TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A blocked shot is less of an option and more of a responsibility in the National Hockey League especially during the postseason.
The Tampa Bay Lightning blocked eight shots in each of the first two games against the New York Islanders. However, in Game 3, the Lightning blocked 21 shots.
Ryan McDonagh, a Lightning defenseman, admitted that that topic was discussed after the Lightning lost Game 1.
“We did not do enough of the little things there to give ourselves a chance,” he said, “and shot-blocking is one of them and, ever since that game, I feel like everybody’s willingness has gone up even more.”
Yes, if you want to fully commit to the cause, you have to be willing to put your body in front of the puck. It can be painful but it can also be the reason the other team fails to find the net.
“Our forwards are being courageous and brave there and getting in lanes and, if it gets by them, then, all of us defensemen try to do our best too,” explained McDonagh, “and we know we got Vasilevskiy to back us there if we need to as well so it is a great sign for us.”
“I think it is the guys committing to our game plan and understanding the way to win on the road,” added Blake Coleman, a Lightning forward, “and we knew the Islanders were going to have their surges and you got to come up with some big blocks and guys were willing to sacrifice the body.”
Additionally, according to McDonagh, it brings a boost to the bench.
“It keeps our energy on the bench going and it keeps those positive vibes going in our room when guys are mentioned in those blocks,” he said. “It goes a long way for our group.”