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Eyes on the Price: Charlie Lindgren’s pads of glory

Charlie Lindgren and his glorious leg pads helped the Habs clinch the Atlantic Division

Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens secured the Atlantic Division title on Monday night, as Charlie Lindgren backstopped the Habs to a 4-1 road win over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida.

This being the year of Carey Price’s comeback, it’s ironic that Habs fans would begin the season watching Al Montoya in net, then watch their team clinch the Atlantic Division title in front of Charlie Lindgren. The victory locked up the second seed in the Eastern Conference for the Habs, finally confirming the long-expected first round playoff matchup with the New York Rangers.

Before going off to prepare by watching endless GIFs of Price decking Chris Kreider behind the net, let’s take a look at Charlie Lindgren.

Keeping with the bookend theme, in our very first post we reviewed a save by Al Montoya in which he utilized a reverse V-H post integration technique, then pushed off to make a nice save on Buffalo’s Johan Larsson.

As a comparison, let’s examine Charlie Lindgren’s use of a V-H technique Monday evening against Florida.

Still scoreless toward the end of the first period, the Panthers’ Denis Malgin (62) generates a turnover inside the blue line continues to drive to the net, and is rewarded with a prime scoring opportunity.

Alex Galchenyuk drops a pass to Jeff Petry and heads up the boards, where Petry chips him the puck. Malgin battles him for it on the boards, and wins.

Malgin passes to Jonathan Marchessault (81), setting up a 2-on-1 with Thomas Vanek (26) on Petry’s right.

Marchessault shows “shot” for as long as he can, then pulls the puck across his body and passes to Vanek, who is wide open at the bottom of the face-off circle. (Yes, Galchenyuk should have disrupted this pass with a more aggressive backcheck!)

Vanek doesn't attempt a one-time shot, but instead carries the puck below the circle and approaches Lindgren on a low angle.

Lindgren begins the sequence at the top right of his crease, then retreats into a right post V-H as he follows the pass and Vanek moves in.

In the V-H, the post leg is Vertical, and the other leg is Horizontal (hence the V-H acronym).

Lindgren shows a couple of nice features in his technique. His post skate is slightly outside the post, creating an overlap of coverage to avoid any short-side gap. The downside of the overlap position is that if he needs to push across the crease, he has to make sure to disengage from the outer post in order not to be delayed. Lindgren keeps his skate blade relatively close to the goal line, though, minimizing the chance of interference with the post when he has to move.

Lindgren’s hand positioning also enhances his coverage. His overlap position puts his right arm outside the post, but he rotates his glove counterclockwise so that the pocket is stacked on top of his post pad to maximize vertical coverage, and specifically prevent Vanek from shooting to the near top corner over his collarbone.

The only criticism to levy here is that his stick blade is off the ice, and moving toward the end boards. Ideally, he should have his stick blade on the ice with the toe at the goal line. This would enable him to control the rebound direction of a low shot, or deflect any cross-crease passing attempt.

He has his pads nicely sealed, but the room under his stick could allow for an uncontrolled rebound if Vanek had chosen to shoot along the ice.

Vanek, though, thinking that Lindgren has sealed off his shooting options, moves the puck to his backhand. Andrei Markov has dropped back in coverage to prevent any feed to the slot, but Vanek takes advantage of the lane that Galchenyuk leaves open to his left.

Rather than simply push off from the post and leave his left pad horizontal, Lindgren uses the leverage of his engaged right skate to raise his left leg and re-establish his position on both skates. (He’s on two skates here, promise, he’s just hardly visible behind Markov.)

He then pushes forward on his skates into a more aggressive crease position, as well as rotating his chest toward Malgin.

He sees the general direction of Vanek’s pass, but it’s hard to imagine that he’s able to fully visualize Malgin’s shot through both Markov and Galchenyuk.

Having said that, he seems to track the puck well. He drops into his butterfly as he pushes slightly to his left.

He takes the puck off his torso just below the crest, and smothers it in front of him.

This was one of several strong moments for Lindgren in a solid NHL outing before he returned to the St John’s IceCaps. Before bid him farewell, though, goaltending aesthetics require a full appreciation for the beauty of his leg pads.

The pattern, known as the “Iceberg,” is made by Vaughn Hockey, and is most associated with Detroit Red Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard. Howard wore it for several years with a white base and the red jagged “iceberg” motif.

Calgary Flames v Detroit Red Wings

For the 2014 Olympics, Howard took it one step further, adding a thin red accent stripe above the blue boot and lower leg.

Lindgren’s pattern, though, is a notch above. It would be cool if his blocker and glove patterns sported the same solid ‘berg configuration and outline, but I give him credit for going a little different than simply matching the whole set. (He also gets credit for having worn this same essential setup in his last year at St. Cloud State.)

Those current leg pads, tho... Wow. The Habs red toe and boot are accented by a blue piping along the edge, setting off the red from the ice. The upper margin of the red block has a following blue border, but it also appears that there is a very thin white transition zone, which allows for the blue to stand out ever so slightly as compared to Howard’s red stripe on his Team USA pads. To “cap” it, a higher following blue line sets off an intervening white segment that gives the impression of, yes, IceCaps on mountaintops, while it echoes the outlined Habs crest. Simply put, they’re glorious.

Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Lindgren should return to St John’s with a good deal of confidence after his brief NHL stint. He got to show the faithful back home in Montreal a little style and a lot of substance, clinched a division title for the big club, and finished off the evening with a little love from his backup.

Yup, Monday was a good day for Charlie Lindgren.