: Pre-Game Talk:
March 24th, Montreal at Boston 7pm ET
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03-23-2011, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
The Habs showed how they can neutralize the impact of the Bruins' forecheck in the last game. It was clear as day but it's been lost in all the scuttlebutt that followed that game.
The key is to have the forwards skating back hard enough and positioning themselves smartly so that the Habs' defensemen have clear pass options available when the Bruins dump the puck in. On most of the dump-ins, this should give the d-men a chance to move the puck almost on instinct, rather than having to search out an option or by trying to force a first pass into the neutral zone. When Price's puck playing ability was factored into this it was very difficult for guys like Lucic, Horton, Marchand, etc. to pressure, hit and wear down the Habs' d-men on puck retrieval.
One of Julien's weaknesses as a coach is his team's reliance on successful dump-ins as part of their attack. When this tool is taken away from the Bruins' offense, the only player that seems to be consistently dangerous carrying the puck into the zone is Krejci. If Krejci's carrying the puck into the zone, Lucic and Horton aren't able to throttle the defense. It's a pick-your-poison situation for the Bruins' top line.
Before the Chara/Pacioretty incident, the Habs were amazing in this respect last time these teams played. If they play the same way without the puck tomorrow and provide those short first pass options, they have a very good chance of coming away with a win.
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