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Bruins know they’ve made Braden Holtby’s job easy

04.16.12 at 1:13 pm ET

WASHINGTON — The Bruins have turned Braden Holtby from an AHL goaltender in over his head to the next big thing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s their fault. Through two games, Holtby has made 73 saves, allowed two goals in over seven periods’ worth of hockey, and created some buzz around the hockey world. All of this without really being tested.

“I think we could do a better job,” Zdeno Chara said matter-of-factly Monday morning.

The Bruins’ top two lines haven’t produced a point through two games, and the Capitals’ stingy play in the neutral zone has made it tough for Boston to get quality chances against the 22-year-old goaltender. The Capitals have blocked 48 shots, forcing the B’s to throw the puck on net any way they can, regardless of whether it’s a quality scoring opportunity.

“They block lots of shots,” said David Krejci, who led last postseason in scoring. “We’ve just got to find a way to get it through, and as forwards, we’ve got to make sure that we’re in front of the goalie. If he doesn’t see it, he can’t stop it.”

Added Chara: “I think one thing is to put shots on the net, but the other thing is to have quality shots, and shots with traffic and [make it] harder for him to maybe see them. It’s one of those things we need to be better at.”

If someone had told you six months ago that the Bruins would be facing this issue against the Capitals in the playoffs, you’d have thought they were crazy. The offensively-loaded Capitals have long relied on high-scoring games to pick up victories, but they’ve changed since Dale Hunter took over as head coach in November.

Now, the Capitals play a similar neutral-zone trap to that of the Bruins. With one forechecker and four men at the blue line, it’s tougher for the B’s to get through the neutral zone with an odd-man rush.

“They’ve definitely surprised us a little bit,” Krejci said. “We all know that they’re a great team offensively, but they’ve shown us in the last two games that they can play good defensively. We were looking at the the last two games and trying to work on some things. Hopefully it’s going to work tonight.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs,
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