It’s a little moment like this one that can change the course of a game.
Ryan Miller’s glove comes off and the puck is blasted towards the net. Instinct takes over. Mike Grier lays down and the puck deflects off him and harmlessly into the corner.
But Grier isn’t credited with a blocked shot. The whistle goes and the game stops with the puck in mid-flight, cutting through the air unimpeded. Essentially, the play never happens.
A few games ago, Jhonas Enroth had to make two saves without a helmet. In this instance, however, the refs were quick to stop play for a goaltender missing essential equipment.
This play doesn’t count in the official event summary or on the stat sheet. And even if it did, it would be quantified with a single tally in the “Blocked Shot” column. That doesn’t matter.
In that moment, in that instant, the only thing that mattered was that that little piece of vulcanized rubber not go into the net. Grier’s teammates see that and hopefully don’t forget it.
This moment mattered. It didn’t change the game but the next instance might. That time might come tonight or it might come later in the series. But it will come.