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Sharks in need of more second, third opportunities

Monday, 05.17.2010 / 9:24 PM / 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Conference Finals

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Sharks in need of more second, third opportunities
Sharks in need of more second, third opportunities
Here is the latest installment of Ken Hitchcock's "What's the Hitch" analysis of the Western Conference Final. Here is his look at Game 2 between Chicago and San Jose:
Also: Hitchcock analyzes Game 2 of Eastern Conference Final

Chicago's "Hitch":  Exit the defensive zone quickly, involve defensemen in the offensive attack.
First shift: "Both teams play their game for about 30 minutes. The Blackhawks did in the second half of the game. They were exiting the defensive zone quickly to avoid the second and third shots by the Sharks. Plus, the Blackhawks were getting their defensemen to help out on the offensive rush. That's how they scored the tying goal, when Keith joined the rush and passed to Sharp. Chicago has four defensemen who use the puck so well."

Coach's eye for details: Faceoffs will be critical in this series and Chicago was good on the faceoff dot Sunday. They have to keep that up. Toews won a key faceoff in the third and it resulted in the winning goal from Byfuglien.
Chicago is a team that keeps its focus even when the coach is looking for matchups. Some teams lose focus when that happens.
Final period: "Chicago didn't have a power play on Sunday. You have to figure that is going to change. They need to make the most of those opportunities as visitors."
San Jose's "Hitch":  Get more second and third shots.
First shift:
"There were 85 shots in this game. San Jose was funneling the puck well, getting it on net. That's something I talked about before Game 1. But the Sharks need to get more second and third shots.
"All four goalies left in the playoffs can stop the original shot. You are going to beat them on rebounds and more of what I call ‘crash-bang chips.' You want to get more shots in the blue crease."
Coach's eye for details: Dustin Byfuglien has great hands. Lots of NHL forwards are big, but not many have his hands. He has scored a lot of goals this postseason on rebounds. San Jose needs to do two things to stop him: One, box him out early with guys like Blake, Murray and even Vlasic. Plus, they need to keep Byfuglien away from taking the second shot.
People talk about Chicago's cycle game. In some ways, it is just two guys, Kane and Toews.
Final period:
"Game 2 is critical for the home team whether it is down 0-1 or up 1-0 in the series. Game 2 sets the tone for the rest of the series."

Quote of the Day

I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride. I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents.

— Martin St. Louis after announcing his retirement from the NHL on Thursday