David Krejci said Monday that the Capitals’ commitment to defense and combined 49 blocked shots caught the Bruins off guard in Games 1 and 2.
“They definitely surprised us,” the first-line center said after the team’s morning skate at Verizon Center. “We all knew that they were a great team offensively. But they showed us the last two games that they can play really good hockey defensively. …We’ll work on some things. Hopefully it will work today.”
Three areas of emphasis for the Bruins in Game 3 will be coaxing more production from the top two lines, creating more traffic in front of Capitals’ rookie goalie Braden Holtby and directing more shots on net, rather than into the shin pads of defensemen Roman Hamrlik (9 blocks), Karl Alzner (7) and Mike Green (5).
“Get the shots through,” shrugged Boston Coach Claude Julien, who clearly has grown tired of discussing his team’s struggles on offense. “We have to make adjustments.”
The Bruins top-6 group of forwards has yet to record a point in the series. In the regular season, Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Milan Lucic all eclipsed 60 points for a team that scored an average of 3.17 goals per game. Despite scoring only two goals in the series, it appears likely that Julien will deploy the same forward combinations.
Some other notes from the Bruins’ skate:
*Asked whether how he expects goalie Tim Thomas face any fan backlash for boycotting the Bruins’ trip to the White House, Julien said: “I don’t know what attention you’re talking about. As far as I’m concerned, he’s here to play hockey. Again, that’s been said a long time ago. He’s done a great job of living in the moment and that’s what he’s going to continue doing. ... Well, I have an idea of what you’re talking about. But it’s not even an issue in our dressing room, so I don’t know why we keep bringing that up.”
*On the topic of the fight-filled Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series, Julien said: “I know our series hasn’t been as physical. It may or may not. [But] we’re aware that discipline is a big thing in our series and both teams have understood that.”
*One Bruins player to keep an eye on tonight is Benoit Pouliot. The third-line winger finished the regular season strong, notching seven goals and seven assists in the final 16 contests. In the first two games of the playoffs, he’s got a goal and assist.
“He really picked up his game at the right time,” Julien said. “We felt like the last few weeks, his game picked up and it’s kept going that way. He’s been a real good player for us so far in these playoffs. You hope it can be contagious and others can jump on board with what he’s doing right now.”
*Tuukka Rask, the Bruins’ 1a goalie, continues to make strides in his attempt to return from groin muscle pull. But he isn’t ready to back up Thomas yet, Julien said.
“I haven’t had any setbacks,” Rask said. “I just have to be patient.”
*Finally, don’t tell Krejci that the Capitals-Bruins series has lacked the intensity of the Flyers-Penguins. (Even though it has.)
“I think it’s been pretty intense,” Krejci cracked. “[You] put some skates on, go play out there.”