2. Box out the Bruins
The Carolina Hurricanes defense yesterday was atrocious. They left the cross-ice passes open and the shooting lanes about as trafficked as the massage parlor is around these days. Tonight they need to gridlock all of that down and deny the Bruins anything but low danger chances at whoever is in the net, be it Mrazek or James Reimer.
That means any and all players need to backcheck whenever the Bruins are trying to take the zone. No more puck watching. No more waiting to see if someone else can get the puck and spring you into an odd-man rush.
There is a small chance that Sami Vatanen who has been excellent during the Rangers series, makes a return to the lineup tonight. Even if he doesn’t return, the rest of the defenders on the deepest defense in the NHL need to step up and close out any high danger opportunities for Boston or make room for someone who can.
Trevor Van Riemsdyk has yet to get a chance to play since March. Just a fact.
There is no room for mental lapses against a team like Boston. If this team can clean up their act and close out the defensive zone, forcing Boston to actually earn any and all goals they may happen to score, Carolina will be set up for a win.
But the defensive zone isn’t the only way to play defense, keeping the puck in the Bruins zone and playing with serious forecheck can always supplement. After all, the best defense is a good offense.