Never has a theme been more worn-through than the idea of a given team getting off to a fast start in any postseason game or series.
And here everyone was Friday, listening to the Chicago Blackhawks focus on getting off to a fast start in Game 2 against the Wild.
“Last game, maybe we were a little too excited about playing in the playoffs and in a new season, being at home,” winger Patrick Sharp said. “It’s always tough. But our crowd usually gets us into it. That national anthem is a big boost.
“We just want to play well starting the game. You aways want to score first, but I think the biggest thing is just moving your feet and playing well as a team.”
Indeed, it may be as simple as that: The Hawks must move faster and better than they did in the early stages of Game 1, when the Wild drew them into a slog they narrowly escaped with an overtime victory.
The expectation, anyway, is that the team down the hall will rev it up some, too.
“We expect them, like us, to want to play a better game than they did last time,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Both teams will have a better start. We’ll probably see more a playoff pace tonight. We have to be ready for that.”
And there’s one fairly simple way to ensure that.
“I still think there’s a pace that we have to get to, to be a better team, especially coming off overtime,” coach Joel Quenneville. “Everybody should be looking to pick it up.
“We want to make sure we’re skating all-out and we’re playing all-out.”
PHOTO: Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews beats Minnesota Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi (10) to the puck in overtime Tuesday. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune / May 3, 2013)