Chicago Blackhawks Have Advantage After First Game of Stanley Cup Final

Eli BenjaminContributor IMay 30, 2010

CHICAGO - MAY 29:  Antti Niemi #31 of the Chicago Blackhawks fights for the puck against Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game One of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the United Center on May 29, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I have to say the result was unexpected, but it was one of the most entertaining games I have ever watched. The intensity, passion and quality of play was astounding. However, the Blackhawks have key areas where they excelled and where they could improve.

Chicago Blackhawks

Excellent

1. Speed of play

The whole game the Blackhawks were quicker then the Flyers. Their attacks were based on quick counters and using superior speed to craft brilliant one-timers. They didn't even need the big guy in front of the goalie, as they were constantly winning the face-offs and 50/50 balls.

2. Shot Efficiency

When the Blackhawks got a clean shot at the goalie, they made it count. Truly amazing shots were made on Saturday, from basically on the goal line extended to right over the goalie's shoulder. This fantastic shooting helped overcome the Flyer's stifling defense, and in the end, gave the Blackhawks the win.

Need Improvement

1. Penalties

Fact: The Blackhawks gave up four power plays while the Flyers gave up none. Regardless of the equity of officiating, it is still not an advantage you want to give the other team. Most of these penalties came from the lazy defense.

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2. Lazy defense

There were so many lazy plays. Time and time again, the Blackhawks failed to clear the puck. It not only resulted in penalties, but also shots that were nearly impossible to save, and ultimately, goals. Although the intensity is good and the confidence to outscore anyone is present, the Blackhawks need to step up the coverage and clearances to guarantee the cup.