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 Saturday's afternoon's Game 4 in Montreal (NBC, CBC, RDS):
Spend more time in the offensive zone, hang onto puck, control tempo.
"To me, all the X's and O's go out the window after about three games of a series. The teams know each other, know how they are going to play. If they haven't seen it on the ice, they have watched it on video by now.
"This is the first bump in the road for Philly after six straight wins. I will be interested to see how the Flyers respond. It will start with getting the puck out of their own zone. They could barely get it across the blue line in Game 3, and that is not a formula for success."
Coach's eye for details:
Montreal had the Philadelphia defensemen on their heels in Game 3.
"Sometimes when a team beats you, the players can come off the ice thinking they have been overwhelmed or that opponent is simply a better team. As a coach, you are constantly moving back to how and when we played well. You show the players what needed to change, what to do better, then you show them what it looks like [from a recent victory, which won't be hard to find for the Flyers]."
allowed five goals in Game 3, but "he played pretty well."
"Philly needs to play desperate in Game 4. That means every puck battle is intense, every race for the puck is full speed. Playing in Montreal can feel like you are skating uphill with that crowd energy. Every Flyers player needs to feel like he has to win every one-on-one battle."
Get quality shots on goal early, use speed on the forecheck.
"Montreal activated its defensemen on the forecheck in the offensive zone and center ice during Game 3. It was five men attacking those two zones, which created turnovers. Those five men were in sync. The Canadiens need to use their speed on the forecheck to force Philly to make mistakes.
"It needs to be more of the same from the Game 3 plan. Score first, get good chances, get after that puck."
Coach's eye for details:
The Canadiens found energy from their checking game. They need to keep it up in Game 4.
played with great composure in Game 3. For a young guy, that was impressive. Older players understand that sometimes the younger guys can get too high before a game, too jacked up and over the top. The older players realize the energy of the crowd and significance of the game will be enough. By the end of warm-ups, you will be ready and at the right level of intensity."
"By the time you get to this stage of the playoffs, you reach a stage that is so intense and emotional that it is actually calm on the ice for the players and on the bench for coaches. If you watch this Game 4 on television, you will practically feel the intensity right through your TV."