Here is the latest installment of Ken Hitchcock's "What's the Hitch" analysis of the Eastern Conference Final, as the Flyers and Canadiens get ready for Monday's Game 5 in Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS):
Montreal's 'Hitch': Be more physical in all zones and block shots.
WHAT'S THE HITCH?
During both the Eastern and Western Conference Final series, Stanley Cup-winning coach Ken Hitchcock will be delivering an online version of a whiteboard talk for hockey fans. He will talk strategy before each game, explaining the major challenge or obstacle -- let's call it "the Hitch" in honor of you know who -- for each team.
Hitchcock is the right man for the job. He's won a Cup with Dallas in 1999, coached the Stars to another Cup Final the next season and his overall NHL record with the Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets is 533-372-136. That's a lot of successful whiteboard sessions.
First shift: "The game that Montreal played in Game 3, that's the same game the Canadiens need to play tonight. They were consistent in their checking game, hounding the puck. To win this time of year, you have to do all of the difficult things like check in all zones, maintain proper positional play and block shots."
Coach's eye for details: "Against both Washington and Pittsburgh in the earlier rounds, Montreal frustrated both teams as the series went on. That will be harder to do with the Flyers, who are dialed in themselves to a consistent, all-men-in checking game.
"Winning this time of year is the same stuff now as it was in 1970s. It comes down to making the sacrifices on every loose puck. The Canadiens has proved they can do it in previous rounds."
Final period: "What happened in the first periods of the game in this series is there has been a feeling-out process. It determines who will dictate the rest of the game. Checking dictates that. Montreal needs to re-establish its checking in all three zones, all five men."
Philadelphia's "Hitch": Don't allow second and third opportunities.
First shift: "Philly didn't allow Montreal much time in the offensive zone during Game 4. They need to frustrate Montreal the same way in Game 5. The key strategy is don't give the Canadiens second and third opportunities, the rebounds. Montreal will take advantage of those opportunities."
Coach's eye for details: "Philly really frustrated Montreal in the neutral zone during Game 4. The Canadiens couldn't get the puck deep [toward Philly's net] and couldn't even establish a forecheck."
Final period: "Montreal has experienced the fierce checking game of the Flyers. Now Montreal has to give it right back."
Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.
— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals