As we finally reach the beginning of the Stanley Cups Finals (a week is way too long to wait), it’s pretty safe to assume you’ve had ample time to read every preview, prediction, and comment by every player, reporter, neighbor, mother-in-law, and traveling roadshow clown. So instead of doing one of those, here are a few fun and interesting facts about Flyers and Blackhawks on the eve of Game 1. We’ll save the real analysis until after the real hockey.
Do You Believe in Miracles?
-The Blackhawks came back from a 2-1 series deficit in the first round against Nashville, but it took a short-handed goal with the goaltender on the bench in the waning seconds of the game to force overtime, and 4 more minutes of penalty kill to start overtime to do it. Marian Hossa scored the game winner less than ten seconds after coming out of the box.
-The Flyers became just the fourth team in all of professional sports to overcome a 3-0 series deficit, and were down 3-0 in Game 7 in Boston before scoring four unanswered goals to stun the crowd and the Bruins themselves. The game-winner was scored on the power play, for a Too Many Men on the Ice infraction.
-Michael Leighton has three shutouts this postseason, but he’s played in just eight games. On top of that, he played 35 shutout minutes in Boston in relief of the injured Brian Boucher, who was blanking the Bruins at the time (neither was awarded the shutout). Leighton’s career shutout total in 103 NHL regular season games? Four.
Better In Warmer Climates
-The two previous Winter Classic losers will compete for the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh and Detroit, winners of the first two, each lost in the Cup Finals in the years that they won the outdoor game (to each other).
Not the Face!
- The Flyers’ Ian Laperriere returned to action at the end of the Montreal series after blocking a shot with his face in the first round. The puck shattered his orbital bone and actually bruised his brain. He’ll be wearing a full shield for the finals.
-Duncan Keith caught a puck square in the mouth in the second period of Game 4 in the last series against San Jose. The impact cost him four teeth during the game, and another three after its conclusion (don’t worry, two were already fake). He missed seven minutes of game time and returned to the ice later in the period. Somehow he still managed to accumulate 29 minutes of ice time. Keith will opt for his regular half shield for the series.
Broad Street Bullies Part Deux?
-The Flyers had seven players with 70 or more penalty minutes during the regular season and four of those players were over 100. The Blackhawks had just two players with more than 70, and only Ben Eager topped the 100 mark (his 120 PIM would still place him fifth on the Flyers).
-Nine of Philadelphia’s wins have come as part of streaks of three or more wins. They had six such streaks during the regular season, earning 24 of their 41 victories on such runs. They won six in a row after falling down 3-0 to Boston, and are 8-1 overall since that scare.
-Not to be outdone, the Blackhawks have won 3+ in a row three times this postseason, including their current five gamer. They too are 8-1 in their last nine.
-The Hawks bring a playoff record-tying 7 game road win streak into this series. Game 3 at the Wachovia Center might just have a little bit extra motivation for both sides.
-Jonathan Toews is riding a 13 game point streak in the playoffs, a franchise record, and the longest of its kind since Eric Staal notched a point in 15 straight back in 2006.
-Dustin Byfuglien has scored in five consecutive games. The team has not lost in the postseason when he registers a point.
Hail to the Chief?
-Rumors abound that President Barack Obama will be making an appearance at Game 1 in Chicago to show his support for his hometown team. File this one under Doubtful.
About the Author
Written by Adam Seidman
Adam can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org