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Hockey cheat sheet

By Nicole Cammorata
Globe Staff / May 10, 2011

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Excited for the Bruins’ postseason success but don’t want to be seem like you have just jumped on the bandwagon? It’s time to boost your hockey knowledge. First, go rent the 1977 Paul Newman classic “Slap Shot.’’ Memorize it. Then brush up on the essential terms below and practice using them in sentences. (We’ll get you started.) With the right lingo, you can go from fair-weather fan to puck buff in no time. Or at least fake it, anyway.

ASSIST
Assists are attributed to the last two teammates to touch the puck before the player who ultimately scores.

“Thanks for the assist on carrying those beers back to our seats, dude.’’

FIVE HOLE
The space between the goalie’s legs.

“Tim Thomas is on fire — no way he’s letting in any five-hole goals.’’

ICING
When a player on their defensive half of the ice sends the puck across the red line into the opponents’ zone, past the goal line, and a player on the opposite team touches it. When this happens, a face-off occurs in the defensive zone of the team that iced the puck and that team cannot substitute players before that face-off. During a power play, however, icing is allowed for the short-handed team.

“What’s up with the refs tonight? That was totally icing!’’

NEUTRAL ZONE
Central third of the ice between the two blue lines. This is where players face off at the beginning of each period and after scoring a goal.

“I thought we were dating but he’s keeping us in the neutral zone.’’

OFFSIDES
Players can’t cross the blue line into the attacking zone before the puck, or their teammate with the puck, enters the zone first. If a player crosses the blue line before the puck does and then touches it, play is stopped and a face-off occurs in the neutral zone.

“These refs need glasses — that guy was offsides by a mile!’’

POWER PLAY
When one team has a player in the penalty box, the other team is playing with more players on the ice and is on the power play. If the team with the power play scores, the power play is over and the penalized player is released. If the short-handed team scores, that’s called a short-handed goal, but the power play remains.

“Bruins are on the power play again — let’s hope they can make something happen.’’