The Carolina Hurricanes spent the better part of the opening playoff series against the New Jersey Devils focused on sending bodies to the net in an attempt to rattle goalie Martin Brodeur.
The Boston Bruins figure the way to discombobulate Carolina goaltender Cam Ward is to do as the Hurricanes did to Brodeur. Ward had 36 saves in Sunday’s 3-0 shutout in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup semifinals.
The Bruins will try to send more traffic in front of the net in hopes of screening Ward and being there for rebound chances. At Wednesday’s practice, they spent time on shooting drills, firing off one-timers in front of an empty net.
“That’s just one game of playing against them, one game,” said Boston defenseman Aaron Ward. “He saw every shot. It’s just Hockey 101. If you don’t have a net presence, you don’t have an opportunity to bang home rebounds and you don’t have an opportunity to disrupt the flow of the goalie and his feel for the game.”
Boston coach Claude Julien said it’s a matter of determination.
“Every team has that philosophy, whether it’s our series, another series, we always want to do that,” said Julien. “Now, how determined, how willing you are to do that, and how willing and determined the other team is to make it hard on you is normally what kind of dictates what’s going to happen.”
Ward, the Boston defender, agreed.
“I think it was self inflicted,” he said. “I think we lacked determination. Once we were engaged in a battle up front, we didn’t roll off picks, we didn’t roll of physical play. It takes a little more. And you know what, if you can engage a guy in front of the goalie, that’s now two people. He’s got to battle his defenseman plus you to get a view.”
Boston center David Krejci, who scored three goals and had four assists against the Hurricanes in the regular season, said the Bruins have just gotten away from themselves against Carolina.
“What we did all season is something we didn’t show the first two games, that’s for sure,” said Krejci, who called Ward one of the top four goaltenders in the NHL. “If you want to beat him, you have to make sure he doesn’t see those shots.”