Veteran Craig Anderson is widely regarded among his puck-stopping peers for his ability to read plays and shots. In fact, former teammate Chris Driedger went so far as to tell us that the 39-year-old Anderson, a pending unrestricted free agent, has “the best reads in the NHL.”
All of which makes Anderson’s fifth Pro Reads appearance that much more interesting, because it involves two shot situations where his ability to make those reads is blocked out by defensive screens, limiting Anderson to reading the situation rather than the release. Thankfully, there are three parts to this sequence, which starts with a turnover in the Ottawa Senators zone that leads to a 3-on-2, and it includes the wily Anderson trying to use his positioning to dictate what happens in one of those parts, a lost art we’re happy to see him discuss below.
After a turnover in his zone, Anderson is left facing a 3-on-2 rush from the blue line. Despite the fact there was no preparation time like there would be a normal rush coming through the neutral zone, an alert Anderson is able to get out past the edge of his crease:
With one passing option right next to him and another higher in the zone, what do you think of Anderson’s initial depth on this play? What are the benefits of taking this much ice?
There are actually a couple more decisions worth a closer look before we hear from Anderson directly below, but it’s probably easier to watch the entire save sequence first.
As you’ll see in the save video, there is actually two save preparation sequences because the initial shot gets blocked, creating another shot with his defenseman again in the lane:
Now that you’ve seen it at full speed, a couple of additional questions to consider before Anderson shares his thoughts: What did you think of the decision to slide across for the initial one-timer rather than trying to beat it on his skates? And what was the most important thing Anderson does after that initial shot is blocked, even if he can’t see where the puck went?
Let’s listen to Anderson break it down himself to find out what he saw, and how it happened:
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