With three days before the Stanley Cup Finals begain on Saturday, we are going to take a look at how each team can win today and tomorrow then give our predictions on Friday.
First up, we will look at the Philadelphia Flyers who have soared through their last nine games, winning all but one. So what are some of the reasons why whey could win the Cup?
Destiny: The team has had a storybook tale ever since clinching a playoff berth in a shootout on the last day of the season. They handled the Devils with little trouble. They won four in a row to come back from an 0-3 deficit against the Bruins for the first time in 35 years. Then they beat a Habs team that had a couple of miracles to their own credit.
Chris Pronger: Whether you like the big guy or not, he comes alive when the playoffs start. His teams have made the playoffs every season since 1996. He has 116 points in 164 playoff games. He won a ring in 2007 with the Ducks and fell one game short with the Oilers the year before.
Goaltending: Since his return, when Brian Boucher went down in the second round, Michael Leighton is 6-1 with a .948 save percentage and a 1.45 goals against average. He had three shutouts in the four wins against the Habs.
Scoring Power: The Flyers have several folks that have been contributing in the playoffs. Mike Richards has 21 points. Danny Briere has four game winning goals. Claude Giroux has really come into his own in the post season. Simon Gagne and a host of others have taken turns scoring key goals and making the big play.
Defense: The Flyers will have one of two of the best D-men in hockey on the ice almost the whole game in Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen. In key situations they each have pushed 30 minutes in ice time. Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn have been good line mates for the top two.
Special Teams: In the playoffs, the Flyers have 17 power play goals to lead all teams. They also are second on the penalty kill with a 87% success rate which has been needed since they have been hit with 193 pims, the second most in the post season.
Toughness: This year’s version of the Flyers has put the bully back in Broad Street. They aren’t afraid to hit and play with grit through out the entire line up. During the regular season, the Flyers had four players with over 100 pims.
Hossa is on the Opponent ;) Although there is nothing to it I’m sure, Marion Hossa is appearing in his third finals in three years and is yet to win the cup.
X-Factor: Both the Flyers and the Hawks are loaded on the top two lines so the difference may come down to secondary scoring on the lower lines and whether an unexpected player comes out of no where to be the hero as we have seen so many times in years past.
Come back tomorrow for the low-down on the Blackhawks.
Thanks to Patrick Hoffman and Kukla's Korner...
We would like to thank Patrick Hoffman and Kukla's Korner for running an interview with me about how PredsOnTheGlass came about and a wide range of other topics. Kukla's is one of the best and most widely read hockey sites on the internet so it was a privilege to spread a little Predators hockey to their audience since they do not currently have a Preds representative in their stable of excellent writers. Thanks again guys!
In Pred Nation...
Predator "prospect" Alexander Radulov was named the MVP of the KHL yesterday.
Predators.com has the final stats amd medals for all in the organization that participated in the World Championships.
Paul McCann has a few comments on the finals and a preview of tonight's SlapShot Radio Show.
Chris Burton looks at next year's Predator defense at OnTheForecheck.
Jas Faulkner has a good piece about former Preds and other teams helping the Nashville Flood Relief at The Hockey Writers.
Rachel continues her year end wrap-up with part 2 in a series at What The Puck.
Cycward wraps up the Cincinnati Cyclones season in a very complete fashion.
Around the NHL...
Steve Yzerman was named the Tampa Bay Lightning's new GM at a Press conference yesterday. Puck Daddy has a good commentary on slowing down the circus in Bolt Country. Mirtle discusses how Yzerman was in the running for the Detroit job a while back. I heard Jon Jordan on XM last night and he was excited. Here's some points that he made.
The NHL Combine is underway with 100 players reporting to Toronto for interviews and tests. NHL.com has a blog featuring numerous stories every day.
The best Eulogy of the post-season is the Hab's at Puck Daddy.
Craig Custance has an interesting story of what led to Marion Hossa becoming the first player to go to the finals with three different teams in consecutive years.
Puck Report looks at the number of games it takes to win the Cup through four rounds. The record for the least is Edmonton in 18 games in 1988. So far, Chicago is 12-4 while Philadelphia is 12-5.
Chris Wassel is trying out his new gig at the Devil's Examiner with a preview of the finals.
The final segment of Kingcast's 5-part series is now up. This is a good time to watch them all as it is a very good discussion between the best of the best of Kings writers.
Steve Lapore confirms that Versus will air Hockey Central every night during the finals.
Ryan at the RLD takes a look at Five Conn Smythe Finalists.
The Arizona Republic indicates that he NHL has a buyer in hand for the club if no one solidifies a deal in Phoenix by 12/31. I assume the team will move back to the Peg if nothing is resolved.
Whay is one half of the Carolina Hurricanes worth? Not as much as you would expect, according to Forbes.
This story about the NHL embracing social media is a few weeks old but is still timely.
Adam Foote will return to the Avs for another season.
The celebration got out of hand for one Flyers fan who had to be Tasered at work yesterday morning. Intent to Blow has the details.
Game seven in the AHL Western Conference playoffs will take place tonight when Hamilton hosts Texas with a Calder Cup berth on the line. A bit of added flair was announced yesterday when it was revealed that P K Subban and Ben Maxwell will bolster the Bulldogs line up for the rubber match in the series. The game can be heard on XM Radio.
Odds and Ends...
Tony Hawk says it's a long way from Dogtown... The Protec Pool Party 2010. There is some amazing stuff here.
Creed Bratton from The Office recently visited MTV to offer interns advice and also sings a song. He actually has released a real album.
Great advice from Seth Godin for everyone.
Here is a great photo gallery of pictures from the gulf oil spill from Boston.com. Here's a representation to see the scale of the spill.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass