If you haven’t been checking out The Copper and Blue after each Cup Finals game, you’re missing out on some fantastic work. Speaking for our own website, our thoughts are generally instant reactions and off-the-cuff thoughts. It’s always good to get some analytical evidence to further dissect what we all just witnessed and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.
After two games, there is no question the Hawks top line has been Brouwer-Sharp-Hossa and the numbers certainly back that up. Hossa, in particular, is a fire-breathing dragon. (Don’t worry, though, he scored a goal in the last game so he justified his existence to the short-sighted.) The Flyers have yet to find a line that can match-up with them. While the Briere line had its way with Toews’ group in Game 1, they found themselves sinking when matched up against Hossa and company.
With the final change in the next two games, this is the big decision Laviolette has to make going into Game 3. Will he use his top line to try and negate the Hawks best line or will he hope Claude Giroux’s line is capable of stepping up? Something to watch for, for sure.
At that point, you would hope the Toews line can start capitalizing.
–Meant to bring this up in the bullet points last night but the Troy Brouwer we knew and loved in the regular season has officially returned. He’s back to playing with a ton of confidence with the puck and making plays. About halfway through the second period, he made a nifty little pivot move with the puck to escape a Flyer defender and that’s when I knew he was back for good.
–The Copper and Blue also been on a crusade for some time to prove that Dave Bolland isn’t the great shutdown center the media wants you to believe he is. After seeing the hellstorm Bob faced for merely suggesting Bolland’s value may never be higher than this summer, it’s interesting to see an impartial party go further inside the numbers than strictly using the eye-test.