Well we now have a series. Game 3 was everything that a hockey fan would want to see out of a championship game. There was a lot of hard hitting, many great saves with many greatoffensive sets, power play goals, and even an overtime winner. For the first time in this series the Flyers have got to be feeling very good going into their next game. They hold a lot of momentum going into game 4. They now know that they can get past the Chicago defense and Niemi. With this, Philadelphia’s first line was very successful on Wednesday night, something that hasn’t really happened up to this point in the series. The Flyers received goals from Briere, Hartnell, Leino, and a game winner by Giroux in overtime. On the other side, Chicago played very well. Even though they had a long road winner streak going into this game, it is still very hard to win on the road no matter whom you are. Even though Chicago lost, I would still be feeling pretty good about myself going into game 4. There were still a lot of positives that came out of game 3 for Chicago. For one thing, the first line finally started to do some work on the offensive side with Kane scoring a goal and Keith recording his second of the playoffs.
Here are some facts that come out of Game 3
– The Flyers ended a seven-game losing streak in the Stanley Cup finals games going back to 1987
– Patrick Kane recorded two points ending his streak of six straight playoffs games without a goal.
– The first three game of the finals so far have all been decided by on goal for the first time since ‘98
– Ville Leino’s 15 points these playoffs tied the Flyers record for points by a rookie.
– The Flyers are now 8 and 1 at home this postseason
– Chicago’s 11 goals, so far in the Stanley Cup, have been scored by 10 different players.
– With Chicago losing, it snapped a seven game winning streak and also snapped a seven game road-winning streak.
The keys to game 4 remain between the pipes. With Niemi having 28 save on Wednesday and Leighton having 24, there are no signs of these two slowing down anytime soon. It is very easy to see that goaltending is the reason why teams win Stanley Cups. For Philadelphia, I believe they need to carry the momentum that they have right now into game 4. Everyone knows that the crowd there is going to be going crazy, big question is if the Flyers can take advantage of that. Philadelphia is doing a great job of wearing through the Hawks defense and is something that should be attacked on Friday night. For Chicago, they really need three things. First off, they need a power play goal. They are yet to score on the power play in these finals so far. Along the same lines they need to do a better job defending when Philadelphia is on the power play, 4 of the Flyers 10 goals so far in these finals have been on the power play. Third is that the Hawks need to take control of the third period. This is the second straight game now that they were out shot 15 to 4 in the third. In my opinion, Niemi and Chicago’s defense have been very good but if the Hawks are just going to allow themselves to be out shot by that margin again, I see a very similar outcome as the one in game 3 with Philly winning.
My prediction is that the Flyers are going to live off of the overtime victory and Wachovia Center is going to be going crazy from the second that arena opens. I believe that Philadelphia will go up early but then Chicago will come back and take game 4 on the road by a score of 4-2.