Sunday, May 16, 2010
In the West, the Blackhawks drew first blood as Antti Niemi was outstanding in a 2-1 Chicago victory over the San Jose Sharks (Who I thought played good enough to win). There was a combined total of 85 shots between Niemi and Nabakov. Niemi turned away 44 of 45 shots, while his counterpart turned back 38 of 40. Both teams, I thought, had their moments. They showed why they are in the Western Conference Finals.
The Blackhawks got a big goal in the third period by Dustin Byfuglien (Can we get him a Ranger uniform please?) with 6:45 remaining. Byfuglien’s goal gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. San Jose put plenty of pressure on Niemi in the closing moments, but it was to no avail. Boy, when you look at what the Blackhawks have done on the road this year in the playoffs… it’s simply amazing! They are now a very dominant, 6-1 on the road. That, my friends, can only spell trouble for the Sharks. Game 2 will be a must win for San Jose or the representative from the West in the chase of Lord Stanley will be the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Conference finals are also underway for the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia Flyers, who pulled off a magical and historical comeback over the Bruins, totally dismantled and humiliated the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1. The Flyers won by a score of 6-0 in front of a raucous home crowd in the Wachovia Center. The Flyers never gave the Canadiens a chance in this one. The best Montreal could do was attempt one shot and then their offensive attack was done! It sounds familiar… this is how the Habs have played their way to this point!
Jaroslav Halak was not Superman tonight. In fact, he fell back to being a mere mortal. His stat line looks like this: 4 goals allowed on 13 shots. He was then chased and Carey Price ended up finishing the game for the Habs. Michael Leighton, for the Flyers, was steady and solid. His teammates gave him a comfortable lead and they played stingy defense all night long. They played the way that Montreal has almost perfected during this playoff run. I, personally, was surprised by the outcome. Is this the Montreal that many have been waiting to see? It’s possible. I know it’s only one game, but the Flyers were very impressive and really they have been since they were down 3-0 late in the first period in Game 7 in Boston. Since then, the Flyers have scored 10 straight goals and have surrendered nothing! Not even one goal! That, to me, is a tough thing to do. Although after winning the Bruins series, what is considered tough for the Flyers these days? Over and out!