I figured with all the Pittsburgh undertones to this series - a division rival going up against a former player that some (again, not all) have lasting discontent for, it's only right to touch up on the Stanley Cup Finals. I'd likely be doing it anyways, but the tie-in only helps.
With that said...
Of all the final scores that could possibly stand as the outcome of Game One between the Flyers and Blackhawks, I can honestly say, without statistical backup, that hardly anyone could've predicted a 6-5 finale.
Granted, you'd have to assume high scoring would be a possibility given the offensive powerhouse that is the Blackhawks, but I thought that the Philly defense would counter them pretty well.
In the end, neither team really stood as the counterpoint to the other. In fact, this was your prototypical last-team-to-score-wins sort of game. A total of 11 goals involving 10 different goal scorers is just crazy. It really goes to show you that depth on a roster can make the difference in any team's capacity to go the distance in the playoffs.
To be completely honest, I still can't decide which team was the better team coming out of Game One. Logic would say that the winner is naturally the better team on any given night, but I'm still left wondering where each team stands and just how they plan to match up in G2.
One thing I noticed that is worth mentioning is this: For all the times we've claimed the Flyers to be thugs, bullies, etc. the team took ZERO penalties last night. If they can maintain this sort of discipline it could do wonders against a team like Chicago. After all, you don't want to give that offense any more of a boost than it already has.
However, on a relatively similar note, the Philly power play needs to do a better job of not only scoring but also protecting their own net. Sure, they scored on 1-of-4 opportunities, but you could almost say the power play's +/- finished even last night after Dave Bolland scored a shorty in the first period. Chicago proved that they are just as deadly shorthanded as they are with the man advantage.
Far be it from me to pat Philly fans on the back and assure them that the series is still young, but there's no denying the truth of the matter. Yes, the series has just started. Down 1-0 is hardly a "hole." 2-0? Sure, that's getting closer to the term, but if Philly splits the series in Chi-town and returns home to the Wachovia Center tied 1-1, the series starts all over again. Only difference is it turns into a best of five instead of a best of seven series.