By OTC Hockey Contributor Sean Waters
I was going to start this preview with saying, why is the NHL hurting its own ratings by placing their games on the same nights as the NBA Finals. Well, it didn’t hurt them on Sunday night when they posted the highest non-overtime Game 5 in the Stanley Cup finals in over eight years. What a great game to what if you enjoy watching a lot of scoring. But tonight, I am pretty sure that there will not be 11 total goals scored between there two teams. Up to this point in the series, the home team has won ever game so far. With this, the Flyers have to be happy they are flying home for game six. And a little bit of a history lesson here, the last three times that the Hawks have had a chance to close out the Stanley Cup, they have lost.
Going into this series, the goalies on both sides were said to be the factors of the series. Well so far they have come only a few goals of the record of most goals allowed in Stanley Cup history through game 5 (40 goals). It is not a good thing when you can say that 1 out of every 4 shots is going in the net. But even though Leighton had a bad night on Sunday, I am positive to see him between the pipes tonight playing like his old self.
Here are the keys to victory for the Flyers: 1) They need to play better defense. It is not all the goalies fault, their needs to be more passes broken up and shots blocked. 2) Leighton needs to play better. You just cannot let three goals get by in 20 mins. If he does that tonight, series will end tonight. 3) The crowd is going to be going nuts, keep them going nuts all night long. 4) Don’t give Chicago any hope at winning this game. Chicago can score quick and often so control the puck and stay on offense as long as possible.
Here are the keys to victory for the Hawks: 1) Shoot as much as possible. 1 out of every 4 went in last game, see if this is still there. 2) Get the crowd out of the game. I believe this can be done with a fast first period. 3) Don’t turn over the puck, giving the Flyers easy goals. 4) Don’t commit stupid penalties. 25% of the goals scored so far for the Flyers are on the power play. Don’t make life harder for yourself.
I predict that the Flyers will win this game 5-4 in overtime and we will be fly back to Chicago for game 7.