The right stuff - 05-11-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Using parlance of the sport, Tomas Vokoun is a "silly sider." In other words, he catches the puck with his right hand.

It's something of a rarity. Of the 82 goaltenders who played in at least one game in the NHL this season, only seven caught the puck with their right hands. That's 8.5 percent of the league's goaltenders.

The Penguins turned to one of them in Game 5 and saw Vokoun make 31 saves in a 4-0 shutout.

What are the differences in shooting on a right-handed goaltender such as Vokoun? Members of the Islanders discussed it today:

John Tavares, center - “It’s a little different. Obviously he catches the opposite side. As a lefty shooter, more than that, you’re going to see the off side as opposed to the right. For [a right-handed shot] it’s going to be the opposite. It changes your thinking a little when you’re approaching the net at time. But I think you want to have the same mindset with getting pucks to the net and getting bodies to the net and making things tough for him. “

Mark Streit, defenseman - “I think the biggest difference is that he’s a stand-up goalie and Fleury is a butterfly goalie going down a lot. I think you just got to get the puck at his feet and go for rebounds. Obviously he’s catching on the opposite side. That makes a difference but I’m pretty sure the guys here know where to shoot in order to score.”

Josh Bailey, center - "Not really a lot. You get pretty comfortable with whatever hand you shoot at. Me being a left-handed shot coming down, you look for those key areas, high glove, low blocker. Obviously, it switches now. The fact that he’s a different style goalie too … he’s not as traditional as we see nowadays with the butterfly. He’s really good at reading where you have to shoot. The key really is getting people to the net. Get shots on net and find a way to bang some home. We certainly didn’t do that well enough last game. I think we made things a little easier on him than we would have liked."

Matt Martin, left winger - "Other than the fact that he catches with his right instead of his left, it’s really the same. We’ve just got to get some pucks on him. Get some traffic and try to squeeze some by him. I mean, he played a good game the other night but if we take away his confidence, any goaltender can struggle."

Colin McDonald, right winger - "There might be certain situations where you’re thinking about it. But I think our main focus right now is just trying to get shots on net. It’s very hard to beat the goalie on the initial shot at this level. It’s more about getting screens in front so he can’t see it. Getting deflections, rebounds. If you have an open shot, yeah. I think that definitely plays a part in where you’re going to shoot. [But] in the playoffs, you don’t get open shots too often. You’re just trying to get everything to net and trying to find those rebounds. Maybe guys on the power play who get open shots more often than five-on-five, maybe they talk about it more. A guy like myself, I don’t look at it all. I just try to get everything on net, crash and try to get some disturbance around the front of the net."

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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