The diving poke check is a goalie's best tool for stopping breakaways in NHL 12. Goalies can choose between two different poke checking animations:
A short, jabbing poke with moderate recovery but limited range, done by pressing up on the right joystick.
- The sprawling, diving poke check with great range but slow recovery, which requires holding the right bumper then hitting up on the right joystick.
The desperation version is quite effective in knocking the puck free and smothering it.
By contrast, the standard poke check just has too limited range to be worthwhile. A poke check can also be performed while hugging the post, but like all variations of the normal poke check, it's a largely worthless move that puts the goalie in a perilous position with little to no chance of stopping the puck.
The desperation lunge will usually catch your opponent by surprise the first time or two. Eventually, the other team will catch on to this tactic and try to counter it by skating around the dive animation or jumping over it.
If the other team is expecting you to take a dive at the puck, try baiting the skater into an early deke or shot attempt by faking a run up to the puck with the left joystick, then sagging back into the net as the skater comes in to shoot.
Remember that your goalie's ability to make normal glove, stick and five hole saves is heavily dependent on his breakaway rating. A high breakaway rating gives a momentary boost to your goalie's reflexes. Likewise, a low breakaway rating will temporarily cause your goalie's reflex ratings to drop.