Why the book on Carey Price is not out
|05.05.14 at 1:24 pm ET|
Last year it was Corey Crawford‘s glove, and now it’s the top half of the net against Carey Price. As the Bruins score their goals in certain spots, the idea of “the book being out” on the opposing goaltender naturally emerges.
Yet in the case of the Bruins vs. Price, the narrative developing isn’t quite accurate. Speaking to the Bruins goaltender — whom we all know is extremely honest – the whole thing is silly. In Tuukka Rask‘s mind, goaltenders can’t reach the NHL with free spaces on their bingo boards.
“I think every goalie in this league feels like if you see the shot, you should stop it pretty much,” Rask said Monday. “I mean, there’s tendencies where guys get scored on more than other places, but I don’t think there’s one particular spot on any goalie where you just want to keep shooting and shooting.”
On Sunday, Bruins players were asked about the Bruins having scored a lot of goals this series on Price by shooting high, and their answers suggested that to be the case. Dougie Hamilton even said that B’s shooters had picked up on the fact that Price was looking low.
“I think we’ve definitely noticed that when he’s screened he’s looking low and he gets really low,” Hamilton said. “I think we can score a lot of goals up high when we have a net-front presence. I don’t know if we’re really trying, but we’ve noticed that.”
That may be the case, but after looking through all seven goals the B’s have scored on Price through the first two games of the series, it’s barely even a tendency. In fact, only three of Boston’s goals have come from shooting high: Reilly Smith‘s third-period goal in Game 1 while Price was trying to look around a screen, Daniel Paille‘s snap shot in Game 2 (which wasn’t even shot all that high; it went off Francis Bouillon and up) and Hamilton’s Game 2 snap shot glove side high as Price was moving across his net.
If anything, taking advantage of Price on the move has been key for the Bruins. Hamilton’s goal and Smith’s Game 2 goal both came as a result of that, as Smith shot the puck glove side around the middle of the net as Price was moving across.
In other words, snap shots and getting the puck to bounce off something on the ice are just as qualified to be the book on Price as high shots are. Plus, when you factor in all the sure-things the B’s failed to bury (Milan Lucic and Carl Soderberg in Game 1, both of which would have been low), the point is further made that there’s no one specific way to beat Price.
At the end of the day, it’s what the Bruins have said all along: Get traffic in front and try to get the puck through.
As for the “shoot high” theory, Rask noted that it isn’t like that’s a new concept. Goalies have to do something, especially when they’re screened, and shooters will naturally do the opposite.
“There comes that point where you feel like you have to make some kind of save and your hands are either down or up,” Rask said. “You can look at tendencies, what certain goalies do when that happens, but I think it just comes naturally. You react to the situation and you either keep your hands up if you feel like the guy is shooting high or you keep your hands low.”
The bottom line with Price is that he’s a really good goalie, but there are ways to beat him. How they beat him doesn’t matter in the end, but it isn’t like the Bruins have found the secret to beating Montreal’s goaltender, other than waiting for the third period, apparently.