While it may have taken Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville six games to shake up his lines, the master of line combinations found the right mixture, at the right time. The entire series the Hawks top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien has been basically ineffective. Same for the Flyers top line with Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and either Jeff Carter, or whoever else has been there.
Sunday night in game five, a pivitol game in the Stanely Cup Final saw the Hawks break up their top line and it worked perfectly. Big Buff, emerged once again after a bit of an abscence as the hero. Two goals, two assists and some bone crushing hits, including one on Flyer defenceman Chris Pronger, that sent the villified defenceman smashing into the boards and on his ass! Prompting former Hawk and Flyer, now NBC anlayst Jeremy Roenick to comment: ” I have NEVER seen Pronger get hit that hard before”.
See for yourself:
Pronger’s contribution to the game? A minus five. In the penalty box for a sixth Blackhawk goal, and a very feeble attempt to stop Big Buff on the empty netter that Buff scored at the end of the game.
A 7-4 victory by the Blackhawks getting them one win away from the Stanely Cup. The score makes the game seem alot closer than it really was. However after watching the Hawks jump out to a three goal lead after the first period, there was no way they were going to lose it, even after Philly scored early in the second, the Hawks continued to control the play, and be physical throughout the game.
This series has been a story of home ice advantage for sure, and one could say that we’re almost guaranteed a game seven in which anything can happen. We’ll have to wait for Wednesday night’s outcome for that. The bottom line is that the Hawks did what they had to do Sunday and proved that they can play their game. We most likely saw the best Hawks performance of the series so far.
* The officials have really sucked, on both sides of the coin. NHL needs to take a look at this series. Way too many blown calls.
* They say the first team to make a lineup change flinches first. Well the Hawks may have changed lines, but Michael Leighton has been chased twice!
* The goaltenders have been average at best. Some bad bounces both ways have caused some problems.
* For everyone that doubted Chicago and thought they were done, last night proved, they are not. I’m not hoisting the cup or anything or saying that game six is a gimme. It’s not. But neither team is going down without a fight.
* Daniel Briere has had an excellent series and is alot more dangerous than people thought. He’s played an excellent final.
* I stll have to say that the media love affair with the Flyers makes me want to vomit. Enough already. Honestly guys, these are both two qualified teams that deserve equal recognition. That’s all I’m asking. Apparently CBC and TSN are really slobbering over Philly and Pronger!
* A change in the Hawks philosophy on the power play made the difference. Shoot the puck on net, and forget the fance stuff.
* For those of us listening to Doc Emerick, how about some of the words he uses? Sache, and paraphanalia to name a couple. Also didn’t he say something about the ice being slippery?
* Ben Eager protecting the puck in the closing seconds like a mother watching over her baby was pay back to Pronger. The end result in all that won’t matter, but hey the kid’s excited, and he should be.
Game six Wednesday, if you can wait that long!
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