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
Exit the defensive zone quickly, involve defensemen in the offensive attack.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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."