Flyers attempt to force Game 7 tonight at home
GAME 6: BLACKHAWKS at FLYERS
(Blackhawks lead best-of-7 series 3-2)
-- The Stanley Cup will be in the building and it will be awarded to the Blackhawks if they win. There hasn't been a bigger storyline all season long. However, the Blackhawks are 0-3 in Wachovia Center this season, including 0-2 in this series. They were outscored in the first period, 4-1, over Games 3 and 4. The Flyers are 9-1 at home in the playoffs and are riding a seven-game home winning streak.
-- The mood in the dressing room after Sunday's 7-4 win was telling of how far this team has come and how mature it is despite its youth. The Blackhawks were reserved and quiet and the room was almost morgue-like. If you hadn't watched the game or known the outcome, you probably would have thought the Hawks lost the game. But, that was their intention. As excited as they were inside, no one was bouncing off the dressing room walls or talking loudly. Business-like is probably the best way to describe it, and that's a good thing because there is still business to tend to and the Blackhawks know it won't be easy to win this thing in six. However, if they skate and play as crisp as they did in Game 5, they'll give themselves a much better chance to lift the Cup.
"We've been through a lot of ups and downs, more ups than downs, but we have grown as a team," Kris Versteeg said. "We know what we need to do to be successful. We just have to keep level-headed and treat it as another game."
-- Laviolette said it Sunday night and repeated himself Monday. "It was just one game," the coach was saying. He's right. The Flyers lost Game 5 in a bad way, but they did not lose the series at United Center. The question is because of that loss, what kind of changes does Laviolette have in store? It is clear that switching goalies is not one of them; Michael Leighton
will start. But by the end of Game 5, Laviolette was using different lines. He had taken Jeff Carter
, rendered ineffective in this series likely because of his nagging foot injuries, off the top line. Mike Richards
and Simon Gagne were joined by Claude Giroux
while Jeff Carter
centered his own line between James van Riemsdyk
and Arron Asham. They produced a goal 6:36 into the third period. Laviolette has to decide if those lines will stay the same or if he has confidence to go back to the Gagne-Richards-Carter line that really hasn't been very good in the series.
"We've got to get back as a team and make sure we're ready to play our brand of hockey, our style of hockey in our building with our fans (Wednesday) night," Laviolette said. "We have to make sure we're ready to win one hockey game."
Who's Hot --
Dustin Byfuglien finally got unleashed Sunday night and wound up with 2 goals and 2 assists. He had only 1 assist through the first four games of the series. Dave Bolland has 3 goals in the series and Duncan Keith has 1 goal and 4 assists over the last three games. Ville Leino
had 3 assists Sunday and now has 3 goals and 4 assists in the series. Danny Briere
has 2 goals and 7 assists against the Hawks Scott Hartnell
also has 3 goals and 4 assists in the series.
-- Briere suffered a cut above his eye when he was struck by Keith's stick, but is fine to play.
-- Chicago became the 21st team in Stanley Cup Final history to take a 3-2 series lead by winning Game 5. Fourteen of the first 20 have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. … The home team is 5-0 in this series. Only three times in history ('55, '65, '03) has the home team won every game in a Stanley Cup Final. … Jonathan Toews needs one point to tie Denis Savard's franchise record for points in a single postseason (29). … Leino is two points shy of Dino Ciccarelli's record for most points scored by a rookie in a single postseason (21). Ciccarelli set the mark in 1981 with the Minnesota North Stars. … After Sunday's loss the Flyers are 9-1 in Games 4-7 this postseason. … Chicago hasn't won a game in Philadelphia since 1996 (0 for its last 10).
-- "If you look at the Final, it's like a novel and there could be seven chapters in it; each chapter is its own story," Laviolette said. "(Sunday) night in chapter 5, (the Blackhawks) were probably happy with what they did, and we were not. It moves on to another day and another chapter. Our team will be ready to give it."