RALEIGH — With all the talk about net-crashing, you’d think the Boston Bruins are more interested in playing demolition derby than hockey tonight at RBC Center.
It’d be great if their forwards could get to the front more and make life difficult for Carolina star goaltender Cam Ward. But don’t forget that battling in the slot and crease area is only productive if the puck joins you there.
In Game 2, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Wideman and Andrew Ference — the Bruins’ top defensemen as far as getting pucks through traffic — did as poor a job doing that as everyone did in every other area. In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series here with Carolina, with the series tied 1-1, the Bruins blueliners have to solve the puzzle that is the Hurricanes’ shot-blocking abilities. It wasn’t just the shots they blocked, it was also the passes they broke up and scoring attempts they thwarted with stick and body position that kept the Bruins offense from cranking up.
By all accounts, the aforementioned backliners are healthy, so there should be no reason to not let it rip. Sometimes you wonder if Chara has to be reminded that he possesses the hardest shot in the league.
The Bruins’ offensive struggles of Game 2 weren’t 100 percent the forwards’ fault. Moving forward, the defenseman have to make sure to chip in.
Series note: The Bruins have won their last three visits to RBC Center.
What they’re writing: The Hurricanes know the Bruins aren’t going to roll over. … Rod Brind’Amour might be demoted to the fourth line for Game 3. … Carolina wants to draw some penalties after earning just two power plays in the first two games of the series.
Players to watch: Patrice Bergeron, Chuck Kobasew and Mark Recchi form the only Bruins line that’s stayed together throughout the playoffs. And the three skaters have actually been together without fail since early March. And there’s a reason for the stability. This line has all the ingredients a team wants in a third line, with offensive punch, ferocious forechecking and grit in the corners and in front of the net. The forecheck is really where this group thrives, and how they get at the Carolina puck-carriers will set the tone for Game 3. In Game 2, the Bruins had a hard time slowing the Hurricanes’ breakouts. That means it’s time for all the Bruins forwards to get better position and find faster paths to the puck. But this line in particular has to make things happen on the forecheck to be successful. Bergeron and Recchi are still looking for their first postseason goal, and a better attack without the puck just might change that goose egg in their scoring column.