Photo: Joel Auerbach/Icon Sportswire
Chris Driedger is coming off a 32-save shutout against the Columbus Blue Jackets, so what better time to go back to the Florida Panthers goalie for his second Pro Reads.
Driedger was great in his Pro Reads debut, which featured a cross-ice play against those same Blue Jackets, sharing his reads and puck-stopping philosophies openly and honestly.
Fans of the InGoal Radio Podcast weren’t surprised after Driedger was similarly insightful discussing an at-times twisting pro path that includes playing in the ECHL shortly before breaking through in the NHL with a .938 save percentage last season. He’s followed that up with an 11-4-2 record and .931 save percentage this season that includes some of the NHL’s best statistics on screens and that happens to be the subject of today’s Pro Reads.
Before we get into the specific breakdown, Driedger explains the philosophy that has helped him be top-10 in the NHL on screens, according to numbers from Clear Sight Analytics.
“I feel confident when I am more aggressive on them,” he said, “I just need to make sure I don’t get too aggressive and pick my spots. It’s something I’ve always added to my game as I went through my pro career and it makes me feel more confident in the net, so yeah, I try to stay out there and I am not afraid to get out of my paint and make saves and just focus on that shot first and then everything else comes secondary, whether it’s a rebound or backdoor play.”
Now that we’ve heard the mantra, let’s see it in action against the Detroit Red Wings.
This sequence is divided into two parts, starting with and in-zone play that begins in the corner, with Driedger down in RVH on his left post momentarily, before the puck is moved back up to the point, where Marc Stall collects it out of the air and skates into the middle:
Taking a quick look at the information above, and noting Driedger’s thoughts about handling screens above, what do you think are the biggest threats he has to worry about as Stall cuts into the middle? Is there anything about those options that might affect his depth decision? Is there anything about his positioning you might do differently yourself? If so, why?
We’ll save the answers for the Pro Reads video below, but first let’s skip ahead and take a look at the wide open rebound opportunity for Sam Gagner that concludes this play:
Is there anything about this rebound chance in terms of location or information about the shooter that might provide a hint about where this shot is headed? What about Driedger’s decision to recover to his feet on a second chance from this range?
Let’s look at the entire sequence now to connect the dots between those two freeze frames and see if any of the cues you identified match what happens and way it was played:
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