Pro-Reads: Craig Anderson multiple threats off the rush
This is our third Pro Read article featuring Craig Anderson, and for the second time it focuses on how well the Ottawa Senators veteran breaks down a rush chance, and some of the elements he looks for — from both the opponent and his own defenders — when deciding how to play it.
It’s not just about how well Anderson reads a rush, however. There was also a second element after the save, a “teaching old dogs new tricks” movement to recover from a scramble in the crease that the 38-year-old admitted he wouldn’t have been able to do five years ago.
“I would have been swimming for sure,” Anderson said.
First, let’s start with the play that put him in that situation.
The Montreal Canadiens have a 4-on-3 rush after a Senators defender tries to throw a hit at the blue line and fails to slow the puck carrier, stranding himself in the process. By the time the puck gets to roughly the top of face-off circle along the boards, Anderson is dealing with a quickly developing 2-on-1 in front of him, another opponent making a quick burst towards the backdoor behind him, and a third pass option across the ice atop the far face-off circle.
Before we get to the shot, take a quick look at what Anderson sees coming at him above.
Would you have managed your depth any differently? Is that backdoor threat enough to back off with your positioning, or even pull that inside leg back to prepare for a push across?
Are you thinking shot or pass at this point? What cues are you relying on to make that read?
If you’re thinking pass, which of the three options is the most dangerous? Why?
Now let’s take a look at option the puck carrier selected, and how the play unfolded.
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