Bliss In Concrete: Flyers at Hawks Game 2 Preview/Pregame Thread/Rained Out BBQ
TV/RADIO: NBC (Red, White, and Blue), CBC (Maple Leaf), WGN 720am
Philly Focal Point: Broad Street Hockey
Let's make it a little easier on the soul than the last one, eh? Although, I guess we'll take a win however it comes, but we're all trading years off our life if they're going to be like that. Anyway, the Hawks are 1/4th of the way home, but they'll need to change a lot of things to get a second win tonight.
First off, passing in their own zone and the neutral zone. The Flyers scored four of their five goals of bad turnovers, and that can't happen again. The first two periods saw far too many occasions when Hawk forwards were getting beat to the puck by pinching defensemen, something we saw against Nashville. Two solid passes and the Hawks should be out and in space behind the aggressive Flyer forecheck.
Second, wait all of three to five minutes before receiving your first power play of the Finals. You won't have to do much, it's coming regardless.
Third, do the same effective job of clearing rebounds and your zone that you did in the 3rd period of Game 1. The Flyers barely had a sniff until the last few minutes when the Hawks went into full protect mode. A lot has been made of how Michael Leighton bounced back from a rough Game 3 against the Habs to post a shutout in Game 4. Hate to break it to you, but we're not the Habs. Additionally, Niemi has been just as good at bouncing back. After the shaky Games 1 and 3 against the Preds, he posted shutouts in the following games then. After the Game 1 disaster against Vancouver, he held the Hawks in Game 2 when they needed it most this season. There's no reason not to expect a more solid effort from the Antti-dote tonight, but let's hope the puck sticks to him a little more anyway.
One thing to watch for is how Pronger reacts when his ice time gets over 25. It's one thing to skate 30 against the toothpick swords the Bruins and Habs wield. It's quite another to do it against the Excalibur the Hawks are carrying. He'd better be good, there's nothing to suggest Hossa won't be ragdolling the bottom pairs again.
Update: Carcillo is in for the Flyers, and apparently signaling a line shakeup. Here's what they have on Puck Daddy:
Also Bartulis is in for Parent. What this means for Q I don't know, but he may consider having Marlboro 72 out against Briere's line, or not matching lines at all. Who the fuck knows.
For the Hawks, Ladd's out again, but you knew that.