Playoffs up value of 'wicked wrister'

Breaking down the effectiveness of the wrist shot in the postseason

Updated: May 17, 2012, 7:45 AM ET
By Craig Custance and Lindsay Berra | ESPN The Magazine
Dustin BrownAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillDustin Brown scored three goals on wrist shots in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

IN THE NHL PLAYOFFS, the value of an accurate wrist shot increases as players become more willing to lay their bodies on the line to obstruct shots. (Playoff teams block 16 percent more shots per game in the postseason than in the regular season.) "It's not about how hard you shoot it," says Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown. "It's about how quick and where you shoot it." Here's why the wrister is the postseason's most useful weapon.

Efficiency


Everything is faster in the playoffs. Shooting lanes disappear instantly as defenders collapse toward their goal crease. So a lumbering slap shot just isn't a great option. "When you try to take a big windup, there's not a lot of time to get off a good shot," says Devils winger Zach Parise, who scored three of his four playoff goals on wrist shots entering the Eastern Conference finals. Adds Flyers center Danny Briere, "Wrist shots are so quick, the defense doesn't have a chance to set up to block."


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Lindsay Berra is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.