Teams leading the Calder Cup Finals 2-0 have lost the series only twice in the history of the league. They've never lost after winning the first two on the road. Game 5 now becomes of critical importance to the avoidance of making the wrong kind of history in this, their inaugural season.
According to the Statesman, teams winning game 5 of a tied series have won the Calder Cup 17 of 18 times. This would seem to be good news for Texas if they manage to reverse their fortunes tonight, but the prospect of winning a third game in Hershey's building is a very daunting one. The old cliche of "one game at a time" is definitely in full effect. Thinking about how the Bears have hit their stride and found their game isn't going to do them any good. They have to find a way to make the bleeding stop, just for one night. Then worry about game 6.
And should the worst happen, they always have that history of winning two games to close out the series in Hamilton to look back on.
Meanwhile, all eyes are seemingly turning to Jamie Benn, who has not been the same player in this series that he was in the last. I wrote, after seeing him in person last round, that he looked like he was playing on a different level than everyone else out there. Now he just looks gassed.
Jamie has played, in his previous 3 seasons in juniors, 53, 51, and 56 games.
Tonight will be his 105th game of this season. The Chicago Blackhawks played 104, by the way. The Flyers played 105. With at least 106 guaranteed, Jamie Benn is taking his season further than anyone in North American hockey, to my knowledge, and he looks TIRED. Is making this kind of a jump affecting him? Should a 20 year old not have to worry about those kinds of things?
One has to think a 50% increase in games played takes a toll. Win or lose, he's earned his soon-to-be off-season.
Meanwhile the Stars are dealing with the loss of possibly their most important piece: Andrew Hutchinson. Hutch was injured in game 3 and was unable to skate in game 4. He's a minute eater, a top pair guy, and a key cog on the power play. He was missed in all three zones and all facets of the game on Wednesday (see: First pass out of the zone). He's listed as "day-to-day" but some suggest that he might be done for the season. Stay tuned.
But look on the bright side: $2.00 drafts tonight at Cedar Park Center, plus, I'll be there to straighten all of this out. No worries.