Bruins surprised by Caps shot-blockers


There may have been a certain level of grit the Capitals played with in Game 1 that was a bit surprising to the Bruins.

Alex Ovechkin opted for brute physicality (seven hits) over dogged offense (one shot on net and only two shots attempted) while trying to set a tone for the Capitals. But the team followed that lead and blocked 22 shots in front of rookie netminder Braden Holtby in Bostons narrow 1-0 overtime win, and consistently put themselves in harms way while playing a gritty style of playoff hockey.

Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson both took shots in sensitive areas of their bodies during the game, but they also both kept jumping in front of pucks afterward.

I wasnt surprised by Washingtons grittiness at all, said Johnny Boychuk. Theyve got guys that will grind and block shots. You know its just playoff hockey where everybody does thatanything to win and thats what it takes to win. So, its not really a big surprise that both teams are doing it.

The Bruins didnt exactly bust down the door trying to get pucks to the net until late in the game, but Washington also did an admirable job packing in the defense around their own net. That kept the Bruins scoreless through 60 minutes of regulation and forced it into overtime where one funky bounce of the puck can decide things one way or the other.

It worked out for the Bruins when Chris Kellys shot soared over Holtbys glove hand, but theyre going to be making an adjustment heading into Saturdays Game 2 against the Capitals. Thats the best way to get at the 22-year-old Washington goaltender after Holtby proved that he wont beat himself while making 29 saves in his playoff debut.

We have to make adjustments. The one thing that they did well, to their credit, is I thought they did a lot of shot blocking. They did more than Ive seen them do in the past. But thats playoff hockey, right? You see guys get out of their comfort zone and do things that they dont always do during the regular season, said Julien. I thought they did a great job of that. So, weve played teams that enjoy blocking shots. Weve just got to make sure that were capable of getting those shots through and finding those open lanes so they can make it to the net.

It starts with actually shooting the puck more rather than passing up shot chances on the power play as the Bruins were doing during Game 1, but its also about making a mental note that Dale Hunter-coached Washington is going to grind much harder Boston might have thought possible before the series.

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