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NHL 16 Goalie Guide:

By: Deffer and SmellyKickButt


But First, Check out these Video Guides to Playing Goalie


Introduction to the Position:

Playing goalie is little more than stopping the puck, but to do so, you have to know about the position.

A goalie wears skates just like the rest of the team, but that’s where the similarities end.  Leg pads, arm pads, off hand glove, primary hand blocker, chest/torso pads, neck guard and a full helmet with face shield.  Your goalie, much like a baseball player, will have his glove on his ‘bad’ hand – so if you are right handed, the goalie will have his glove on the left side and the stick on the right.  This is important to know when you are creating and modifying your player.

Top 3 Keys to Playing Goalie:

1)      Memory: If your opponent has been attempting cross creases all game, when they come down on a 2-on-1 then cover the pass.  If everyone is a puck hog, play the shot. Take it a step further by trying to remember exactly who are the puck hogs and who are the passers and you’ll have the advantage.

2)      Communication: If you have a headset, use it. Let your teammates know whether you would prefer them to play the pass or the player. Let them know if you are planning on leaving the net.  Let them know if you would prefer them to trip the opponent on the breakaway to set up a penalty shot or let you try and top him. Additionally, as a goalie you have valuable insight to lend on how the opposing goalie is playing. The difference between a good goalie and a great goalie? A good goalie is good in his own net, a great goalie is good in his own net and lets his teammates know the weaknesses of the opposing goalie.

3)      Tracking the Puck.  Let’s face it, if you can’t track the puck, you can’t play goalie. Keep your eyes glued to the puck when it’s in your zone.


Introduction to the Controls:

– Moves the player from side to side, forward and back.  You will use this a lot.

– Anticipation Stick.

  – high glove

  – low glove

  – high blocker

  – low blocker

  – poke check (good for one on one encounters with a close puck carrier.)

  – five hole (between legs) save

Click  – shove

 /  (hold) – free skate.  Used to gather puck in the side boards or in the trapezoid behind the net. Or when the opposing team takes a penalty and they have yet to obtain possession of the puck, this is called a delayed penalty. You can use the A button to run off the ice to the bench and replace yourself with an extra skater. Also works late in the game when deciding to pull the goalie when down by 1 or 2 goals.

 /  – Gather/hold puck.

 /  – Positions the goalie into the butterfly stance. This leaves the upper end of the net vulnerable.

 /  – Hug post (without puck), Pass (with puck)


Button combinations:

 /  +  /   +  – Increases the movement speed of the goalie, but decreases the ability to set up into your stance.  You should only use this during cross crease passes.

 /  +  – This button combination slows the movement speed down.  You stay in a better save stance using the button combination, but you move much slower – only use this when you are confident that you are in the proper position for where the puck is on the ice (more on that later.)

 /  +  (flick)  – Desperation save.  This is fun and flashy to use, but it hardly ever works.  If you’re facing a 3 on 0, you might be in a situation to use this button combination, but other than that it only hurts your positioning.

 /  +   or  (hold) – Stack pads – similar to desperation save, you should hardly ever use this – it creates a vulnerability in net (high) and places you out of proper position.

 +   (hold) – Spread Pads “V” save – good as a last resort if you’re beat on a breakaway and the skater moves to the side.  Will create poor positioning, and leaves the upper area of the net wide open, but covers most of the bottom of the net if you’re not out too far.

 +   (flick & hold) – Lunging poke check.  A good tool for breakaways when the skater hesitates.  Pretty much all or nothing – if you don’t get the puck it’s probably going to end up in the net.

Playing the Position:

1. The left stick is your best friend.  You use this to get into position to cover the angles while the other team possesses the puck.  If you are in good position, you will only need to use LS to make most of your saves.

2. The right stick is your anticipation stick. There are only two scenarios when you would want to use the right stick. Scenario #1: A puck has been fired from the point and is clearly coming to your top right side without any traffic in the way. Flick the right stick to the top right corner to increase your probability of making the save. Scenario #2: Your opponent has passed it from your right side to your left side and you have no time to get square to the puck. Flick the left stick to the left to perform a desperation save.

3. Left trigger is to be used sparingly – mostly in very close quarters or they’ll roof the puck on you every time. (More in offline BaP, but online as well.)  Only go into butterfly if the puck is within a few feet of your player – this cuts off the angle to the top of the net, but leaves you vulnerable to a ‘chip’ in, where the player lifts the puck over you.

4. Be 100% sure you’re more than 60% towards the post you want to hug before hitting RT – anywhere near the middle and you’re flipping a coin as to which post you’re trying to hug.

5. Cover the puck (Y button) when you can, but don’t go for the ‘dive’ if it’s more than a few feet from you. Pass if the other team isn’t above the hash marks (see next section for where the hash marks are.)

6. Play the angles – if they’re at the top of the slot, move out to cut off the angles they have, but be aware of the other players. Cutting off the angle of the shooter is pointless if you’re leaving an empty net for the crasher.

7. Stay in the net if you’re not experienced with; when to go get the puck, when to know when to turn back, how to pass.

8. You’re not going to get a shutout every game – don’t beat yourself up.

9. Desperation saves are to be used in desperate times (3 on 0) – not in scrums in front of the net.

10. Keep your eyes on the puck, not the player.  If the players have any deke ability, they will burn you every time if you watch the player and not the puck.  If you’re in proper position, the skater will always have to make the first move, giving you the advantage.

Where to Position the Goalie During Play:

The above picture shows the different areas in a hockey rink, and some of the terminology used by players.

This picture shows the position your goalie should be in when the puck is at the point – the position of the goalie changes with the position of the puck, and is dependent on whether or not there are players crashing the net.  If there are players crashing the net, the goalie should not be out at the top of the crease, but rather near the ‘ticks’ or closer to the middle of the crease in preparation for a pass.

The dreaded cross-crease possibility.  I’m going to describe these as if there is no defender.  If there was a defender, and he was competent in his position, he would know to play the pass – or cover the non-puck controlling player – but, especially in EASHL, we can’t 100% trust the defensemen to be in position, so we’ll prepare as if there wasn’t one at all.

In this scenario, we want to be out of the net, but only about 25% of the way to the top of the crease. This covers the short side for the most part, and still allows us to have enough time to slide over to cover the pass (hopefully.)  If the players drive the net further than in this image, the chances of scoring (without a defenseman) increase the closer they get – they gain the ‘angles’ advantage on you.

If they pass (seen here:) then you need to move your goalie (LS) to the appropriate side to cover the new angles. With cross crease passes, there’s a likely chance that it will be accompanied by a one-timer, so you’ll need to be quick on the buttons to have a good chance at the save.

This image shows you where you want to be when a player has the puck in the slot – near the ticks.  The teal lines are the only areas the puck can go if you have the proper positioning. If there are other skaters open for a pass, obviously you want to keep that in mind when positioning your player.



Everyone likes to keep the play moving.  A wise goalie doesn’t care about what everyone wants. Pass the puck only when there is a clear lane between you and your teammates. Even then, watch to ensure that there are no opponents nearby. Nothing is worse than having to listen to your teammates yell at you because you tossed it to a teammate and watched helplessly as they were steamrolled by a defender nearby. The puck skitters perfectly onto that same defender’s stick and he buries it top cookies all because you wanted to “keep the play moving.” Your job is simple. Keep the puck out of your net. Freeze the puck as often as you like in order to execute on your objective. The only exception is when you are losing and there is not much time left on the clock. Then, the risk of giving up a second goal is less important than the need of picking up the tying goal. Pass that puppy out as fast as you can.


Leaving the Net:

1) If you’re down by two and there are 3 minutes left in the game, or when you’re down by 1 and there is a minute and a half left in the game. Wait until the puck is on your teammates stick in a safe area, leave the net and make a bee line for the bench. This will provide your team with an additional skater to try and tie the game.

2) If the puck has been dumped along the boards, you can rush behind your net, to pick up the puck and pass it to a teammate. Never pass it up in front of your net while you’re not in your net, if your pass doesn’t go as planned you won’t be there to stop the inevitable goal. Also, never hold the puck outside the trapezoid, this will result in a penalty.

3) If the puck is dumped in the center of the ice and an opponent is racing down the ice to pick it up and start his breakaway. You must gauge the distance and determine whether or not you think you can beat him. If you can, hold A and use the left stick to start charging up the ice to get the puck before the opponent. Be careful though, this leaves you and the net very vulnerable. So make sure to pass that puck safely away from the net or use RB and right stick up to dump the puck right back into the opponent’s zone. Be careful though, if the puck leaves the ice over the high boards, you will be called for a penalty.


If you fight when you are playing 6s, you just took your RW off the ice for 5mins. But if a forward on the other team slashes you and it gives you the pop up to fight the forward. DO IT. I am saying this because you take one of their forwards off the ice, but you keep all of yours.

Tips to Fighting:

People like to spam, so i suggest that you try to dodge their punches by hitting the Right trigger (RT) at the right time to dodge. Don’t hold Right trigger as you will stay in a defensive stance and take a lot less damage from punches, but you’re also pinned down.  If you are pinned down you should push Left stick up to push him, then get a few good punches in then go back to dodging.


Being Realistic as Goalie:

I’m sorry, but you are likely not the Patrick Roy of video game hockey.  You’re going to let in goals.  It’s important to keep this in mind, especially when you first start playing.  If you practice more and more, and keep your angles in mind, and always keep a small portion of your brain focused on positioning, you’ll get better.


Proper Sportsmanship While Playing Online:

If you own a microphone – use it.  Communication is key, especially in a team game, and most importantly, if you’re playing goalie. Some people know exactly how to play, so when you tell your defensemen “if there’s a 2 on 1, please cover the pass” some will know what you’re talking about, and others may have questions – having a mic makes it easier to explain exactly what you want/need.  The reverse is true as well – if a teammate has a pointer like “hey, the Center likes to shoot high glove side from the slot” you want to be sure you get that so you can be prepared.

Know when to throw in the towel.  If you’ve given up 5 goals on 7 shots and it’s half way through the first period of a drop-in game, it’s time to back out and start over – it’s more a common courtesy for the players on your team.  Explain to them that you tried, but just didn’t have it and wish them good luck on their way out.  Once you back out – forget that game even happened, because if you don’t you’re going to run into a situation where you start over analyzing the plays, and you’ll end up a step behind the play and the score is going to reflect that.

44 thoughts on “Goalie

  • Cody smith says:

    Thanks, this is probably the best guide ive seen in a while. And since ea devs n mods arent going to be helping us with attribute affects position play is so much more important. The only problem i have is the fact the lifting the puck to the top shelf of the net is still way to easy and really no way to stop it. But still great guide 5 stars.

  • Ty. P says:

    Left Handed goalies catch with the left hand, not the right.
    These controls are also for NHL 12, not 13. The right stick is now used for
    anticipation… Is there a way that this page can be updated with the different controls and strategies
    that apply to NHL 13?

  • Felixeur says:

    In NHL 13 Be a Pro, i usually shift a tiny bit out of position so i
    know where the shot is gonna be. The A.I is programed to aim at open spots so you can just use anticipation to save it. My only weekness is when the player goes around the net and selfs it top corner up close

  • Clayt says:

    My right stick doesn’t do anything. Nothing at all. Can’t figure out why. Help please.

  • haig says:

    Here is another tip. This makes it a little more easy to read plays. Once you get use to playing goalie you should be able to make the save with out even looking down at your goalie. Remember the plays always in front of you an if your looking down at yourself trying to see if you are cutting the angle off your going not going see plays in front of you. Look at the players an the puck at all times. You should be looking for the passes you should be able to slide into position without looking down at yourself.

  • Justin says:

    This is pretty spot on, your first 10 games are going to suck. Just gotta deal with that.

    It’s only until about 60 where you will start to develop natural tendencies to play the right way.

  • martin says:

    Nice tips, but for I tried to use RS to anticipate the save and I don’t think it does anything. It just shift his head from left to right, how can I know it work, cause I try and try and it does nothing at all.
    Please help me, is there a special setting or something that I don’t know.got to

  • tom says:

    The right stick is fersure anticipation, not manual save. It should pretty much be used constantly, cover short side, anticipate the other. Thats the way to dominate in goal.

  • Ryan says:

    This guides decent, however the controls are mostly incorrect. The positional guide is accurate. Good attempt, but could use some serious editing and real effort.

  • Nicolas says:

    I love nhl 2013 goaltending play, there’s only one problem that piss me off: the right stick. It’s a reflex button, if you happen to push even slightly on it(which happens often on a reflex VS a sensitive command) your goaler end up doing a stupid check in the middle of nowhere instead of staying in position, which almost always lead to a goal. Is there any way to remove or at least change this command? I looked through the remote command in the game and goal check is not even listed in the command list… If not, i just hope it’ll be fixed by nhl 2014…

    • Hermit says:

      I’m not sure, but you might be able to change the controls so that the ‘right stick manual save’ is at i.e ‘push right trigger’.

  • Jake says:

    This how-to guide needs to be rewritten; it’s for NHL ’12 and not NHL ’13.

  • Sean Brooks says:

    One thing to add…dont be afraid to use the poke check when the other team is trying to do do a wrap around. if you time it right not only will you disrupt the shot but also you can bre4ak up any kind of pass to the slot.

  • jimmy says:

    Just to let people know that don’t,if you are left handed the glove goes on the RIGHT hand.
    If you are right handed the glove goes on the LEFT hand. That’s just for all those people out there
    That didn’t know. As for the guide I thought it was okay but needs work. Thanks for having one tho

  • Ed S says:

    Great tuttorial. …

  • seth khan says:


  • kahn says:

    Yeah please hurry on the nhl 14 goalie guide thx

  • Josh says:

    We are waiting on the update for the NHL14 goalie guide! The sooner the better because some mechanics have been changed.

  • Conor says:

    LB + R analog??? This button combo doesn\’t even exist in the game manual. This combination is completely made up. Not to mentiont the button combo for going paddle down, and paddle down while hugging the post, wasn\’t even mentioned. I can\’t believe this article took months in the making. NOTHING changed from the 13 guide. I feel bad for all the new goaltenders who actually waited in anticipation for this to come out. \”Top goalie working on this\” my ass.

    • admin says:

      I’m sorry to see that you’re disappointed in the updated guide. After working with the new writer, we determined that much of the old guide still applied and only a few items needed to be updated or expanded upon. Are there items that you believe we missed or could expand upon further?

  • Conor says:

    @Admin. You’re right about not much changing. I guess I’m just upset about the button combo section. LB + R analog has never worked for me personally. I’ve tried it. I’ve only ever heard of it’s existence on this page. This move and the paddle down stance (which many of you probably don’t know exist either) are both not listed in the game manual. Paddle down is a geat way to take away the angle up close when the pass comes from behind the net to the man out front. Good to use on the breakaway sometimes as well. LT + RT + Down on Right Analog is Paddle Down. Sorry PS owners lol.

  • eric says:

    i need some help about the desperation save and i want to know if i’m doing anything wrong because i’m getting beat about 80% of the time on cross crease pass by the BAP ai.

    My goaler is left handed and here’s what i do on a right to left pass.

    i stand pretty much at where the aàposition arrow is at its widest and cover the short side but as soon as the pass is leaving te player stick, i move with the left analog to the other side while holding L2 and the right analog to the left side to anticipate a shot on the left direction. now even with all that i get scored on most of the time. i’Ve also tried the same thing but without holding L2 and i dind’t had more succes.

    The only saves i’ve been able to do with the R1 button are the stack pads by pressing the right analog left or right, the diving spread saves by pressing down or the diving poke by pressing up.

    so i’d like to knowif there’S anything i’m doing wrong because that’S pretty much the only plays i get scored on regularly.( i get beat by te occasional five hole or screene shots,but not as much as the cross sides ones)

  • kahn says:

    Good guide outside of the button combination mess up, but nothing really new that will help me out. I am a legend 3 goalie and top 100. I played many, many, many drop-in and club games. Can’t seem to break the .80 save percentage I have accumulated and seem to stay consistent at. There are other goalies that are top 100 that have .85 or higher, and I just can’t find out what I am missing here. Was hoping for something here but unfortunately I didn’t find it.

  • Terakahn says:

    Any advice for unlocking boosts and boost slots outside club games? Skater boosts seem easy enough.

  • Terakahn says:

    I need some kind of clarification for controls. Desperation saves seem to happen at random and none of the controls for it make sense. LB and right stick does nothing. And the loading screen says RB and right stick. If I could actually do these when I wanted I would have a much higher save percentage in high pressure situations. Help!

  • cotsarots says:

    How do I stop the Puck in front of the net

  • josefrees says:

    It doesn’t matter how what year game it is the basics of goalie are something anybody should revisit. This page is a good primer and as a fledgling goalie a good reminder.

    Am I right in understanding this. you can use the RS to anticipate. What exactly does that do? I hear that your glove and stick stats apply when you aren’t anticipating at all or something like that. Is this true?

    Any tips on why the puck sometimes settles in front of me after a body save and gets slippery and hard to get in the hold. Is this part of puck control stat??

    What does the shove do? I’ve been trying to get some kind of animation or effect of it but it seems to never do anything…

  • cotsarots says:

    Why is it that when I get a good grade average and play well I don’t get the starting position when the starting goalie is getting losses and is losing games 4-0

  • jockoe says:

    Great guide but wich buttons should i press to use my goalie for a short while (for example,in a breakaway for my opponent) when i play online on ps4.?

  • Max says:

    Is the LT button the save button? Or is it the low shot save button. Because I want to know if I just square up to The shooter without lt will they score if they just shoot? Or do I have to press LT.
    I would like to know this because I am starting as goalie and need help. I’m on xbox360

  • John says:

    I was losing 2-4 and my team had the puck with 2 minutes remaining. I held A and made a bline to bench, stood there trying and my goalie never got off the ice. I had to go back and barely made, worse my goalie was still in free mode and was not defensive. What did I do wrong?

    • Mark F-R says:

      Dude I’ve been looking for a post online for probably like almost a year now about that like unless they call it like my goalie will not go to the bench I’ll just stand there drives me fucking insane I still haven’t figured out how I guess you either going to turn up your be a pro or human strategy or you have to wait until they actually call you and it says you like with 30 seconds left when you want to leave at like 1:40 anyway I still haven’t figured that one out

  • Matthew Russillo says:

    What I eventually figured out is that on breakaway situations, if the rusher comes on your left he will try to deke right. And if he rushes in right he will deke left. So what you should do is go into the V.H. position for the respective posts. If he comes in left, V.H. right; if he comes in right, V.H. left. What drives me crazy is that if I get a fight prompt with a player in drop-in, it doesn’t work no matter how much I press Y, is there something I’m doing wrong?

  • lupusmortis says:

    Dis you have the same explanation but in french please?

  • Mark F-R says:

    I don’t care anything people say whether it’s 12 13 14 15 or 16 this is a great guide for just basic goal playing not sliders or anything fancy sorry that people can’t stop and realize what this is you know actually use buttons like look at the guide and then look at the controls and figure it out but I love this I play all positions but the goalie by far is my favorite and yeah when 14 came out I’m sure like you ever one was fucking pulling their hair out going what the fuck EA but 15 and 16 is better still screwed though that you can’t control your team and their team everything is on one slider so this definitely helps man props

  • Mark F-R says:

    And might I just add this at the end for a rant there is never been a video game in my entire life that is like made me want to smash things and blow up fucking houses and like murder people more than the fucking the be a pro goalie mode when they changed everything in 14 like every almost single game doesn’t matter how many goals are up if you’re lucky enough to figure out how to make a damn players to score first of all usually your teams like 50 shots on goal with no goals and the computers 8 shots with three goals every time in the third. Doesn’t matter what you do how fast or good you are as a goalie or how defensive you’re playing the computer always comes back and fucking cheats like you have to play your heart out and almost always thet come back and tie it or win anyway that’s my rant fucking be a pro goalie mode man I’m sure its giving us all many grey hairs and who knows how many broken things in the house

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