutes of ice-time for each series.
With two goals and nine shots in his last two games, expect Sharp to be a key component to Game Six.