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Flyers Win Cup Rematch over Blackhawks

January 23rd 2011 22:50
The Flyers showed the league which of the 2 teams from last year's Stanley Cup finals is primed for a 2nd appearance this year. The Flyers used their skill and depth to dismantle the 2010 Stanley Cup champs in a 4-1 victory in Chicago.

The Blackhawks are not the same team that took home the Cup last year due to salary cap constraints that caused them to part ways with key players such as Dustin Byfuglien and Chris Versteeg, while the Flyers have kept last year's squad relatively intact. In fact, the Flyers have made moves to improve their team by dropping defensemen Ryan Parent and Lukas Krajicek and replacing them with Sean O'Donnell and Andrej Mezaros. The Flyers are now able to run 3 pairs of D-men that could be considered a legitimate number 1 pair. Throughout the playoffs last season, the Flyers were left completely exposed anytime they sent out their 3rd pairing, which was something the Blackhawks took full advantage of in the finals. It left the Flyers little choice but to put the burden on the shoulders of Chris Pronger to play excessive minutes during the playoffs and that is asking a lot of a player in his early to mid 30's. The end result is that it diminished Pronger's effectiveness while still leaving a gaping hole in an otherwise strong team.

It is a new year and a new Flyers team, who also improved their offense by adding Nikolay Zherdev and have gotten additional scoring from emerging stars like James Van Reimsdyke and may have even found their long lost #1 goaltender with Sergei Bobrovsky.

Today's game showed which team is on the rise for this year and which team may have some re-tooling to do in order to get back to the level of greatness they achieved last year.

Without a stellar performance from their young goalie, Corey Crawford, it would have been a much higher score in favor of the Flyers. However, the Blackhawks showed why they are still a dangerous team by putting on some good pressure at times during the game, but the better team prevailed in this one with a good performance by Sergei Bobrovsky and the Flyers defense. The Flyers blocked 18 shots over the Blackhawks 9.

The Blackhawks have had a rough season as compared to last year, but given the talent that remains on their team, they could still pose a challenge in the West when it comes to playoff time, that is, if they make it in. There is still a lot of hockey to be played, so no team should be counted out and no team should be anointed future champions.

The likelihood of a true finals rematch is remote, but today's game showed why it would be a fun series to watch. There is still plenty of dislike between these two teams and it showed with a couple of fights and a lot of hitting. In fact, the hits for each team nearly equaled the shot totals for each.

The Flyers are going to be a dangerous team if they continue to stay healthy and stay hot going into the playoffs.

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4 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Joe Soriano

January 24th 2011 15:37
Regardless of struggles and stuff, this was a huge win for the Flyers. Any time you beat a talented team 4-1, it is a cause for happiness. This holds especially true when it is against a team that beat you in the most important game.

Comment by Adam B. D.

January 24th 2011 18:27
Given the fact that I was there last year to witness Kane and the Blackhawks celebrating on Flyers ice, I can honestly say that yesterday was one of the most satisfying wins of the season! And you're right, it is a very big win for the Flyers.

Comment by Gabe Lock

January 24th 2011 20:20
The Blackhawks are just not the same without the guys they had to give up. A first round loss wouldn't be surprising by any means - especially considering they would most likely be the lower seed.

Comment by Adam B. D.

January 24th 2011 21:11
As tough a season as they have had, they are still a talented team and could get hot at the right time. That being said, you nailed it in that the Hawks are not the same team as they were with those players lost to the cap. They are in danger of not making the playoffs at all, so it is really difficult to make any predictions on them at this point.

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