2010 NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Previewing and Predicting The NHL Cup Finals

Bobby KezneikCorrespondent IMay 25, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 13:  Patrick Sharp #10 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on March 13, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Well, here we are.

The Stanley Cup Finals have been determined; it's the Chicago Blackhawks of the western conference, versus the Philadelphia Flyers of the eastern conference.

Chicago's Road To The Finals

The Blackhawks entered the NHL playoffs as one of the heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The No. 2 seed, matched with the No. 7 seeded Nashville Predators, it certainly did not begin as planned.

They fell to Nashville in game one after Antti Niemi let in a rather soft goal, which immediately began to stir discussions on whether or not he can sustain his ground as a number one netminder.

However, Niemi and the Blackhawks ended up bouncing back and winning the next four of five to take the series in six games.

In the second round, Chicago were matched with the very familiar Vancouver Canucks, who they played in the second round last season as well.

Again, the Blackhawks got off on the wrong foot, losing game one with an embarrassing 5-1 loss.

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In game two, it almost looked like the same would happen when Vancouver led 2-0 in the first, but Chicago would bounce back and win.

They went on to win both games on the road to take a three to one series lead, and would eventually win the series in six games.

In the Western Finals showdown, it wasn't even a contest.

Chicago defeated the top-seeded team in the Western Conference San Jose Sharks in a quick four games to advance to the dance.

Philadelphia's Road To The Finals

The Philadelphia Flyers barely squeezed into the postseason when they ousted the New York Rangers in the shootout on the last day of the regular season.

In the first round, Philadelphia made quick work of their opponents, in what turned out to be a big upset when they out-scored, out-played the New Jersey Devils. They defeated the Devils in five games.

In the quarterfinals, it looked like the journey was about to end when they were down three games to none against the Boston Bruins. That is, until they rallied in what turned out to be one of the best comebacks in all of sports. Philadelphia eventually won the series in a full seven games.

A big part of that series, Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher, went down with an injury, and Michael Leighton came in and stole the show.

Just recently, the Flyers, much like they did in the first round, made quick work of the Habs, defeating them in five games. In three of those games, Flyers third-string goaltender Michael Leighton posted shutouts.


Philadelphia Flyers (No. 7)

Postseason record: 12-4-1
Home record: 7-1-0
Road record: 5-3-1
Goals for: 54 (3.17 per game)
Goals against: 31 (1.82 per game)
Power play: 17/82 (20.7 percent)
Penalty kill: 70/77 (87 percent)
When scoring first: 7-1-0
When allowing first goal: 5-4-0
When leading after first period: 5-1-0
When leading after second period: 10-0-0
When trailing after first period: 2-3-0
When trailing after second period: 0-3-0

Chicago Blackhawks (No. 2)

Postseason record: 12-4-0
Home record: 5-3-0
Road record: 7-1-0
Goals for: 53 (3.31 per game)
Goals against: 40 (2.50 per game)
Power play: 14/62 (22.6 percent)
Penalty kill: 58/67 (86.6 percent)
When scoring first: 7-1-0
When allowing first goal: 5-3-0
When leading after first period: 5-0-0
When leading after second period: 8-1-0
When trailing after first period: 3-2-0
When trailing after second period: 1-3-0

Season Series

Saturday, March 13th, 2010 at Philadelphia: Flyers win 3-2

Offensive Advantage: Chicago

Flyers have 54 goals, Blackhawks have 53. They both have great depth and although Chicago has the likes of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland; the Flyers have Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, James van Riemsdyk, Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne, Daniel Carcillo.

It's really close, but Chicago has the slight advantage up front.

Defensive Advantage : Philadelphia

The Flyers have had a better penalty kill, and have only allowed in 31 goals in the entire playoffs. Chris Pronger has been sensational and Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, and Matt Carle have all been playing solid defense.

Philadelphia again just slightly has the advantage on defense, at least so far in these playoffs.

Goaltending Advantage: Philadelphia

Michael Leighton recorded three shutouts in the eastern conference finals and is an excellent 6-1-0 in the 2010 Playoffs while maintaining a fabulous 1.45 GAA.

Flyers have the advantage in goal, despite what people think of Leighton, he's been getting it done.

Prediction: Philadelphia Flyers win In six games.

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