Game 2: Blackhawks 2, Flyers 1

In a massively physical game with bodies laying all over the ice, it took all of 27 seconds late in the second period for the Blackhawks to get all the goals they’d need. 

Their first came on some terrific in-zone pressure.  All 5 Hawks touched the puck before Marian Hossa scooped a rebound past Michael Leighton.  The scoring play started when Duncan Keith spotted Patrick Sharp in the slot.  Sharp let off a fairly quick snap shot; Brouwer kicked the rebound across to Hossa and he didn’t miss.

The second goal came from a very unlikely source.  Unlikely for multiple reasons.  First, Ben Eager got a shift on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Dustin Byfuglien instead of Patrick Kane skating on the right wing..  Then, Eager reminded everyone why he was once a first round pick.  He received a pass from Byfuglien, made a subtle drag move, and then roofed a snap shot over Leighton’s glove from 35 feet out. 

After that, the Flyers came hard and the Hawks hung on for dear life in the final 23 minutes.  Antti Niemi was stellar and other than a bouncing puck from Simon Gagne, nothing got past him.  The last 5 minutes of the game were especially hectic with the Hawks panicking in their own end but Niemi was a rock.  He made huge stops on a re-direction from Mike Richards and another in the final minute on Claude Giroux from point blank range. 

And that was that.  2 wins down; 2 to go.  It only gets harder from here on in.

Quickies

Dan Carcillo goes from healthy scratch in the last three games to Joel Quenneville completely re-working his defensive rotation because of his presence in the line-up.  I’m sorry; I’m just not buying that no matter what was discussed on the telecast.  There was a huge deal made out of the switch Quenneville made three seconds into the game, but being the home team, he had his choice of which defensive pairing that would go against Richards’ line.  So that logic didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Basically, I have no idea what Quenneville’s reasoning was for it all, but I really hope he wouldn’t completely re-shuffle the deck because of the great Dan Carcillo.

–It was the Hawks’ second win but after the game, it sure looks like Philadelphia feels pretty confident heading back to the Wachovia Center.  There’s no doubt Game 3 will be the toughest game of the season for Chicago to win.  If Antti Niemi puts together another game like tonight, it will make things a lot easier.  Even with that, it may not be enough.  The Flyers seemed to gain more and more steam as the game continued and the first 10 minutes of Game 3 will be a shooting gallery.  

–I would love to know if Quenneville’s decision to skate Eager on the top line after the first goal was done on a hunch or on necessity.  It was something he hasn’t done a whole lot of this year so I wonder if maybe Kane was having a piece of equipment worked on and was unavailabe to take his normal shift.  Quenneville was asked the question in the post-game press conference but did his usual routine of answering the question without ever addressing what he was actually asked.  

Of course, that’s better than Peter Laviolette’s formula for answering reporters: Reply to every question by saying “I don’t understand what you’re asking” and then giving an answer that makes zero sense as to what was actually asked.

–So other than whistling at the other team during warm-ups, does Adam Burish do anything productive on the ice?

–The Flyers were buzzing in the third, but the Hawk defense did a terrific job of clearing loose pucks in front of Niemi.  If there’s any major adjustment made by Philadelphia in the next two games, it’s going to be to stack up the front of the net and knock any puck toward the net.  The Hawk centers will need to be prepared otherwise it’s going to get ugly and it will get ugly very quickly.

Their forecheck especially seemed to cause headaches for the Hawk wingers as they continuously panicked with the puck along the boards and fed the Flyer points.  Maybe going on the road will help calm them down and they go back to the beautiful flip-pass breakout they’ve incorporated since the Vancouver series. 

Since the second round, they’ve done a terrific job of breaking the opposition’s forecheck by flipping pucks into the neutral zone and putting the defense on their heels.  It seems they’ve gone away from it in the last couple games and it has nearly cost them. 

–My partner Bob’s theory of Chris Pronger goes something along the lines of this: Pronger is guilty of at least 12 penalties on every shift, but no referee is going to whistle every single call so he continually gets away with murder.  It was no different tonight as Pronger played in the front of his crease like it was 2002.  He also took liberties with numerous Hawks with no call.  The worst was in the first period when he railroaded a puckless Patrick Sharp in what was textbook interference. 

It’s a wonder why he gets booed in 31 NHL arenas.    

–I suppose this is a silly question to ask but does Sarah Kustok actually consider herself a journalist?  She may as well hold black and red pom-poms along with her microphone when she conducts her post-game interview with one of the stars of the game.  Seriously though, how about this United Center crowd?!!?

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36 Responses to Game 2: Blackhawks 2, Flyers 1

  1. Scott says:

    Sarah k is hot. Hit women get away with a lot

  2. ArlingtonRob says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one concerned going forward. The first 10 minutes on Wednesday will be nutz. Niemi is now my Conn Smythe leader, and he can win it on the road in Philly. Stay tuned folks…

  3. Razzberry says:

    Burish may not do a lot on the ice, but they’re still 13-1 with him in the lineup. I think he’s the epitome of a player with intangible benefits.

  4. Big Tony says:

    Concerned? What a laugh! Does anyone really think a team we’re faster, deeper smarter and better than is now going to take 4 of 5 from us? I sure as hell dont. We can play better….they cant. This series is ours, boys.

  5. ArlingtonRob says:

    Hope you’re right Tony, but until the 4th game is ours I’ll be worrying. I still remember 1971, and this Flyer team is tenacious.

  6. Big Tony says:

    1971 doesn’t mean jack. This is the 2010 team. We’re better than that team and better than Philly. What se can Philly do? Not much unless they want to double shift that spaz Carcillo.

  7. John says:

    @Razz–Then Adam Burish should considered for the Conn Smythe if he’s had such a dramatic effect on the Hawks playoff record. I’m not buying that and you shouldn’t be selling it.

  8. CT says:

    As long as the Leighton/Boucher tandem mans the Flyers’ net, I’m not going to let myself get too nervous.

  9. illinikc33 says:

    -Burish is useless, just like most fourth line players, though Eager has stepped up in the Finals after a relatively crappy playoffs thus far. I still think that if either are free agents after this season, they’re both gone, and I’m OK with that.

    -The switch in D pairings was not because Q was afraid of that idiot Carcillo, it was because he knew that the offensive prowess of the Richards line just decreased exponentially with his inclusion on said line, so he switched his better defensive pairing to skate with Philly’s more dangerous second line. I mean is NBC stupid? Do they expect people to believe that Q is afraid that Carcillo will take runs at Seabrook? Really?

    -Winning one in Philly ensures we’ll be bringing home the bacon. This is not 1971, I hate talk of superstition, and I hate talk of jinxes, because all of that bullshit is simply that: nonsensical bullshit. As long as the players don’t get overconfident we shouldn’t have a problem. Taking 4 of 5 from this team should be next to impossible.

  10. bobby b says:

    heady days boys… i can barely contain my excitement. a few thoughts/ responses:

    01 sarah K is classic SSH

    02 kane is futile in the first line. he has become a turnover machine. his speed should pay off against the slow flyer defense BUT when the entire philly squad is sitting in the defensive zone he has no room to skate. winning game three with another pointless 1st line will be very hard. i hope the eager switch was not an accident. someone should shift up to play with BB and toews.

    03 the officiating is nauseating and will get much worse in philly.

    04 the carcillo experience backfired and seemed to take the flyers out of their game. while burrish is useless on the ice, he did make me laugh really hard when he complimented carcillo on his complete leveling of carter. philly cannot outskate chicago. philly cannot intimidate chicago. philly is trapped between two unproductive game strategies. play defensively and hope for a breakway on a turnover from kane or seabrook (resulting in 3 SOG in period 01) or activate defensemen to generate some shots and risk a shoot out like game one.

  11. Mark Giangreco Roman Wrestler says:

    With Carcillo out there sucking, it almost makes the Richards line the 3rd most threatening line on the Flyers, thus allowing Keith and Seabrook to work on other lines. So yes, I think the re-shuffling is due to Carcillo, but might not be for the reasons you think.

  12. illinikc33 says:

    “Kane is futile on the first line.” I’m not sure I want to dignify that absolutely ridiculous comment with a response, but: 20 points, 18 games.

  13. bobby b says:

    when discussing sports, dignity and illini do not belong in the same sentence..

    my comment regarding Kane is restricted to his play against the flyers in the last two games.

  14. John says:

    He had a mediocre two games. BURN HIM AT THE STAKE!!!

  15. John says:

    Also, Philadelphia can’t outskate the Hawks except when they did for the final 23 minutes of the game. The Flyers are hardly stuck between two strategies. They’re going to play in Game 3 just as they did in Game 2 except they’re going to be feistier in front of Niemi.

    Basically, the Flyers are going to hedge their bets that Niemi won’t be as solid as he was tonight.

  16. bobby b says:

    my attorney has advised me to make the following declarations:

    im a big patrick kane fan, including his ridiculous “cant grow a beard so im gonna F-up my hair” haircut.

    he has had a solide post season and is a great player. i do not wish him burned at the stake, injured or incarcerated.

    i am merely suggesting that he might be more successful with a different match-up. after the first period last night, i was wanting to switch him to the second line just to see what would happen. toews is winning a huge percentage of faceoffs and battles along the boards, byfuglien is holding his own in front of the net, and yet this line is not generating shots. on PP’s, with a little more room to skate, kane is fine and with a little luck would have scored last night.

    if the first line generates the same lack of SOG in game three, i predict Q will make the adjustment

  17. John says:

    No worries bobby b. I would say that anytime someone criticizes Kane, Toews, or Hossa, regardless of how legitimate the reasons are, people will fly off the handle. Including yours truly.

  18. bobby b says:

    the flyers d-men were very deep in the hawks zone in the 3rd period for obvious reasons. that was not the case in the first or most of the second. the hawks were also protecting a lead in the 3rd…

    john, you’re right that the flyers will not wait in game three. they will be very aggressive with their defensemen from the first face off. losing three straight is not an option. lets hope niemi can play well again and the hawks can get some odd man rushes as a result. otherwise, if the flyers aggressive play lights the lamp, they will then slow the game down, crowd their zone just like the 1st period of game 02.

  19. Big Tony says:

    Even when Kane isn’t at his best, the fact that Philly has to worry about him every second hes out there works in our favor. Our depth has been the deciding factor so far and all the Carcillos on the world can’t trump it.

  20. Mark Giangreco Roman Wrestler says:

    At one point, Pronger was in front of the net and slashed Kane’s stick in half.

  21. Otter says:

    Pronger is the anti-Christ. I’ve been saying this since the 2007 playoffs and it became obvious that he can’t really play in the NHL at anything close to the same level he was at in the late 90s. The difference between watching Keith and Pronger play defense is sort of amazing. Pronger just grabs you and throws you to the ice, and then plays the puck. Keith just does Duncan Keith things and everyone’s happy.

    Philly did dominate the last 23, but the Hawks owned the first 37. Let’s not kid ourselves that the Hawks didn’t deserve the win or got lucky… sure Eager’s goal was pretty soft, but the Hawks probably should have had one before Hossa’s goal.

    While I agree that this series isn’t over and it’s hard to call any series prior to Game 3, how is Philly going to win 4 of 5 with their goaltending situation? Yes, crazy things have happened (insert video of Jacques Lemaire 1971 Game Seven goal here), but I am having a hard time (intellectually) finding a way the Flyers goalies can steal at least two games. I figure they can win two straight up, but they’re going to need someone in a mask to win two games… I’m not seeing it against these Hawks.

    Finally, if we’re going to give Kane crap, how about Toews who wasn’t very good in game one and while better last night, still can play better.

  22. illinikc33 says:

    I’m not going to apologize for pointing out that a comment advocating for breaking up what has been the most dominating offensive line in the playoffs is ridiculous. They had a bad game 1, but rebounded quite nicely last night; they had multiple shifts where they cycled the puck for a minute in Philly’s zone. Q’s line generator settled back in Nashville on combinations that have led to a 10-2 record in our past 12 games.

  23. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, as we have seen, the Flyers brought their best in Games One and Two.

    Their coach and players can make all the excuses they want…which is what they are doing.

    The Blackhawks still have room for improvement. They will need to be much better from here on in…and go into Philly with the same mindset that has given Chicago a 7-1 road record.

    The Flyers are clever thugs, and should be treated as such.

    Which means put ’em down. And terminate ’em.

    Here Come The Hawks.

  24. Brian Davies says:

    Sarah Kustok has a masters degree in corporate communications from DePaul. I think you’ll find that her work makes a lot more sense in that context than trying to file it under “journalism”.

  25. John says:

    Except she’s employed by Comcast Sportsnet, not the Chicago Blackhawks and her job title is reporter, not Blackhawks PR associate.

    But seriously, what can you say about this United Center crowd???

  26. Mark Giangreco Roman Wrestler says:

    So how did you feel when you scored that goal?????

  27. Otter says:

    Dave, How in the world did the Flyers bring their best in Game One? The only think I took away from Game One was that you couldn’t judge either team because the defensive (and to a degree goaltending) efforts were pitiful. So now only using Game Two as a measuring stick then:
    — The Hawks played very well, not their best game, but seeing that they had a good kill, bad power play, and solid play from all four lines and the D pairing. Have we seen the Hawks play better? Yes, but not THAT much better.
    — The Flyers played well, were let down by a soft goal let in by their goalie and feature three solid lines and two good D pairings and can completely dominate/control the game. I highly doubt any Flyer fan is saying, “The Flyers played their best and lost, oh well.”

  28. bobby b says:

    oh illinikc33… only a fool does the same exact thing over and over and over and expects a different result. please calm down. i am not asking for kane to be released.

  29. Big Tony says:

    If the Flyers truly brought their best in game 2, then you can stick a fork in them. They simply can’t score when we don’t commit foolish turnovers. Add in the fact that our top line hasn’t gotten on track yet, and you can get ready to weep like a baby Friday night. I know I will.

  30. illinikc33 says:

    Right, you want to break up the most dominating line in the playoffs because they haven’t scored in 2 games. You should apply for the next coaching vacancy.

  31. Lou says:

    Let’s just win the cup. Q shuffles lines. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it drives us nuts. In the end, it is all about Lord Stanley.

    Our first line hasn’t got on the sheet. Kane needs handle less, rip a shot and not be hesistant (maybe afraid) of getting hit. When they click…

    Flyers are at home, their fans are passionate (as are their secuirty forces, Tazer has new meaning), and they are down 2. They are going to come with everything they have. We have to play our game and catch them pinching.

    This is our time.

  32. ArlingtonRob says:

    Regarding my referral to the ’71 club. It has nothing to do with superstition or jinxes, just history and reality. It takes 4 wins to take the series, and I refuse to celebrate until it’s official. In addition, I’m not one to talk trash about a series victory that is not complete. Last year a team failed after a 2-0 start, and this year the Flyers came back from 3 down. Percentages and odds mean nothing until the wins are official.

    2 more wins and it’s over. Let’s hope the Hawks play a fantastic road game, perhaps their best of the playoffs, and put a stranglehold on this series.

    Go Hawks!

  33. Big Tony says:

    This is simply the BEST YouTube EVER!!! It’s worth the cut and paste, trust me.

  34. Bellwether Meltdown says:

    I still don’t understand why Burish played ahead of Kopecky in the SJS series and why he’s playing ahead of Colin Frasier right now. If Ladd is healthy enough to dress for any of the remaining games, he’d better get the nod over Burish.

  35. RGS says:

    Pardon my ignorance but will Pronger & Eager’s 10 min Misconducts actually be served at the beginning of game 3 or are they merely statistics? If so, that’s a pretty good deal.

  36. John says:

    No, penalties do not carry over into the following game. Though that would be nice.

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