The Stanley Cup Finals opened with a 6-5 goalfest in favor of the Blackhawks. Chicago will be on its home ice again tonight for Game 2 against the Flyers.
The Chicago Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals with Saturday’s thrilling 6-5 win as 187 home favorites against the Philadelphia Flyers. Right wing Thomas Kopecky scored the game-winner for Chicago at 8:25 of the back-and-forth affair’s third period.
Monday’s Game 2 has the clubs back at United Center with sports books installing the Blackhawks as 200 betting odds favorites to get their seventh straight playoff win. The ‘total’ has been set at six ‘over’ (minus 115).
Chicago got its other five goals on Saturday from Troy Brouwer, David Bolland, Patrick Sharp, and Kris Versteeg. Brouwer scored twice and added an assist for his second three-point game of the season.
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The Flyers logged their five goals with thrusts from Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, Ville Leino, Arron Asham, and Blair Betts. Briere and Hartnell also combined for five assists.
The game’s combined 11 goals soared above the ‘total’ of 5 ½. Philly was 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Blackhawks had no man advantages.
Philadelphia goalie Michael Leighton (6-1) faced 20 shots and allowed five goals. The league’s postseason GAA leader (1.96) was pulled after 35:18 of ice time and replaced by Brian Boucher (6-5, 2.34 GAA), who was given the loss. Boucher stopped 11-of-12 shots and had not played since a 4-0 Flyers win as 114 road favorites in their May 10 trip at Boston.
Philadelphia Daily News sports writer Bill Fleischman stated, “I’ll be surprised if Leighton isn’t in the nets for Game 2. However, (Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette) will have him on a short leash.”
Chicago netminder Antti Niemi (13-4, 2.49 GAA) stayed in goal for the game’s entire 60 minutes and had 27 saves (84.4 percent). The 26- year old Finn had not given up this much scoring since the Blackhawks 5-1 loss as 156 home favorites in their May 1 meeting with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Flyers are 4-0 in their last four games that followed allowing five goals in their previous game, with the ‘under’ 2-0-2. Chicago is 6-1 during their last seven games in the same situation, with the ‘over’ 4-2-1.
Odds makers set the puck line for Monday’s clash with Chicago laying 1 ½ goals at plus 155. The premium for taking 1 ½ goals with Philadelphia has traveled as high as minus 190.
Blackhawks left wing Andrew Ladd is listed as “questionable” by DonBest.com. The British Colombian missed Saturday’s matchup with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Kopecky.
NBC will have nationally-televised coverage of Game 2, which will have its first puck dropped at 8 p.m. (ET). The finalists will have one day off before shifting to Philadelphia for Wednesday’s Game 3.
Adjusted series prices have Chicago ranging between minus 400 to 460 for winning Lord Stanley’s chalice. Odds on the Flyers vary from plus 320 to 380.