Whether it's a testament to the depth of each team, how the defense of the opponents have stymied them, or if they are just slow out of the gate; the "top" lines of the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers have done little to nothing when it has come to the first two games of the Finals. Let's go to the tale of the tape:
PHI: Mike Richards (1a, -3), Jeff Carter (1a, -3), Simon Gagne (1g, -4) = 1g, 2a, -10
CHI: Jonathan Toews (-2), Patrick Kane (-3), Dustin Byfuglien (1a, -2) = 1a, -7
Obviously, the output in the two games haven't been what to be expected; but the question is could the trend continue on. Especially for the Blackhawks top guys now that they head to Philadelphia; it could be a lot harder for them to get going on enemy territory, even though the Hawks are great on the road. It seems that while the defense of the Flyers has been keeping them at bay and out of the normal scoring areas (read: Byfuglien vs Pronger); those three having only 10 shots in two games is something that won't get it done and you can sense they are rattled. They seem to be gripping the sticks too tight, which makes them a little more self-conscious and overthink the simplest of plays. With all that against them, the tide can change if they are able to get one break go their way.
The Philly crew looks like they could have jump-started their spree with the last goal in Game Two and looking more attacking on the Blackhawks defense. The top three mentioned had 10 shots in each of the first two games, but seemed a bit more effective when it came to Game Two. Going home should be good for them, in order to feed off the home crowd, but again-- they need one little break and they could change this series like that.
While it might only take a weird bounce to kick-start these top lines, will they get it. Aside from the first two periods of Game One and the craziness that came with that, the last four periods have shown the series that everyone expected. The defenses have been very good and it will probably come to depth being the determining factor in all of this, since the top dogs are getting shutdown. In that, the scoring edge has to go to Chicago, if only because they have a more dynamic group behind the top guys. That takes nothing away from Philadelphia, mostly because Danny Briere has been brilliant in the playoffs, but it seems that the team effort shows more from the Blackhawks side of the ice than it does on the Flyers side.
The struggles of the top lines will go on until they break out and play the game people expect them to play. Though, in the case of Chicago, you wonder if the overexposure to someone like Dustin Byfuglien may have gotten into their head and they got shaken due to one thing or another. Luckily, the game doesn't live and die with three players-- which is the reason why the Hawks are up 2-0 in the series while getting only one point for their top-three.