CHICAGO -- Both teams had nearly a week to break down tape, strategize and do everything else necessary to prepare for the start of the Stanley Cup Final.
"Nobody thought it was going to be 6-5 tonight," Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said after his team dropped Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the United Center Saturday. "We were pretty loose defensively on our part. They [Chicago] are obviously going to tighten up their 'D' and we're going to have to work harder for our chances in Game 2."
And there's one thing that all the X's and O's didn't take into account: butterflies.
"It was a little nerve-wracking, that's for sure," Blackhawks forward Troy Brouwer said. "Some of the guys in the series, it's their first time in the Final. Nerves might have had a little to do with it. It's a real emotional game."
Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, who was pulled in the second period after he allowed five goals on 20 shots, said Philly set out to rattle Chicago's blueliners.
"We obviously think their weakness is their defense," Leighton said. "So, we were going after their defense and we were doing that. But we seemed to be giving up a little bit more defensively than we wanted to. We will look at the tape and see what we should have done."
Flyers forward Danny Briere said he expects the Game 1 jitters are out of the way and there will be a more settled Philly squad out there for Monday's game, something that's to be expected on a team that lacks Finals experience outside of Chris Pronger and Ville Leino.
Philly did score its first power play goal in about a dozen chances as Hartnell banged the puck in with 3:23 left in the first period, but the Flyers also allowed a short-handed goal earlier on a Dave Bolland breakaway. And a Flyers defense that averaged 18.8 blocked shots in the conference finals against the Montreal Canadiens came away with only seven on Saturday.
"We've got to be a little bit better defensively than we were," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It wasn't a lot of chances. It was probably a dozen chances for them. But some of them were point blank. We have to tighten it up right in front of our goal."