After looking through a ton of projections, predictions and analysis of what to expect from the Blackhawks and Flyers Stanly Cup Finals series, I don't recall anyone saying that game one would be a wide open 6-5 game that would look like something you would expect to see in mid-October.
The game was the perfect opener for NBC and Gary Bettman who wanted to attract non-fans for the remaining games. Having ten goals scored in the first two periods provided enough action even for a casual fan that normally claims that there's not enough scoring.
The third period was more typical of what you would expect to see in a game in the finals. Thomas Kopecky's game winner 8:21 int the period was the difference in the Hawks 6-5 victory. Kopecky had been scratched the last five games and played only because of an injury to Andrew Ladd.
Most of the scoring for both teams came from lesser known players with Patric Sharp and Danny Briere being the only "name" players to score. Briere also had three assists for the Flyers. Troy Brouwer was another hero for the Hawks, scoring twice.
The much ballyhooed match between Chris Pronger and Dustin Byfuglien was a non-factor other than Byfuglien leading all players in hits with 10.
The Marion Hossa "curse" also did not come in to play as Hossa played a solid two-way game and had two assists.
Game two will be Monday at 7:00 p.m. on NBC. I expect to see a totally different contest with the teams more focused on defense. Both teams will try to slow down play in the neutral zone and push play to the boards and into the corners.
It is unclear if the Flyers will start Michael Leighton or Brian Boucher who came in after Leighton gave up five goals on 20 shots. Boucher played better giving up one goal on 12 shots and may be called on to star game two, especially if Leighton's confidence level is down after being pulled.
One thing became clear in game one. The Flyers can be competitive with the Hawks and could push this to six or seven games if they can win game two. Game one was not what anyone expected but it still goes in the books with Chicago leading 1-0 in the seven game series.
I'd like to give a special thanks to Charter Cable and Columbia Power for their quick response to getting the power and cable lines restored after a freak storm knocked down the lines in my yard on Friday night. The Power company was on the scene within an hour and the cable/Internet was only off for 19 hours. I consider that excellent response on a holiday weekend that allowed us to watch game one last night.
We will not have a POTG Radio tomorrow as it would fall at the same time as Game two of the Finals. We will return next Monday with a special Nashville Flood Relief Tweet-up Edition live from the Tin Roof. If you are really dying to hear POTG Radio, check out our archive of 63 episodes at iTunes.
In Pred Nation...
Bryan Mullen of the Tennessean sits down with Bary Trotz to get the coach's breakdown of the Hawks-Flyers series.
Buried at the end of this article is a note that the NHL GM of the Year ward in which David Poile is a finalists, will be announced Wednesday.
Mark Willoughby has a great piece on the drama playing out in the sale of the Texas Rangers and the "best interest" clause that may be invoked that could decimate future financing for sports franchises. The big issue will be whether a short term solution will lead to long term problems in the industry.
Ryan Porth looks at the Predator's forwards for next season.
Big Kev goes through the Predator free agents on defense.
Around the NHL...
Steve Lepore has the game one overnight ratings news for NBC. it was the best in eleven years.
Puck Daddy gives his readers their marching orders on how to improve ratings during the Stanley Cup Finals.
From the Point reports that Sidney Crosby will sign the biggest endorsement deal in the history of hockey.
Intent to Blow has the story behind the story of Pittsburgh getting the home ice for next season's Winter Classic.
Odds and Ends...
This time lapse video of the Gulf oil splill is a little confusing due to clouds cover at times but I guess it is the best that NASA has.
Like a lot of folks, I did not know that Seattle's Best was owned by Starbucks.
Which state has the least knowledgeable drivers. According to this survey, it is New York. i imagine part of that has to do with the fact that many urban dwellers do not drive.
Talk about the bottom falling out of the luxury housing market, a house formally owned by Cecil Fielder in Brevard County, Florida that was built for $4 million in the early 90's sold at auction for $1.16 million. The video with the story is interesting.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass