This is the Chicago Blackhawks team I expected to see. This is the group that wore down the Nashville Predators, befuddled the Vancouver Canucks and swept the San Jose Sharks out of the Western Conference finals. I’m not sure what happened to them – even in the first two games they won – but let there be no doubt that this group is back.
Brent Seabrook scored the first goal on the powerplay, with a shot that bounced off of Chris Pronger’s skate. The Blackhawks would have had another powerplay with about five minutes left in the first period, but Dave Bolland scored a goal during a delayed penalty off of the back of Michael Leighont’s foot. Finally, Kris Versteeg scored a beauty to give the team a 3-0 lead. It seems like luck is going Chicago’s way right now, but they’re making things happen.
Talk of pulling Michael Leighton already picked up in our live chat, so it will be interesting to see if the beleaguered (but home ice friendly) netminder comes back out for the second period. This is a fairly big lead, but let’s not forget that the Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 of the Boston series in which they were down three games to none. The Flyers are not a bunch that flinches in the face of long odds.
We’ll see if Chicago keeps applying pressure or if they back off and give Philadelphia a chance to get back in this one. Don’t assume this one’s over just because the Blackhawks came out so strong.