Monday, May 10, 2010

Winning the Fifth

It happened in the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals. It happened in the 1975 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals. The Maple Leafs did it to the Red Wings and the Islanders did it to the Penguins. It hasn't been done in the NHL in 35 years, but it has been done before.

Only two teams have ever come back to win a series after being in a three games to none series hole in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers are trying to be the third.

They won game four on a goal by Simon Gagne in overtime in a game that should have never made it to OT. But they won and extended the series at least one game, and that's all that matters at this point. But winning game four at home in front of your home crowd is much different than winning game five on the road in front of the opposing team's raucous fans.

Winning game five will be the toughest task of this series so far for the Flyers. Nothing is over until it's over, but if the Flyers get into a 2-0 hole early on in the game they might as well leave the ice and start prepping their golf clubs. The Flyers have to come out with a vengeance tonight and show the Bruins that they're not going to go quietly. They have to win ALL of the board battles and force Boston to make mistakes.

The Bruins are going to be fueled by their home crowd early on in the game, and if the Flyers want to win, they're going to have to not only match Boston's energy, but surpass it.

It has been said as long as the playoffs have existed, but anything can happen in the playoffs. If Philadelphia can find a way to win game five and bring this series back home for a game six, who knows? And if it gets so far, game sevens are an entirely different monster.

My prediction for game five? It will be like games one, two and three--it will be back and fourth the whole game and no team will have a lead of 2+ goals for very long. The team who takes advantage of powerplay opportunities and wins the important faceoffs will have a definite advantage.

My Prediction: I hope it's wrong but, the Bruins win 5-4 to clinch the series.

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