Hamilton cracks Price's code, McQuaid undergoes surgery, B's gear up for Game 3
After Boston's Game 2 comeback victory over the Canadiens at the Garden on Saturday, defenseman Dougie Hamilton provided the assembled media, and inadvertently the rest of the hockey world, with a bit of knowledge in regards to the strategy to beat Montreal's netminder Carey Price.
Hamilton, Marchand and Bergeron celebrate the goal that started the comeback (via ESPN.com)
The key? Aim high. Hamilton said after the game:
I think we've definitely noticed that when he's screened, he's looking low. He gets really low, so it seems like we score a lot of goals up high when he have net front presence. I don't know if we're really trying [to do that], but we've definitely noticed that. When we can get our shots through their defenseman - especially the ones trying to block it - we have a really good chance of getting [the puck] in.
Hamilton's comments caused quite a stir the past two days, with many either taking the side of A) why would Hamilton divulge the team's strategy for everyone to hear? or B) his comments were taken out of context, and big surprise, the team knows a goalie doesn't like to be screened when pucks are coming at him.
Discounting Milan Lucic's empty-netter at the end of Game 2, six of the Bruins' seven goals scored thus far in the series have been elevated shots, with most of them going in right above Price's shoulders. Only Torey Krug's tying goal in the third period in Game 1 beat Price low, through the five-hole.
Have the Bruins cracked the master code on Price? Probably not. No goalie likes to be screened, and goalies definitely do not like a maze of bodies cluttering up their personal space in the crease. Hamilton's comments should do more to pointing out a flaw in the Bruins' play rather than a flaw in Price's game.
The Bruins did not do a good enough job of getting pucks and bodies to the net through Game 1 and most of Game 2. The B's need to make life a living hell for Price by establishing a net front presence and rifling pucks towards the Montreal net.
It was Hamilton, coupled with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith who finally got the ball rolling in Game 2. Both Bergeron and Smith charged the crease. Hamilton lined up his shot and aimed square for the net. Goal. Rinse and repeat.
In the other news of the day, it seems the curious case of Adam McQuaid has finally reached its end. The Bruins announced over the weekend that McQuaid underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle last Thursday, and the expected recovery time for the surgery is eight weeks. It seems rather certain that we have seen the last of McQuaid this season. The 27-year-old defenseman has not played since Jan. 19th, when the Bruins visited the Chicago Blackhawks on a Sunday afternoon matinee.
Done for the year: McQuaid's 13-14 season is over after undergoing ankle surgery (via hockeyjournal.com)
The news that it is an ankle injury that has done in McQuaid comes as a bit of a surprise, as McQuaid was dealing primarily with a thigh injury. There were reports through the past months that McQuaid had suffered a setback in his recovery, and we can see now what that setback was. McQuaid played in only 30 games this season while recording one goal and five assists for six points, while also skating to a plus-12 rating. After battling through injuries and uncertainty for most of the season, we can finally close the book on McQuaid's 2013-14 season.
As for the rest of the Bruins, they'll take on the Habs in Game 3 at the Bell Centre tonight just after 7:00 pm, as the Black and Gold look to take a 2-1 series lead over their hated rivals.
The B's know it'll be a challenging game, as the Montreal crowd is notorious for being one of the most hostile and loudest in the NHL.
A few of the Bruins players, as well as Coach Claude Julien, provided their insight to the pivotal Game 3 to come:
Being tied 1-1, we're definitely a confident group going in there, but it's going to be a different challenge going into Montreal, playing in the atmosphere there and the intensity that the crowd will bring...I mean, that's how you get into the game. Our crowd is just as loud when we get going, and we just feed off of it. So as the road team, you just kind of tend to enjoy it and have a good time with it.
We've been [here] before. We've played in lots of rinks in the playoffs now and against lots of teams...We know what to expect, and we don't expect anything else. It's going to be tough. It is a tough series, and it's going to continue to be a tough series, whether you're home or away, and you expect that.
Coach Claude Julien:
At the end of the day, we've just got to go out there and play our game. It's important for us to think about what we need to do to win and not let those kind of distractions get in our heads...We don't get rattled as a team. I've said that before and it sounds like I keep repeating myself with the same answers. But we don't get rattled, we just stick with out game and maybe that is why we are able to make those kinds of comebacks...Do we get frustrated at times? Yes, that doesn't always mean it's about the game, it's about different things. At the same time, we don't get rattled, we believe in ourselves, we believe in our team.