The good news for the Philadelphia Flyers is that they haven't struggled at home in this series, so there is a big positive they can take from that. The Flyers have won the two games they've hosted, what seems to be in large part the crowd and the energy they get from their raucous fans. I would imagine that there will be a lot of anxiousness, people on the edge of their seat and fingernail chewing in the stands, but in between, they'll be loud.
For the Flyers and their game, they will have to go back to the banging and crashing game that has held them in these playoffs, forcing the play along the boards, getting the puck to the front of the net and creating scrambles in front of Niemi, looking for rebounds. In the games that Philadelphia has been successful at crashing the net, the Blackhawks do reinforce the crease with their defensemen, leaving the slot open for clear shots in the lane, which has been another key to the Flyers success.
The Blackhawks are going to have to try to keep their emotions in check on Wednesday night, as the Cup will be in the building. They can't stretch themselves too thin or else the Flyers will break right through and beat them handily with sound, non-panicky play in all three zones. If the Blackhawks can resort to the same kind of road game (simple first passes and having men back all the time) that helped them beat Vancouver and San Jose, they can easily shift the pressure onto the Flyers and force them to make mistakes.
Right now, I would say the pressure is on the Blackhawks to dictate this game, because they don't want to take any chances with the Flyers and giving them another game to beat them. I have to think that the Flyers will make that early push, like the home team does to start most games, but it will be the response of the Blackhawks and their ability to transition and force turnovers that will be the key in the first five minutes.
|Team||Scott G.||Myles D.||Derek B.|
Well, this could be it for our heroes tonight. Scott G. could really use a low-scoring Blackhawks win tonight to seal the deal against Myles D. and get it all over and done with, although that would crush his spirits, being the Flyers fan that he is. Somehow, he'll need a huge game from Kimmo Timonen, preferably in a low-scoring affair, to force a Game Seven and have his Flyers in the mix for the Cup once again. If the Flyers defense can stand up to the Blackhawks top line, then Game Seven would be fine and dandy.
If the Flyers can force a Game Seven, Scott will not be sweating bullets if he can come away from Game Six with more than a 6-point lead, I'd say. Scott does have all the tie-breakers to decide the pool, if there is a tie like last year, so Myles will have to win it outright, which would mean a huge night from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
It's awfully exciting in the pool, even if it is only two teams left fighting it out for the prize money.