The Philaelphia Flyers will try to even the Stanley Cup Finals at two games Friday night at the Wachovia Center. Philadelphia is trying to win their first Stanley Cup since 1975. The Blackhawks have not won since 1961.
Danny Briere is one player that the Flyers can count on to deliver the cup. He scored the opening goal in a vital Game 3 victory, saving the Flyers from a dangerous 3-0 hole. The Flyers are no strangers to tough odds, coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the Boston Bruins.
“I think coming back from that series was huge for our confidence,” said defenseman Chris Pronger. “But even before that, we all believed we have a good team. It is just a matter of going out and playing to that high level and our own expectations each and every night.”
Pronger is another free-agent acquisition that the Flyers have benefited from this post-season. The Flyers acquired Pronger for two first-round draft picks, and he continues to come up big for the Flyers.
Both Briere and Pronger have been in top form over the last two months. Briere is leading the Flyers in playoff goals with 11. He had his best series versus the Bruins with five goals and five assists. The Flyers signed Briere from the Buffalo Sabers in 2007 to the richest free agent contract in Flyers history.
Pronger made his way to Philadelphia via trade with the Anaheim Ducks. He quickly signed a seven-year contract extension for 34.9 million dollars. The Flyer defense has clearly benefited from his Stanley Cup experience.
The Flyers have played Briere mostly at the wing position this season, but after injuries he has come back to a more natural center role. He says he is having the time of his life during the 2010 post-season.
“It’s just a playoff run, but at the same time, this is one of the best times of my life,” Briere said.
The Blackhawks still have a bad taste in their mouth after giving up an overtime goal to lose Game 3. Bad timing on a line change led to the goal that some players felt should have never happened.
“I don’t want to get too technical and we don’t want to point fingers, but when you’re trying to match lines, sometimes you’re going to be vulnerable to a tough change,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Sometimes there are too many men. Sometimes you get a late change coming off the bench. That’s all part of it.”
The Hawks are still two wins away from the Stanley Cup, but they will have to overcome the underdog status placed on them by NHL Sportsbooks. The Flyers are the slight favorites in Game 4 at -115, the Blackhawks underdog line is -105. The over/under for total goals in the game is set at 5 1/2.