In a game that is defined by speed, the Chicago Blackhawks needed just 28 seconds to make a difference and seal the deal for a Game Two victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
Marian Hossa buried a chance in front and just twenty eight seconds later Ben Eager roofed a wrister over Michael Leighton’s glove to give Chicago a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. It ended up being all that the Blackhawks would need on the night. The rest of the way, a Flyer attack was thwarted at the hands of a lucky Antti Niemi, and some stellar shot blocking from the ‘Hawks defensive corps. Chicago used the same recipe for victory that the Flyers have so often in these playoffs, and it wound up now putting them a mere two wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup. The Flyers, on the other hand, have much to build on. They outshot the Blackhawks in the third period of Game Two by an astounding count of 15-4, and they absolutely controlled the tempo as well as garnering the frame’s only score, that being Simon Gagne’s power play marker.
Still, it is the Flyers and not the Blackhawks that desperately need two victories to their name in the next two games. At this point, falling down 0-3, or even 1-3, may just be a bit too much to handle for the Flyers. Instead, the Orange and Black will need to now focus on defending the Wachovia Center, a place they have gone 7-1 inside of this postseason. They desperately need Game Three. Then if they can win Game Three, they will desperately need Game Four. There’s not much else to it at this point. As I said in my preview: the Flyers didn’t absolutely need a victory tonight, but it would’ve been nice. Instead, they’ll need to defend their home ice just like Chicago did in the first two games of this series, to send it back to the Windy City for Game Five with the series deadlocked at two. A loss in Philadelphia in either game would be devastating. Both would be season-ending.
I’m not going to expound anymore upon this loss, because it’s quite frankly a tough one to swallow. The Flyers had their chances, but couldn’t bring it home. Antti Niemi’s luck will run out, mark my words. The Flyers are getting back into this series Wednesday night.
On a final note: Happy (late) Memorial Day to all our veterans and members of the Armed Forces out there today. I admire each and every one of you.