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There is hope for Philadelphia

by Paul Kukla
The Philadelphia Flyers are down 0-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks and now head home for two games. Some of the talk late last night and early this morning is the series may be over.

Perhaps the people who are talking such nonsense have a short memory. Does this sound familiar? Last year's Stanley Cup Final, Detroit beats Pittsburgh 3-1 in Games 1 and 2.

So you see, there is hope for the Flyers faithful. Chicago was supposed to win their home games and now, the Flyers are expected to do the same in the next two games. But Philadelphia can not -- I repeat, can not -- think of winning two games right now.

They need to concentrate winning a shift, then a period, then the game and have that same mindset heading into Game 4 too. If they do so, the Flyers have a great chance of evening this series at 2-2.

Winning Game 3 will put the Flyers right back in the series. They will have the momentum, the home crowd will be behind them and they may also put some doubt in the minds of the Blackhawks players.

But again, they have to win Game 3 first. It has become evident that both teams have yet to play their "A" game for a full 60 minutes. Yes, we have seen flashes from both teams but neither team has put it all together for a complete contest. Philadelphia is the more desperate team right now and they have been a very resilient bunch during the playoffs, so I expect them to play their best game of the series to date in Game 3, then the series becomes much more interesting.

Chicago, on the other hand, is feeling satisfied with their two home wins but they also know they have yet to see Philadelphia's best. How will the still-young Blackhawks handle the intensity Philadelphia will surely bring at the start of Game 3? The Flyers will be playing with desperation while the Blackhawks will be trying to duplicate their winning formula from Games 1 and 2.

It is just a hunch on my part, but Chicago seems to pick up their game only when faced with adversity ahead, and right now, the adversity issue is not facing the Blackhawks in the face. Therefore, the Flyers win in a dominating way in Game 3.

Then let the fun begin.

A few Stanley Cup Final observations

* I see both Pierre McGuire (NBC) and Glenn Healy (CBC) are the men providing commentary for the respective networks from "between the benches." Luckily the area at the United Center in Chicago is big enough to handle both men. But I do wonder what it would be like at an arena like Joe Louis Arena, where only one person can barely fit. Would the two men stand back to back, or one behind the other?

* Very strange we have yet to see a goal scored by Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Mike Richards or Jeff Carter in the Stanley Cup Final.

* Marian Hossa does not get enough credit for his defensive play. Notice he is on the ice when the Blackhawks are protecting a lead with less than a minute to go in the game.

* When did Ville Leino become Johan Franzen?

* Even after two games, I have no idea who is going to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs. I think that story has yet to be written.

* The refereeing for Games 1 and 2 has been great. They are letting the boys play and determine the outcome of the game, not the other way around.

I do hope you have been enjoying the Stanley Cup Final. Any questions, complaints or comments for me? Reach me at or get the latest hockey news at Kukla's Korner.

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