Flyers, Blackhawks have much to improve for Game 2
The prevailing sentiment is that Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final will feature better goaltending, sharper play from the top lines, and a much tougher, grittier tone. Why? Because Game 1 was devoid of those attributes on both sides and the Blackhawks and Flyers are too good to have a follow-up subpar performance on so many levels. Rebound performances are part of the reason why both teams are in the final, with the Flyers unfathomable run setting the standard for bounce-back capacity.
The Blackhawks' bigger issue is the play of their top line.
Both teams will focus on tightening up defensively, with more physical play in evidence. That will make for a game won or lost in the trenches, rather than the open ice affair of Game 1. To that end, the Flyers'
The other issue for the Flyers is their thinning depth on the backline.
That leaves the matter of who will dictate style and pace of play. If it stands to reason that both teams will get to their respective games earlier and more consistently, the question becomes which one will be able to dictate for longer stretches?
For the Blackhawks, it means cleaning up the turnovers that plagued them in Game 1 -- something they did well in the third period -- so they already have a sense of what their game looks like against the Flyers when they are having success. On the other side, the Flyers' forwards have to pressure the puck to force turnovers in both the neutral zone and on the forecheck. Then they must make those turnovers count, as they did three times in Game 1. The balance they seek, though, is that the up-ice pressure can't compromise the forwards' ability to pressure on the backcheck.
So much to look for and it is only Game 2.