The Chicago Blackhawks will meet the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship series. The Flyers knocked off the Montreal Canadiens in game five Monday.
Here is a broad view of these two franchises:
There is one common statistic which stands out to me: Chicago and Philadelphia have both been to the Cup final five times since their last championship. Chicago's last visit was 1992. Philly's was 1997. Chicago has not won since 1961. The Flyers have not won since 1975.
These are hungry franchises with desperate fans.
But Chicago should win right?
Seems like this would be an easy pick. Philadelphia barely made the playoffs. The Canadiens did all the work to kick out both Washington and Pittsburgh. The Flyers swept an unsuspecting New Jersey team in the opening round, and of course stunned the overrated Boston Bruins in seven after recovering from a 3-0 series deficit. By the time they met Montreal, the Canadiens had little left in the tank.
Clearly, I don't believe Philadelphia deserves to be here. And that's probably not fair - especially after the historic comeback against Boston. So, this brings me back to the question: Chicago should destroy them, right?
Not so fast. There are some aspects to this matchup which really go against the Blackhawks.
First, there is Michael Leighton - a really hot goaltender - something Chicago has not had to deal with in these playoffs. Next, the Flyers are by far the most physical team in the NHL. I think this is quite obvious at this point. They are tougher physically than any team Chicago has seen thus far. Moreover, the Flyers have added to their lineup: Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. They are rested and ready to give it all in the final series.
This is a Philly team without fear. Chicago better be ready.
One more very important point: The Curse of Marian Hossa. Chicago is not safe until they hoist the Cup.
Should be a great series between two franchises, two cities really, starving to capture Lord Stanley's Cup again.