Lundqvist and McKenna Use Visual Clues to Find Pucks
Henrik Lundqvist may have felt the bouncing point shot from defenseman Dougie Hamilton late in the first period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, but it quickly became clear that the New York Rangers’ star goaltender had no idea where the puck went after that.
Lundqvist had no idea the puck was lying behind him, with nothing between it, an empty net and a 1-0 deficit.
So how did he find it – and cover it – before a hard driving Milan Lucic could get to it?
As you can see in the video below, Lundqvist relied on the visual clue provided by Lucic himself, looking around to see what others were doing, and using that to help him locate and cover that dangerous loose puck. Which instantly brought to mind the same advice offered by long-time pro Mike McKenna in a recent InGoal Magazine article about dealing with tips and traffic:
“If you cannot see the shot leave the stick, try to read how the players in front of you react,” wrote McKenna, who was signed by his hometown St. Louis Blues and played last season with the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League. “It’s amazing how many saves you can make – especially in power play situations – that are purely educated guesses based on experience. There’s an old adage in hockey: ‘you can’t stop what you can’t see.’ This is true only if there are no clues presented to you. Sometimes you are forced to connect the dots and figure out where the puck is going, even if you can’t see it.”
In Lundqvist’s case, he needed to connect the dots to find out where the puck ended up, and by looking over at the hard-charging Lucic to his left – rather than starting to look behind him first – the Rangers goalie is able to locate it just in time:
Of course, there are other keys to dealing with tips and traffic, and McKenna was kind enough to outline several great tips in the January edition of InGoal Magazine. They included everything from hole-proofing your equipment , to positioning in the crease relative to potential tips, and finding sight lines, including when to look over, and when – and where – to look around traffic.