With Chris Pronger off his game, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to finally come out to play in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
It wasn’t apparent as to what was bothering Pronger, but his coverage on Chicago’s key players just wasn’t up to par like it was in the series’ first four contests. The surly defender was a minus-5 in the Blackhawks’ 7-4 victory and found himself on the ice for six of his opponents’ goals. Pronger was in the sin bin for the other one.
It looked like Chicago coach Joel Quenneville’s decision to split up his big guns paid off, too. Six different Blackhawks popped in goals in the game and Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Dustin Byfuglien remained too much for Pronger to neutralize on his own. With more space and time, big Byfuglien was able to net two goals. Kane had one and an assist.
In any event, it looks as though the Blackhawks are back on track. They even managed to get under the skin of the Flyers a little, showing some of that antagonism that they were able to brew up against San Jose and Vancouver.
Flyers’ keeper Michael Leighton was pulled for the second time in the series and Brian Boucher took over the job. In allowing three goals in 13 shots, Leighton has to be at least a bit of a question mark for Flyers fans. He did take a puck off the knee in the pre-game skate, however, and that may have contributed to his less-than-stellar performance.
With the Blackhawks clicking for the first time in the series, the Flyers will have to hope that their 9-1 home record in these playoffs holds up the standard as things swing back to Philly.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.