SCF Game 1: Hawks Outlast Flyers For Sloppy 6-5 Win

CHICAGO - MAY 29: Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with Duncan Keith #2 and Dave Bolland #36 after scoring a goal in the third period against 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Blackhawks lead series 1-0
[Box Score] - [Wire Recap] - [SBN Game Page] - [Chicago Reaction]
[Corsi and Fenwick] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [EV Faceoffs] - [Shift Charts]

Despite having the lead at the end of a period Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1987, the Flyers could not come away from this ridiculously sloppy Game 1 with a win, a fitting end to a deceptively lopsided game that saw ten goals in the first two periods.

Let's get right to the bullets:

  • The big story of the night is the play of Michael Leighton, which was, in a word, craptastic.  The Flyers had all the momentum at the end of the first frame, but were totally undermined by Leighton.  He let in four goals on his first fourteen shots, and eventually five on twenty before being pulled late in the second.  Leighton played the way he did back with Carolina, not challenging the puck at all and barely even leaving the crease to cut off angles on odd-man rushes or most any other play.  He gave up lots of rebounds and generally looked overwhelmed by the occasion, a far cry from the player who registered three shutouts only a round ago. 
  • After Leighton's exit, Brian Boucher played pretty well in relief, stopping eleven of twelve shots including several saves better than any Leighton made.  Cue the controversy.
  • There's a hockey adage that in order to win in the playoffs, your best players have to be your best players.  Neither team can really say that their best were their best tonight, with goals coming from the likes of Asham, Betts, Kopecky, Brouwer, and Brouwer.  Richards, Carter, Gagne, Toews, Byfuglien and Kane combined for zero points.
  • The one bright spot of the game for the Flyers was the Leino-Briere-Hartnell line, which combined for three goals and five assists.
  • It took Simon Gagne over a decade to make it to the finals for the first time, and due to nerves or whatever, he ended the night at -3.  It took James van Riemsdyk only one season to make it to the finals for the first time, and due to nerves or whatever, he ended the night at -2.
  • This game had better mark the end of Ryan Parent's stint in the line-up.  He was completely at fault for the Blackhawks first goal, and never saw the ice again, making his total ice time for this Game 1 0:41.  Oskars Bartulis had better be in for Game 2.

It's only one game.  It's a game in the Stanley Cup Finals, but it's still only one game.

After the jump, questions answered and the comment of the night.

Questions to Answer

  1. Does the week off show, for either team? Who controls things from the start? No one ever seemed in control of this game.  Rust was apparent on both teams' defensive corps.
  2. Can the Flyers silence the Madhouse on Madison early? Yes, but not for long.
  3. Keeping Chelsea Dagger to a minimum tonight, right? Seven times is not a minimum.
  4. Chicago is fast. Can the Flyers slow them down like they did to the Canadiens? Not really.  Several goals on rushes.
  5. How does the much anticipated Pronger v Byfuglien matchup play out tonight? Not really a major story line.  Advantage Pronger, I guess, since Byfuglien was a -3 and Pronger was a +2.

Comment of the Night:

Did [Pierre] just advise Niemi NOT to go down on his knees? A little hypocritical, isn’t it Pierre? -- shafnutz05

Go Flyers.

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