The Chicago Blackhawks are one win away from winning the Stanley Cup.
Yes, those Chicago Blackhawks. The franchise that didn't even send a beat reporter on the road half a decade ago. The one that was outdrawn by the Chicago Wolves. The one that was irrelevant four years ago and had Adrian Aucoin wearing the "C" patch.
It's unbelievable, really. If the Hawks win the cup, it probably won't sink in for several weeks. So many things have happened in such a short amount of time, and the fact that the Hawks will be playing a game on Wednesday with the Stanley Cup in the building is surreal.
^ My favorite commercial ever. I'd love to see #19 added to the end of it after Wednesday night.
We as fans are allowed to dream about moments like that. What we think or say does not have a literal impact on the game. We can feel a little overconfident heading into Game 6, especially after a dominant performance like Game 5.
The players? That's another story entirely.
Considering the opponent and situation, Wednesday night will be the hardest game anyone on this team has ever played. The Flyers have shown a resiliency in these playoffs that is unmatched. They've come back from 0-3 in a series, and 0-3 in a Game 7 on the road. When most of Chicago felt the Hawks would win the series handily after Games 1 and 2, the Flyers bounced back and won both games at home to tie the series.
Even outside of these playoffs, recent history tells us that a 3-2 lead in the Finals cannot be taken for granted.
In last year's Finals, the Red Wings and Penguins were in a nearly identical situation the Hawks and Flyers find themselves in now. The Wings took Games 1 and 2, the Penguins took Games 3 and 4, and then the Wings manhandled the Pens in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. The series looked over. "The Penguins could never bounce back from that and win two games, right?" Wrong.
Pittsburgh took the next two games, and the Wings had to watch Sidney Crosby skate around Joe Louis Arena with the Cup over his head.
I guarantee Peter Laviolette will remind his team of last year's Finals in the next two days, and Joel Quenneville should do the same.
In order for the Hawks to avoid a Game 7, they will need another big game from their stars, and that includes Dustin Byfuglien.
It's becoming clear that this team goes as Big Buff goes. When he showed up during the Vancouver series, the Hawks dominated. The same went for the San Jose series, and it happened again last night. The Hawks are a finesse team that can beat any team in the league with speed, but when you add a physical presence like Byfuglien when he is playing his game, the Hawks are nearly unstoppable.
I said before the series that we shouldn't take anything for granted, and that remains true heading into Game 6.
The Flyers might be the team with their backs against the wall, but in order for the Hawks to win their first game in Philadelphia since 1996, they will have to play one of their best games of the season.
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