One more thing. This team lacks an identity. What are we supposed to be? We're not a puck possession team. We're not a physical grinding team. We're not a solid defensive team. We're not a speedy team. We're just kind of a mix of things that averages out into nothing.
Its not the shots we need to stop as much as we need to stop leaving players wide open infront of the net. So many screens with no defender pushing the damn forward out of the front of the crease! You can't leave guys wide open in shooting areas and not expect them to score, especially with solid screens on the goalie. Look at the game before against the islanders, howard could see the puck and posted a shutout even with tavares and vanek peppering him with shots. Defensemen need to do their job in our end, we lost way to many battles, left to many guys open in shooting lanes, and couldn't guard the front of the net from screens and to smack away rebounds. like i said the second one was the only soft goal, all the others were legit and had more blame on the defensemen then the goaltenders. Not to mention Howard made some big saves, he robbed hartnell with a toe save that looked like an easy tap in.
One: Every goalie makes big saves in every game.
Two: The goalie's job is to make those saves when the defense leaves them out to dry.
Bottom line, Howard isn't playing well. He needs to be better. He knows this, we know this, everyone knows this. And the good thing is there's still plenty of time left for him to pick up his game. But we don't need to keep making these excuses for him that the fans have been making for years now.
The entire defense has been playing worlds better than we've seen even just last series. They all deserve props, even Smith and Quincey. There was one play I think in the first behind Jimmy where Quincey flat out battled the guy with everything he had and I couldn't believe me eyes.