Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Theatre Tonight

If you're a hockey fan, then you're in luck. Tonight promises to be quite interesting. Great theatre is anticipated with the No.8 seeded Canadiens looking to repeat what they did to Ovechkin. This time, they're pitted against the Crosby/Malkin Pens. A larger task for sure.

Taking down the defending champs at what just could be the final game at old Mellon Arena would be astronomical. Les Habitants will need virtuoso performances from all actors led by Jaroslav Halak, series star Mike Cammalleri and Hal Gill. They'll need help from familiar ex-Devil duo Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta. Both have played well. Each has big game experience. Can they put it together in Game Seven? Tomas Plekanec has mostly been absent. If the soon to be FA wants to increase his value, this would be a great start. He was real effective in the Round One upset. Other key components of this improbable Hab run have been antagonist Max Lapierre, ex-Ranger Dominic Moore, former pick Tom Pyatt and Andrei Kostitsyn. Emergency call-up P.K. Subban has been stellar and Josh Gorges instrumental in teaming with Gill to blanker Sidney Crosby. Minus top defender Andrei Markov, do they have one more peak performance in them? Hopefully, it won't be as anticlimatic as last year's Conference Semi Caps dismantling.

While the Habs will still be heavy underdogs against Crosby, Geno, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jordan Staal, Gonchar and Kris Letang, the Flyers are trying to do something that hasn't been done since 1975. Only twice in NHL history have teams rallied from 0-3 down to win series. The 1942 Leafs and most recently, the Islanders did it some 35 years ago, 33 years after Toronto. Is the timing right for the banged up Flyers to stun the Bruins? Simon Gagne has been remarkable coming back from a broken bone in his right foot scoring the sudden death winner to keep his team alive in Game Four and two more goals in a 4-0 Game Five rout.

All of Philadelphia will be behind their Flyers when the puck drops an hour from now at Wachovia. To even sniff the final part of something the Red Sox did to the Yankees in '04, Peter Laviolette's bunch must get off quickly against what should be a more focused and desperate Boston club that wants nothing to do with Game Seven. Even if it's in their own building, the pressure would be gigantic. The Avs tried this a few years ago against the Sharks winning two straight before falling in Game Six. The sixth game AKA third part is usually the biggest hurdle. If Philly can get through it, only then does it become possible. They'll need Michael Leighton to start where he left off in relief of injured Brian Boucher the other night. Remember, it was Leighton who was so brilliant before Boucher got them in. Now, he has a chance to help his team make history. The Flyers are still without Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. That doesn't matter. They've shown heart all Spring.

It sets up to be quite the watch. Sit back, relax and crack open a Molson.

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