| CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS |
| PHILADELPHIA FLYERS |
1. Skate like the wind:
The Hawks hope to replicate the start they had in Game 5. It won't be as easy in a hostile
environment such as Wachovia Center. "We've competed hard on the road before and we know we can go into Philadelphia and compete the way we did (Sunday night)," Duncan Keith
said. "It doesn't matter what ice surface we're playing on, the energy should be there and there is no excuses. We know going forward that next game we need the same effort, even better."
1. Be better:
This may be elementary, but the Flyers can't extend their season unless they are far better
-- in all areas of the game -- than they were in Game 5. Fortunately, they know there is considerable room for improvement in virtually every aspect of the game. "We have to be more physical; we have to skate," said defenseman Chris Pronger, who was minus-5 in Game 5. "I'm sure you've heard about 15 different things. We obviously have to play a lot better than we did in Game 5."
|2. Make 'em special again: |
For the first time all series the Blackhawks won the special-teams battle in Game 5,
outscoring the Flyers 2-0 on the power play. Philadelphia previously had a 5-1 advantage, but they had seven more power plays through four games. Chicago's keys were quick puck movement on the power play (see Dustin Byfuglien's goal) and discipline at even strength. They'll need more of both. "The second power play goal (Byfuglien's goal) is exactly what we were looking for," Patrick Kane said. "Quick puck movement and you saw the play -- (Patrick) Sharp to me to Keith to Tazer (Jonathan Toews) and a great pass to Buff. It was off our stick within two seconds every time."
|Kane ||2. What are you talking about?: |
While Philadelphia must be better, the Flyers don't need to dwell on what happened
Monday. Remember, Philadelphia played a similarly disastrous game last round against Montreal in Game 3. They were run out of Bell Centre, and there were concerns that the Canadiens had "figured out" Philadelphia. The Flyers responded with back-to-back wins to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. "Game 3 was a tough game for us," Laviolette said of the 5-1 blowout loss to the Canadiens. "So the question is: how could you possibly respond after that game like that? Well, we did. That's why I have a lot of confidence in our group that we will respond tomorrow night appropriately."
|3. Chip it, cycle and hit: |
The Flyers' big four -- Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn --
weren't as effective in Game 5 because the Blackhawks made the D work and tired them out. Chicago was able to get pucks in deep and get on the cycle. The Hawks' speed led to puck possession, which led to scoring chances and a tired Philly defense corps. "We skated harder, quicker and had more support of the puck," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We seemed to be managing it more efficiently and moving it quicker. We had zone time in their net, dangerous possessions and looks at the net. We had all four lines bringing it and fed off the noise of the crowd and took advantage of it."
|Quenneville ||3. First can't be last: |
Somehow, the Flyers have gotten to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with only sporadic
contributions from its first line in this series. Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have combined for just 4 goals and 6 points in the first five games. Clearly, that can't continue. "I don't think we're playing poorly," Richards said. "I think we are getting a lot of great looks at the net. We're just not scoring goals. Confidence is such a big thing in hockey, where if you have it you're almost unstoppable. If you don't, it's tough to get anything going. But we're getting great chances at the net. You have to think sooner than later they're going to go in. Let's hope tomorrow night is the night."
|4. Antti's answer: |
For all the good that came out of Chicago's 7-4 win Sunday, Antti Niemi still allowed four
goals -- and they weren't pretty either. He made some big saves, but overall Niemi looked like he was fighting the puck for a lot of the night. Niemi has given up four goals in each of the last three games and 18 in the series. It's time for him to find that level he had in the first three rounds, when he was in the Conn Smythe Trophy debate. "(Goals) just seem to be going in whether they're deflections or fortunate bounces around the net," Quenneville said. "The thing I always try is to stress is defense first in our approach. That's an area where we can enhance and solidify going into the next game to try to be a little bit airtight around our net."
|Niemi ||4. Defend this house: |
Game 6 is Philadelphia's final game at the Wachovia Center of the season, no matter
what. The Flyers have given the home fans plenty of memories this spring -- including nine wins in their 10 playoff games this spring. The last thing they want to do is allow Chicago to celebrate on the Wachovia Center ice and leave that as the building's final memory going into the summer. "You never want to see a team come into your building beat you, let alone win the Stanley Cup on your home ice," forward Jeff Carter said. "So (there is) a lot of motivation there. Obviously, the fans have been behind us since we began this five years ago, really. It would be nice to come out and get a big win for them in the last home game."
|5. Forget about that trophy thing: |
The Stanley Cup will be in the building Wednesday. That in and of itself should send
shivers up and down the spine of every player wearing the famous Indian head on his chest. Up close in person, the Stanley Cup shines even brighter than it does on television. Lifelong dreams could be fulfilled inside Wachovia Center, and somehow the Hawks have to block it out. It's got to be easier said than done. "We just have to treat it like another game; just go out there and have fun and play our game," Kris Versteeg said. "You've been waiting your whole life for this situation, so there is no need to be nervous now."
|Versteeg ||5. Physical graffiti: |
Philadelphia can't win this game to force a Game 7 unless they slow down the Hawks in
transition. The best way to do that is by hitting them at virtually every turn. They must get in aggressively on the forecheck and punish Chicago's defenseman as they try to key the transition. In the neutral zone, Philadelphia must use the body to stop Chicago from picking up speed. Finally, in the defensive zone, the Flyers must win more board battles and keep the front of the crease clean of Hawk forwards. "That's been our motto from Game 1: to wear them down physically on the forecheck, (in the) defensive zone -- pinning bodies and stuff," forward Scott Hartnell said.