Two things are clear after the Chicago Blackhawks handed the Philadelphia Flyers their asses Sunday night in Chicago…
1) This is a great series if you’re the home crowd, and
2) The team that wins on the road will win the Cup
This has been a classic back-and-forth matchup between two solid teams. These teams have capitalized on their opponents’ mistakes and paid for their own, much to the delight or chagrin of their fans, depending on the city.
Never underestimate the power of home ice. The Flyers kept it close in Game 3, forced overtime and then won. They followed that with a more dominant performance in Game 4.
Then Sunday happened. But Chicago needs to keep one thing in mind about Game 5: Philly did not stop playing, but kept their game going even in the closing minutes. Philadelphia will not go quietly. Just ask Boston.
The key to the remainder of this series will be home ice, and whether the Blackhawks can stay perfect. And yes, I know… that’s assuming Philadelphia wins in the Wachovia Center Wednesday.
However, that is the call I’m making. I think this series is meant to go seven games.
I believe this Stanley Cup Final will come down to whether the Flyers can tune out (or shake off) 22,000-plus fans clad in Red and Black, wailing the chorus of “Chelsea Dagger,” in Chicago. I have to tell you, it sounds pretty crazy when thousands of people sing it in unison, maybe even a little intimidating. It’s probably more effective with a crowd. Case in point: I tried a little “Chelsea Dagger” after scoring a goal at the air hockey table with Mrs. Martini last night, while watching Game 5. Ten seconds later, she answered with her own goal.
Maybe that’s a sign of things to come… or maybe I’m just really reaching for a parallel there.
We’ll find out Wednesday… and Friday.
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