Hitchcock: “I think this series is going to shock and surprise people”
Great goaltending and solid defense are the keys to success in the playoffs. At least, that seems to be the lesson to take from the four first-round series in the Western Conference.
While the Philadelphia Flyers showed that you can still sometimes survive by overwhelming your opponent, the four remaining Western Conference teams feature a formula that often leads to low-scoring games.
That’s what made Friday’s second-round opener between the Phoenix Coyotes vs the Nashville Predators so surprising. While it wasn’t exactly reminiscent of Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, there were plenty of scoring chances to be had.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock thinks that the St. Louis-Los Angeles series might end up following a similar path.
“I think this series is going to shock and surprise people,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t think you can keep that standard up: one goal, one goal, one goal. I don’t think you can keep that up. I think when emotion gets as high as it does, just like it did last night, I think the legs get a little bit rubbery, I think you see the players more on the move, like you did last night. And I think you’re going to see more scoring chances because of it.”
It’s worth noting that Hitchcock still doesn’t think this will be a high-scoring series. It’s also possible, as LA Kings Insider’s Rich Hammond pointed out, that Hitchcock might be engaging in a bit of gamesmanship. Still, this is the playoffs and anything can happen.