The Philadelphia Flyers will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers bumped off the feisty Montreal Canadiens in five games, finishing them off in style with a 4-2 victory on Monday night.
The Habs were climbing uphill throughout the whole playoffs, bumping off the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins in a pair of grueling playoff rounds that captivated the hearts and minds of the whole country. Unfortunately, the Canadiens ran out of gas against the Flyers and had difficulty putting the puck in the net, going scoreless in three of the series’ five games.
It was discipline that made things count over the long haul for the Flyers. Not only did the club author a history-making comeback against the Bruins, they took it to the Canadiens with an unproven goaltender. Philadelphia’s club snuck into the playoffs with a shootout victory in its final game of the regular season, but they sure as hell looked impressive throughout the post-season.
Before the 2009-2010 regular season started, many fans and pundits had picked the Flyers to go the distance. The club’s acquisition of Chris Pronger was, for many, a turning point in the history of the team that would push them back to the Cup. But injuries and sloppy regular season play soon changed the minds of many, while true believers stuck it out with their team until the ultimate payoff.
As for the Habs, they’ve got a lot to be proud of. Nobody expected them to make much of an impact this season. Questions in goaltending were constant, although Jaroslav Halak’s heroic post-season performance seems to have quelled the beast for now. Still, GM Pierre Gauthier has a lot of decision-making to do in the off-season and he’ll have to decide between Halak and Carey Price. Both are restricted free agents.
So while the Canadiens look to retooling and building on the momentum from the 2010 playoffs, the Flyers now look ahead to a tough challenge in the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are a quicker team in a lot of ways and they, like the Flyers, have the ability to agitate their opponents while making them pay on the power play.
The series will be a tough one for the Flyers, but their legions of orange-clad true believers will be with them every single step of the way.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.