Monday, May 31, 2010

Setting Expectations

After the 6-5 lightshow witnessed in Game 1, here are four things to watch for in Game 2:

1. Physical Play

The wide open style of play in Game 1 has both coaches concerned with their teams ability to limit the amount of mistakes made in the defensive  and neutral zones. An increase in physical play will tighten up the game, which I think will favor the Flyers. Chris Pronger did a tremendous job in playing a shutdown game against big Dustin Byfuglien and I think that with Dan Carcillo in the lineup tonight, the Flyers will enjoy the similar benefits with his style of play.

2. Goaltending:

Both goaltenders did not have great games obviously and there will be a lot of focus tonight on who will respond stronger. There is more pressure on Michael Leighton to comeback with a strong game after being chased in Game 1, but the Flyers have all the confidence in him to respond which is why he is getting the start tonight. I think nerves were present for both goaltenders so we'll see them play tonight with more confidence and focus.

3. Mike Richards:

Absent from the scoresheet, as were each team's top line, I think Mike Richards will respond with a huge game. It may not be from a scoring standpoint but with Richards' ability to lead his team with relentless forechecking and physical play, he will rally the charge for his team to even this series.

4. Defense:

Tying into my point on 'Physical Play', the defense between these two teams have got to get better. Poor zone coverage lead to too many turnovers and second chances in Game 1. With tighter defense, each team will be able to do a better job controlling the pace of the game and clearing the zone. Game 2 won't be as entertaining as far as scoring goes, but we will see more of a complete hockey game.

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