BOSTON | Troy Brouwer was watching playoff games this week and remarked how other teams were scoring goals.
“Not too often are you going to find many pretty goals,” the Washington Capitals right wing said. “Going to the net … that’s how most of the goals are going to be scored in the playoffs.”
Brouwer took his own advice in Game 2 Saturday, crashing the net to score a dirty goal as part of the Caps’ 2-1 double-overtime victory at the Boston Bruins.
Brouwer’s goal late in the second period was one for the highlight reel, but more for coaches wanting to show players how to play to the whistle. With the puck loose in front and Boston defenseman Greg Zanon and goaltender Tim Thomas unable to cover, Brouwer poked it in, scoring the kind of greasy goal that his team needed.
“That’s the only way we’re going to beat Thomas. He’s too good of a goalie; everything that he sees he’s going to stop,” Brouwer said. “For mine, [Alex Ovechkin] put it to the net. There was a rebound.”
Nicklas Backstrom’s game-winner was scored with traffic in front, too, though it was more of a shot and less of a poke.
Either way, it was welcome offense, with the Caps’ strategy of driving the net hard paying off.
“It’s not just our guys in front of the net,” Brouwer said. “It draws their guys in as well.”
Moving forward to Game 3 and beyond the Caps understand the importance of continued net presence.
“We know Thomas is a special goaltender so we got to get traffic. If he can see it, he’ll get it,” coach Dale Hunter said. “So we just got to get bodies in front. … The more bodies you get there the better off you are.”