BOSTON -- Since taking over for the struggling Marc-Andre Fleury before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Islanders, Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun has gone 6-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. The Czech netminder's play -- and the decision to turn to him -- may be surprising to some, but not Bruins coach Claude Julien.
“In this situation here, Vokoun is not a rookie,” Julien said Monday. “Vokoun has been in the league for a long time. He’s been a good goaltender. Again, they made sure that they covered their back end that way, and they needed him. He’s stepped in there and done a good job for them. They've got a 1-2 punch there on that team and right now they’re taking advantage of it.”
Julien said the Bruins' approach against Vokoun in the Eastern Conference finals won’t differ much from the approach they successfully executed against Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
“I think the biggest thing when it comes to goaltending is the same as any other series -- you've got to get traffic in front,” Julien said. “You’ll hear every team tell you that. You’re going to say we hear that in every interview when it comes to goaltenders.
“They can’t stop what they can’t see. And in the playoffs it’s so important to get some bodies in front. Pittsburgh is going to do the same thing, New York tried to do the same thing, everybody is doing the same thing in all the playoff games. That’s what you see in highlights, how a goaltender’s eyes are taken away from him. Nothing is different there.”
One aspect of Vokoun’s game that the Bruins already are aware of and will factor into their game plan is his ability to stick handle. Vokoun loves to start the transition up ice and the Bruins will look to stop that as much as possible.
“I think Vokoun is one of those guys that loves to handle the puck, handles it a little bit better,” Julien said when comparing Fleury and Vokoun. “So we’ll have to be careful about that, as far as him turning the puck over and moving it up quickly. The rest of it we’re just finishing up on that with our goalie coach, who does scouting on opposing goaltenders.”