Julien’s plan going in was for players to give it their shot
PHILADELPHIA — Even though the Bruins were limited to 23 shots on goal in the Game 5 loss to Philadelphia — including 14 against backup Flyers goalie Michael Leighton — coach Claude Julien didn’t want his team to mindlessly spray Leighton with shots last night just for the sake of it.
Julien was more interested in putting pucks in the net.
“If you’re going to just throw shots at a goaltender just for the sake of throwing shots at him, you’re going to help him more than you’re going to hurt him,’’ Julien said.
“If you’re going to throw shots from anywhere that aren’t really good shots, all you’re going to do is give him confidence. So we’ve got to get good shots and they’ve got to be done with a purpose.’’
Leighton was pressed into service after being idle for 22 games with an ankle injury after Flyers starter Brian Boucher injured his left knee in the second period Monday night. The knee buckled underneath him as he bent backward in a goal-mouth pileup of bodies.
Going into last night’s game, Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart had a slightly different strategy than the one expressed by his coach.
“We’ve just got to throw as many pucks at the guy as we can and capitalize on our chances,’’ Stuart said.
Of the 23 shots the Bruins mustered in Game 5 against Boucher and Leighton — who combined for the first tandem shutout in the playoffs since 1955 — only two were generated by defensemen. Andrew Ference and Dennis Wideman had one apiece.
“It’s pretty rare,’’ defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. “Usually, we have a lot more than that. It just seemed like we couldn’t get many opportunities to shoot the puck, actually. I didn’t really see many times during the game when we could’ve shot the puck.’’
What is done to remedy that?
“Get it back to us,’’ Boychuk said with a laugh. “Get it back to us more so we can get more shots. You’ve seen in the past that a lot of offense comes from defensemen, so that helps us out a lot, especially Andrew Ference’s wrist shot.’’
Ference chuckled when he heard Boychuk’s remark. He knew it was a thinly veiled attempt to deflect some of the attention his way.
“We need you to go end-to-end, that’s what we need,’’ Ference cracked. “You need to pick it up.’’
That was something the unit knew as a whole it needed to do last night.
“When you don’t have the jump, and you don’t have the speed, and you don’t create much, you’re not going to get too many shots,’’ said Julien. “And so that’s more what I would look at right now. If I’m talking about our team right now, we just have to get back to our game.
“I mean, it got us a really good lead in the series and our last game certainly was not characteristic of the way we’ve played so far in the playoffs.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.