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2010 Stanley Cup Nightcap: Go For The Legs, Hawks! Go For The Legs!

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One play really defined this game for me. Actually, it was more of a sequence.

Late in the third period, Ville Leino carried the puck into the zone and got leveled by a backchecking Dustin Byfuglien. Brent Seabrook ended up with the puck, and began carrying it into the neutral zone. Buff followed behind and (allegedly) told Seabrook to dump it in and let him forecheck while the Hawks got off a change. Seabrook obliged, and Buff chased after the puck, hammering Chris Pronger into the boards as his teammates poured into the offensive zone. Minutes later, the Hawks scored.

This all happened in the span of about 45 seconds, but to me it represented the game as a whole: Complete domination by Chicago. Not just scoreboard domination....but it seemed like Chicago decided early on that they were going to do whatever the hell they wanted with the Flyers and there was nothing Philly was going to do about it.

Or Pronger, for that matter. You know in Empire Strikes Back, when the Rebels figure out the only way to destroy the AT-AT's is to tie up their legs? Well, Chris Pronger is the Flyers' legs. Tie him up, neutralize him, and you can take out the Flyers. Case in point: The first Byfuglien goal came on the power play when Pronger was in the penalty box. Pronger absolutely owned Buff the first four games, the way Rob Blake failed to do in previous series. But tonight Byfuglien won the physical game with Pronger. Instead of sitting in front of the net taking the punishment, Buff took the punishment to Pronger much of the game. And it wasn't just Byfuglien, even Jonathan Toews got pushy with Pronger.

The key for Chicago to finally get momentum to translate to the road is to win the physical battle again Wednesday, especially with Pronger. More importantly, if they can get Pronger to make penalties again, the Hawks will be in business.