Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Could this be the night?

Tonight the Blackhawks will take on the Flyers in Games 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Why did the NHL change the name of the final series to this? They do realize there is more than one final game, right?)

One of the big questions the Hawks will face, along with how the Flyers' Chris Pronger will react to the Chicago Tribune's poster that put him in a skirt, is who they will face in the Philly net. Michael Leighton typically has been the starting goalie, but was pulled for Brian Boucher in both Games 1 and 5 after getting lit up in both games, including three goals on 13 shots in the final eight minutes of the first period Sunday night. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette hasn't said as much, but appears to be leaning toward Leighton for Games 6.

The other big question is can the Hawks actually win in Philadelphia. So far this year, they are 0 for 3 at the Wachovia Center, including their lone regular season appearance in March as well as Games 3 and 4. Plus, it promises to be as hostile environment as it ever has, if not more.

The Hawks will have to rely on what got them here, including the offense that was spurred by Joel Quenneville's line change just before Game 5 that led to Dustin Byfuglien's big two goal, two assist performance Sunday night. In addition, Niemi will have to be on "good Antti" in keeping the Flyers. Plus, captain Jonathan Toews will have to step up.

The Stanley Cup will be in the Wachovia Center tonight, tucked away somewhere in the bowels of the arena. Can this be the night the Blackhawks hoist it for the first time since 1961?

We shall see.

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