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Canadiens continue to clog shooting lanes in Game 2
Posted By Scott McLaughlin On April 17, 2011 @ 1:28 am In General | 2 Comments
The Bruins have gotten a lot of shots on goal in their series against the Canadiens — 66 through two games — but they’ve also had a lot blocked. Montreal has registered a staggering 47 blocks in its pair of wins, including 27 in Saturday night’s 3-1 triumph. By comparison, the Bruins have blocked just 21 shots in the series.
“We have some guys who are actually really good at it,” forward Michael Cammalleri said. “[Brent] Sopel and [Hal] Gill right away come to mind. Those guys are two premier shot-blockers in the NHL. They’re leading the way and other guys are feeding off that.”
Gill led all players with five blocks in Game 2, while Sopel’s seven in the two games combined are a series high. It’s not just those two, though. Fourteen of the 19 Canadiens who have dressed in the series have blocked at least one shot. At the other end of the ice, only seven Bruins have registered a block.
“That’s what it takes to win in the playoffs,” forward Mathieu Darche said. “It wasn’t only our third and fourth line guys or our D. It was everybody.”
Defenseman James Wisniewski said the Canadiens have to make sure they’re getting in shooting lanes because the Bruins are a hard team to clear away from the front of the net. If they don’t block shots, he said, there’s a chance the Bruins could tip them or prevent goalie Carey Price from seeing them.
“That’s the type of thing that’s huge for our team,” Wisniewski said. “We can’t outmuscle them in front of the net, so we have to make sure forwards get in the shooting lanes. And if it gets by our forwards, we can come out and front the puck and get the puck out of our zone.”
The Canadiens play a layered defense that has become more and more common at all levels of hockey, and that makes it even more difficult for their opponents to get shots through.
“It’s kind of a skill,” Wisniewski said. “You have to see what the forward is taking away, if he’s taking blocker or glove-side away. If he’s taking blocker, then you step out and take glove-side. So it’s kind of like a double block that we’re doing.”
Price said it requires almost constant communication between him and his defensemen and between the defensemen and the forwards to make sure guys are blocking shots and not just deflecting them or screening him.
“There’s a lot of talk on the ice,” Price said. “It’s not always easy with the noise in the building, but communication is really important.”
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