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‘Pressure’ On The Goalies

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Goalie gaffes seem to be all the rage these days and on Saturday, there were two more faux pas that played endlessly on the highlight reels and profoundly affected the outcome of games. When did this Keystone Cops routine become so commonplace?

Here at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens – who has been exceptional filling in for the injured Jonathan Quick – stumbled trying to play the puck during a five-minute power play and fell flat on his backside. His fall permitted the Flames’ Paul Byron to scoop up a loose puck and feed it to Blair Jones for a shorthanded goal, which broke a scoreless tie in what finished as a 2-1 Calgary victory.

Up the coast in San Jose, in a showdown for first place in the Pacific Division, it was more of the same, this time with Jonas Hiller in the featured role. The Anaheim Ducks were on a second-period power play when Hiller skated out to the right face-off circle to move the puck up to his defence. A routine play usually except this time, he turned it over to the Sharks' penalty killers, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who played pitch and catch with each other before Marleau eventually deposited the puck in the empty net. The Ducks would tie the game in regulation to earn a point, but ultimately lost the game in a shootout.

According to Flames’ goaltender coach Clint Malarchuk, the evolving nature of the NHL game is the reason you’re seeing so many of puck-handling errors.

“Teams are so pressed and pressured for offence now that when the puck goes in deep, they want it turned around right away the other way,” said Malarchuk. “I know what we tell our goalies: ‘Play the puck. Play it and play it well.”

continued plus more NHL talk...

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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