Author: NBC Sports

2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Blackhawks stun Flyers in 2nd period

End of 2nd: Chicago Blackhawks 2, Philadelphia Flyers 0

Blackhawks lead series 1-0

No sooner had I finished published the last update, extolling how the Flyers were back to normal thanks to the out of control nature of Dan Carcillo and the great performance by Michael Leighton, before the Chicago Blackhawks unleashed their fury upon the Flyers and scored two goals mere seconds apart.

It started with a scrum around the Flyers net, with the Blackhawks converging on a rebound in front of Michael Leighton. Marian Hossa, who has been beleaguered all postseason long, kept pounding away at the puck before bouncing it over Leighton and into the net.

It was a garbage goal, an unfortunate one to allow by Leighton who had been playing so well, and one you could almost forgive. You’d hope for better coverage in front, but it was essentially a bad bounce.

Then Ben Eager carried the puck into the zone, and the entire feel of the game changed.

Just 28 seconds after Hossa’s score, Eager pulled off a nifty toe drag to pull the puck right into his wheelhouse and into a position where Leighton would be perfectly screened by his defender. Eager unleashed a wicked wrist shot that exploded off his stick, painted the top shelf and was buried over Leighton’s shoulder.

Until that point, you could say the Flyers had been playing one hell of a game. They were putting the pressure back on the Blackhawks and only a number of tremendous saves by Antti Niemi kept the Flyers from taking the lead. Leighton looked calm and comfortable in net.

In the span of just 30 seconds, it all fell apart.

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    2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Carcillo, Flyers back to normal

    2nd period: Chicago Blackhawks 0, Philadelphia Flyers 0

    Blackhawks lead series 1-0

    Peter Laviolette decided to put Dan Carcillo back in the lineup in an effort to get the Flyers back to playing the style of hockey that was so successful for them in the first three series of the playoffs.

    After 30 minutes, I can definitely say that Carcillo has made a difference.

    Game 1 was a sloppy, undisciplined game with 10 goals scored in the first two periods. With Carcillo giving his team some energy and some attitude, the Flyers buckled down and got back to playing the frustrating, defensive hockey that got them to this point. It wasn’t all great, however, as Carcillo took things a bit too far as he haphazardly threw his body around but the effect the Flyers were going for was achieved.

    The Blackhawks worred about Carcillo just a bit too much, and while they dominated the shots on goal in the first period (9-3) they walked away scoreless.

    Michael Leighton looking much more confident helped as well.

    In the second period, the game has calmed down a bit and the Flyers have killed off a couple of penalties. The Flyers have also evened up the shots on goal and the scoring chances a bit, finding a counterattack while still locking down Toews, Kane and Byfuglien.

    This is a much closer, much more physical game than we witnessed in Game 1 and it’s exactly what I expected to see. It’s no less entertaining, however.

    2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Pre-game quotes from Flyers, Blackhawks


    Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

    Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2

    lead series 1-0

    Live on NBC, 8 p.m. EDT

    Join us for a live chat for tonight’s game @ 7:45

    As we gear up for Game 2, here’s some quotes from the Flyers and the
    Blackhawks from today.

    Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, on Dan Carcillo’s attitude and

    “Danny Carcillo has done an excellent job with his discipline when
    he’s been in the lineup, so he plays an aggressive game. He can agitate
    a little bit. He’s physical. And I think he’s done an excellent job
    of controlling his game and keeping it legal.”

    Laviolette, on the decision to start Michael Leighton:

    “We haven’t had to make a decision in a long time, I said that
    yesterday, just based on injury. We just wanted to go back and talk
    about everything.

    “Michael Leighton, his numbers have been excellent for us in the
    regular season. They’ve been excellent in the Playoffs. His bounceback
    coming back here. Game 3 in Montreal was kind of the same scenario
    that we were in last night. We played — we need to play better in
    front of him. Everybody could be better. Our goaltending, we said that
    yesterday, our goaltending, defense, forwards, our game can be better;
    and we all seemed to respond as a team in Game 4.”

    Simon Gagne, on Carcillo’s return:

    “He’s a guy that — you know he’s not a big guy, but he’s going to
    bring some physical aspect. He’s going to run around, I think, finish
    every check that he’s able to do, and at the same time, he’s got some
    skills too. He’s a guy who can make some plays and score some big goals
    for us against Jersey in the first round.”

    Ian Laperriere on the attitude of the Flyers:

    “Very confident. We’re relaxed. There’s no panic, nothing. We know
    we made mistakes. That’s what cost us the first game; and we did a lot
    of good things and we did a lot of bad things. That’s why we came on
    the wrong side of the game last game. Everybody is pretty relaxed and
    just enjoying our free time in Chicago, I guess.”

    Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, on Dustin Byfuglien’s struggles in
    Game 1:

    “I still think he was a factor last game. He’s a presence
    physically. I think — I know he finishes checks. I think the player
    receives it, knows he’s around. I think Buff — we didn’t get enough
    pucks at the net when he was there.

    “I think he’s tried to get to the front of the net. He was there
    sometimes when the puck didn’t arrive. I still think he’s a factor when
    we do get a power-play that he can make an imprint in that area. I
    still think he’s useful in a lot of ways.”

    Jonathan Toews, on whether the nerves of the team have calmed a

    “I think so. May have been the same thing for both teams. It’s a
    big stage. A long week just to sit there and think about it. If you’re
    kind of — just got a couple of days and you go in that first game,
    maybe you pick up where you left off in the previous round a little bit

    “But, you know, now I think as a team we feel we’re back in the
    routine, back in the swing of things. We can go out there and play
    hockey and focus on the smaller details of our game.”

    Dustin Byfuglien, on whether he’s willing to pay the price to get
    room in the crease, going against Pronger:

    “Definitely. You go out there and stand with him and do what you
    have to do. It’s part of the game. When they get a power-play they
    really stand around and be there with their presence. I’ll be there
    until the end of it.”

    2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Is Carcillo's return good for Flyers?

    Carcillo5.jpgChicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

    Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2

    lead series 1-0

    Live on NBC, 8 p.m. EDT

    Join us for a live chat for tonight’s game @ 7:45

    The Flyers lost Game 1 by just one goal, and were able to walk away
    knowing that at least they have the ability to keep up with the Chicago
    Blackhawks. Still, there’s no doubting that the Flyers were nowhere near
    as good as they could have been and never came close to using the
    attitude, physicality and perseverance they have become known for in the

    In an effort to get back to what had worked so well
    before, the Flyers will be playing Dan Carcillo for the first time since
    Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Flyers lacked energy and
    an overall aggression, something that Carcillo will certainly work to
    provide in an extremely important Game 2.

    If there is one player
    on the Flyers that can instantly change the direction a game will take,
    it’s Dan Carcillo. The small yet fiery player has the ability to be the
    emotional spark the Flyers need, especially after spending the last
    month of the season and the first two series of the playoffs becoming
    something of a cult hero among the Flyer faithful.

    Carcillo was
    benched against the Montreal Canadiens to make room on the roster for
    Jeff Carter, something that Carcillo understands as a move that was
    needed for the team.

    “Peter pretty much told me exactly why [I was
    going out], and it’s a no
    brainer – Carter comes back, he’s a 40-goal scorer, it’s pretty easy for
    you guys to figure out, too.”

    Yet it wasn’t easy for Carcillo to
    just sit back and watch his team play without him. He’s an emotional
    player, a guy who loves nothing more than to get out on the ice and stir
    the pot. Yet he was relegated to watching the games from the box, not
    being able to be there for his teammates.

    “It’s probably the
    hardest thing I’ve had to do in my career,” Carcillo said. “I’m a guy
    who kind of wears his emotions on his sleeve and you always want to see
    the team do well, and you’re still a part of the team, but it was a
    tough pill to swallow.”

    One thing the Flyers did excel at in Game 1
    was playing a disciplined, in control game that never allowed the
    Chicago Blackhawks offense to get rolling with the man advantage. With
    Carcillo back in the lineup, there’s bound to be some penalties doled
    out as he does all he can to shake things up with big hits and some
    incredibly antagonistic approaches along the boards. Still, Carcillo
    isn’t expecting to be so out of control that he’ll hurt his team.

    just going to play my game,” he said. “Running around, being
    physical and not taking any penalties to put the team down. And staying
    out of the stuff after the whistle.”

    So is Carcillo’s return
    something the Flyers need? He’ll be replacing rookie James van Riemsdyk,
    so it’s not likely that the Flyers will be missing any big offense.
    Carcillo also isn’t likely to see anything over ten minutes of ice time,
    and will be used primarily as a means to give his team the mental and
    physical edge they lacked in Game 1.

    All in all, if Carcillo is
    able to keep from doing anything dumb you have to see this as nothing
    but a positive for the Flyers. They’re getting a player back in the
    lineup that everyone on the team is happy to see back on the ice,
    someone capable of providing emotional and physical support while having
    the ability of scoring some timely goals as well.

    As far as dumb
    plays go, we could see some fireworks between Carcillo and the resident
    agitator on the Blackhawks Adam Burish. Burish stated that he has no
    prior history with Carcillo, although he added “maybe after tonight we

    Carcillo might not be too thrilled with Burish after his
    hit on David Krajicek in Game 1. It was a dangerous hit from behind,
    although Carcillo isn’t expecting anything to happen with Burish.

    “He’s a college guy. He’s not going to fight,” he
    told Darren Dreger of TSN.

    I’d say with
    Carcillo, the Flyers are getting exactly what they’ll need: attitude.

    2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Flyers, Blackhawks aim for improvement


    Blackhawks2.jpgChicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

    Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2

    lead series 1-0

    Live on NBC, 8 p.m. EDT

    Join us for a live chat for tonight’s game @ 7:45 p.m.

    Generally the NHL playoffs are defensive battles, close
    affairs with both teams fighting not to make mistakes as each goal
    allowed becomes more and more devastating the deeper into the playoffs
    they go. There will always be breakdowns, but generally the games become
    intense and low scoring scoring games as every single player on both
    teams raises the level of their play to levels they’ve never reached
    before. Teams that fail to keep up with the intensity and drive of the
    other becomes a footnote in the annals of the Stanley Cup finals.

    Game 1 resembled none of this. A sloppy, yet ultimately
    entertaining game that saw ten goals scored in the first two periods was
    like nothing anyone expected. After all, the backbone of both the
    Blackhawks and the Flyers is their defense and while the goaltending was
    never exactly a strength of both teams it had been a while since we had
    witnessed breakdowns of this level.

    That it happened
    to both teams, in the same game, is nothing short of extraordinary.

    The Blackhawks, despite the win, realized that they were
    lucky. They allowed a less talented team to come out and get confidence,
    surprising everyone when the Flyers grabbed a 3-2 lead headed into the
    first intermission. The Blackhawks fought back in the second and the
    third, yet walked away knowing that if they hope to hoist the Stanley
    Cup at the end of the series they’ll need to play much, much better than
    they did on home ice against the Flyers.

    For the
    Flyers, they should feel confident in themselves after playing the
    Blackhawks so close. Yet just like Chicago, they know they were nowhere
    near their best and they paid for it with a tough loss. Despite coming
    out so energetic and so determined to begin the game, they were
    undisciplined defensively and allowed the Blackhawks to tie the game and
    take three different leads after holding a 3-2 lead themselves after 20

    Was it just jitters for two teams that
    overall are lacking Stanley Cup experience? The Blackhawks have Marian
    Hossa and the Flyers have Chris Pronger, but overall these are two
    generally young and inexperienced teams when it comes to playing with so
    much on the line.

    I don’t expect to see another game
    like we witnessed on Saturday, and I’m certain that both the coaches
    and players are determined to have their teams get back to what had been
    so successful for them leading up to this point.

    the Flyers, that means a more physical approach as they work to keep
    not only the Hawks’ top line off the scoreboard but also the rest of the
    team as well. The Flyers were duped into a run and gun game that is far
    from the style they employ so well, and they need to find a way to
    limit the attack of the Blackhawks. Keeping the Hawks to the perimeter,
    forcing them to fight for the puck along the boards and using the
    physicality that the Flyers are so good at is exactly the approach this
    team needs; not some haphazard, up and down game that exposes every
    weakness the Flyers have.

    The Blackhawks were
    surprisingly undisciplined on defense, allowing the Flyers all sorts of
    space in the first half of the game. What was more amazing was how the
    Hawks walked away with a win despite Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and
    Dustin Byfuglien having their worst games of the postseason. They
    weren’t just ineffective, they were horrible.

    scoring depth of the Hawks won’t be there every game, and if the Flyers
    are able to consistently lock down that top line they they’ll have a
    damn good chance at walking away with the Cup after all is said and

    Game 1 was entertaining but for hockey purists
    it was one ugly performance by each team. Both sides will lock things
    down, and I expect to see a much more disciplined game by both teams
    tonight — disciplined in the actual play, that is. I fully expect to
    see the Flyers and the Blackhawks get more physical, more undisciplined
    along the boards and in scrums as they settle into the series and look
    to get the upperhand in any way possible.