GAME PREVIEW: STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME 4 – Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers will look to win their second game on home ice in as many tries and even up their 2010 Stanley Cup Final with the Chicago Blackhawks at the Wachovia Center.

The Flyers clawed back into this series with a dramatic 4-3 overtime victory  Wednesday night in South Philadelphia.  While Games One and Two had their down points, Game Three had it all.  There was hitting, animosity, and goal scoring, and the rivalry between both teams finally started to boil.  It may have taken a little while for each side to get a bearing on what the other was capable of, and how they might have been able to counter-act it.  Now, after three games, it’s pretty clear as to what will work, what won’t work, and what each respective team needs to do to be successful.

The Story: As much as Game Three was a must-win for the Flyers to keep their hopes of winning this series alive, Game Four is just as precious a victory to the Flyers and their fans.  A loss in Game Four moves the Flyers chances down significantly – likely to “Slim-to-none” – in terms of their ability to have a chance to win the Cup.  A loss tonight would put the Chicago Blackhawks in the driver’s seat, up three games to one and ready to wrap up the series on their home ice Sunday night in Chicago.  A win by the Flyers brings up a totally different predicament.  For one, the series would be all squared away at 2 a-piece.  That would guarantee a Game Six back in The City of Brotherly Love.  It also would put an immense amount of pressure on the Blackhawks to win Game Five, because a trip back to Philly in a must-win situation would not be a good thing.  So, with all that being said, it’s clear that tonight’s game is a real pendulum-swinger.  That’s why I believe it’s safe to say we may see the best game of this series so far tonight.

Who to Watch on the Blackhawks: Marian Hossa, Right Wing.

No matter where he has played in the NHL, Hossa has always killed the Flyers

If there’s one player to watch in a game where the Flyers’ season likely depends upon a victory, it’s Marian Hossa.  Hossa is a Flyer-killer, a proto-typical player who is a gifted scorer and point producer, but seems to kick it up a notch when he plays the Flyers (a la Alex Kovalev).  He hadn’t done much in the postseason for Chicago heading into this year’s Final, but since Game One, his stats have elevated.  In the first three rounds, Hossa had a total of seven points.  In the three games played so far in the Stanley Cup Final, Hossa has four points (1 G, 3A).  He always seems to pick it up when his opponents are in Orange and Black and this year is no different.  The one thing about Hossa that worries me in this game is his ability to lower his body and steamroll through defenseman deep in an opponent’s end.  The Flyers did a good job of getting their stick on his stick and knocking the puck loose before the big man could get rolling, but if he does get going deep in the Flyers’ end, look out.  He has great vision, and not to mention an incredible shot.  If the first line for Chicago continues to be non-existent tonight, Hossa will be counted upon even more to make something happen in the offensive end for the Blackhawks.

The Skinny: With the win on Wednesday night, the Flyers bumped their record at home in these playoffs to 8-1.  The Blackhawks, a tremendously solid road team, moved to 7-2.  Tonight, the Flyers will look to hold serve on their first two games at the Wachovia Center, just like Chicago did for the two opening games of the series at the United Center.  A Flyers win tonight would make this a best-of-three series, with Game Five and potentially a Game Seven being played in Chicago, and Game Six taking place right here in Philadelphia.  However, a Chicago win gives the Blackhawks the ability to win the Stanley Cup on their home ice Sunday night in Game Five.

Notes: Michael Leighton will look to improve upon his best start of this series (Gm. 3) tonight, and he’ll be opposed in between the pipes on the Chicago end by Antti Niemi.  Look for James van Riemsdyk to return to the line-up tonight in favor of Dan Carcillo.  I was all for Carcillo coming back into the line-up as a potential fireball of energy and getting the troops ramped up to play, but he’s been nothing short of pathetic on the ice, and his play has actually been kind of embarrassing.  Although JVR isn’t exactly a gift from the heavens above to replace Carcillo, he seems to be the only logical option.  On the Chicago side, don’t be shocked to see Andrew Ladd back in the line-up tonight.  I saw him skate yesterday with Chicago’s black aces and he looked to me like he was moving pretty well.  Who comes out for Ladd?  Normally, I’d say the man who replaced him – Tomas Kopecky – but it may actually be Adam Burish because of how strong Kopecky has been since being inserted into the line-up.  I could be wrong though.  Stay tuned to my Twitter for any updates on line-up changes tonight.  Remember, once again, game time is slated for 8PM.

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One Response to “GAME PREVIEW: STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME 4 – Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks”

  1. Not a chance Pussies!!!! Give up now!
    The talentless f*cks you call the Flyers are going down tonight!
    Our former bitch 3rd stringer, Michael Leighton, is going to fall apart.
    His five-hole is more loose than Carcillo’s mother!
    Look for the Hawks to beat up the five-hole!

    w00000t!

    F*ck you all.. Go HAWKSSSSS

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