After nothing but the outcome went according to plan for the Blackhawks in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals, Game Two figures to present another group of unexpected circumstances and adjustments.
In Game One, the Blackhawks had to adjust on the fly to a mid-game goalie change from the Flyers, who will go back with Michael Leighton in Game Two. The adjustments made by the Blackhawks eventually worked, though, as they were able to control the puck significantly better in the third period. After allowing 26 shots in the first two periods, the Hawks held Philadelphia to three in the first 13 minutes of the third period.
”I think we just got alittle more comfortable with the pace of play,” said Patrick Sharp. “Whether its taking a big hit or hanging onto the puck, I felt like everybody got into the game and was able to take a few deep breaths. I thought we played better as the game went on, hopefully we can continue that into Game Two.”
Captain Jonathan Toews agreed with Sharp’s assessment.
“We just slowly got a little bit better as the game went along,” said Toews. “I think when we finally got into our comfort zone and realized what he had to do if we wanted to win that game, [we] brought better work ethic.”
“If you’re in the right spots out there and you’re not thinking as much, picks will find you and you’ll get more chances… you don’t have to work as hard to keep that possession.”
The back-and-forth action early has been attributed by both teams to nerves and excitement in part, and both teams indicated it’s not the way they hoped to start the Stanley Cup Finals.
“It felt like the game to decide who gets the first overall draft pick,” said defenseman Brian Campbell.
Campbell was one of the Hawks that struggled in Game One. He skated just over 13 minutes, well below both his regular and post season averages. When asked if Campbell’s time was a coaches decision or if Campbell had any injury concerns on Sunday, coach Joel Quenneville simply smiled and said, “He’s fine.”
Entering Game Two, the Hawks will have more adjustments to make. They will not see Ryan Parent or James van Riemsdyk in Game Two, as Philly will instead dress instigator-extraordinaire Daniel Carcillo and defenseman Oskars Bartulis. Carcillo was asked about Chicago’s “energy” player, Adam Burish, after the morning skate.
“He’s a college guy,” said Carcill0. “He won’t want to fight”
While fighting might not be on the menu for the Hawks in Game Two, they expect the physicality of the series to continue to increase.
“”They are probably pretty mad at themselves,” said Patrick Kane. “They scored five goals on the goad and don’t come up with the victory. So I’m sure as the Series goes on, it will probably get a little more intense and the physicality will pick up a bit.”
“But it seems like they’re a pretty nasty team. I guess you expect it from them.”
Adam Burish didn’t seem to mind Philadelphia’s perspective of his hit on Lukas Krajicek in Game One, though. “It’s the Finals,” he said. “I’m not here to make friends.”
After 77 combined hits in the first game and two Blackhawks, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, requiring stitches during the game, increased physical play is just part of the package, according to Duncan Keith.
“We understand what’s on the line and this is the Final and it’s the Playoffs,” said Keith. “It’s not Round One or Round Two. It’s the Final. I think the mindset we try to take into that is to be good at all the things we’ve talked about all year long.”
If the Blackhawks play the way they did in the regular season and finished Game One on Monday night, they should be able to take a 2-0 lead to Philadelphia.