Lundqvist on TNT
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Lundqvist speaks on how Zadorov's goal could spark a terrifying trend

Published May 12, 2024 at 7:22

Looking at the trends in goaltending over the years, goaltending has become exponentially more of an art form. Goaltending used to be purely based on reaction time and speed, where the best goaltenders could react to a play as fast as possible. Goaltending now is all about prediction instead of reaction and has emphasized the importance of form and consistency.

Despite leading to goaltenders having many strong options to position themselves tactically in the net, these options have become a constant that gives the best shooters opportunities to exploit. If a shooter can notice the patters in a goalie's movement, they can predict which parts of the net are going to be open when. Surprisingly one of these skilled shooters has been Nikita Zadorov, as he has been dismantling goalies single-handedly off the rush due to his ability to read movement. This is how he scored his goal in game 2 against the Oilers, which Lundqvist breaks down in TNT's intermission segment.

How are players exploiting the predictability of highly effective goaltending strategies?

Lundqvist breaks down exactly what Zadorov is seeing in these goaltenders and why they perform these «optimal» movements in the first place. Lundqvist talks about a pandemic of a goalie stance called the RVH, or the reverse vertical horizontal. This is where the goalie drops down onto his knees and the pad close to the post is held up vertically, while the pad away from the post is kept horizontal. This is incredibly useful to stop low shots from in tight, while the leg close to the post can be used to boost off for the goalie to defend from a cross-crease or quick stick handling.

The issue for Lundqvist is when goalies choose to utilize the RVH, which seems to be all too often. Goalies have started to resort to using the RVH preemptively instead of just staying on their feet for shots from the hash marks and shooters are starting to take notice. When you drop down into the RVH then you leave holes in the top of the net which would have been covered by staying on your feet. You gain so much extra mobility in the RVH, but it comes at the cost of losing body coverage on the net.

Guys like Zadorov have started to notice a
goalie's over reliance on the move and are starting to fire the puck to take advantage of the RVH's lack of coverage. Goalies are way too eager to drop into the RVH and don't expect the shot to come from that far out, and don't have the time to react as the puck whizzes by their ears. Players continue to get smarter and better at reading goaltending strategies, which could spell danger for the whole league. If we continue to see players mentally progress like this and figure out how to use a goalie's strongest plays against them, the NHL could truly face a pandemic of average offence that ends up off the charts.
May 12   |   152 answers
Lundqvist speaks on how Zadorov's goal could spark a terrifying trend

Is the NHL at risk of goalies becoming weaker again?

Yes, skaters are only going to get better8656.6 %
No, goalie coaches will find a way to equalize6643.4 %
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