From the start:
Once that puck drops you must be clued in and following it. Whether you get two shots or twenty in the first period, you have to get yourself into the game getting a feel for the puck and getting comfortable within all of the external situations. Do this by contributing to the team unit. Playing the puck, stopping it for your teammates, communicating with your team, for being vocal on breakouts and pressure, are all areas that make an immediate impact on being involved and in the game.
Other small intricacies that establish that in the moment feeling include:
- Knowing which players are on the ice and being aware of their tendencies
- Understanding how much time is left on special team situations
- Looking for common occurances that are happening in the offensive, neutral, and defensive zone
- Having awareness of the offensive teams set-up in the zone when they have the puck on 5v5 and on the powerplay