Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/20/14 at 09:28 AM ET
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins, their mind-set fixed that Detroit’s speed was too much to handle, spent the night like a bunch of flat-footed window shoppers, looking longingly through the glass, ready to purchase, the game never quite in their hands. The few times they appeared set to buy, they were denied entry to the store or they were essentially told, too bad, the model in the window wasn’t for sale. They landed a total 25 shots on net (one more than those blazing, too-fast-to-handle Red Wings), but few were of much value, and even fewer led to follow-up sustained pressure on goalie Jimmy Howard or even fewer to a second or third shot on net. One and done. At best.
Shift after shift, the Bruins were short on possession, presence, and patience. Give the Wings credit for that, too. But overall, the Bruins needed to display more faith in their game, one constructed all season on strong, confident, and physical play. Rarely, if ever, did they display that in Game 1. The Wings did not burn by them. The Wings did handle the puck very well in their end — better, in fact, than they handled it in Boston’s end — and that is where the Bruins will have to reestablish themselves in Game 2.
Now, that’s easier pointed out than it is implemented. To negate Detroit’s fine work and finesse back there, it will mean the Bruins increasing their possession, presence, and patience game. How to do that? With a faster forecheck, hand in hand with creating mismatches against Detroit’s defensemen, ideally by putting pucks into areas and fixing battles where Bruins forwards know they can regain those pucks and then do something with them — like, say, bring them to the net to create real, meaningful pressure on Howard. The ex-University of Maine goaltender saw far busier, hectic games in his Hockey East days.
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