NHL 22: Beginner’s guide to defense – How to position yourself, controls, and tips

Lock down on D.

Image from EA

The ultimate objective in hockey is simple: score more goals than the opponent. That’s not hard to figure out, but how do you get there? Well, stopping the opposing team’s offense can help with that a bit. In order to be good in NHL 22, you will need to work at playing defense. There’s no getting around it, but it’s not hard so long as you know what to do.

If you’re struggling with defense in NHL 22, we can help. Let’s take a look at the controls for defense, plus some helpful tips.


TypeXB1 ControlsPS4 Controls
SkateL (Left/Right/Up/Down)Left Stick (Left/Right/Up/Down)
Switch PlayerRTR2
Manual Switch PlayerRT (Hold) + RR2 (Hold) + Right Stick
Casual Manual Switch PlayerRT (Hold) + LBR2 (Hold) + L1
Manual Switch Player (Last Man Back)RT (Hold) + RSR2 (Hold) + R3
Vision ControlLT (Hold)L2 (Hold)
Body CheckRRight Stick
Poke CheckRBR1
Sweep StickRB (Hold) + RR1 (Hold) + Right Stick
Chop PuckRS + RR3 + Right Stick
Pass Block + Sweep StickLB + R (Left)/(Right)L1 + Right Stick (Left)/(Right)
Stick LiftAX
Hip CheckRS + LBR3 + L1
Block PassLBL1
Dive/BlockLB + RBL1 + R1
Initiate/Accept FightY (Double Tap)Triangle (Double Tap)
Boardplay (when near boards)Y (Hold)Triangle (Hold)
Initiate Net Battle (in open ice)Y (Hold)Triangle (Hold)
Quick PlaysPadPad
Line ChangeB/XCircle/Square
Tie Up Player StickA (Hold)X (Hold)

Now that we’ve gone over the basic controls you will need to know for defense in NHL 22, here are some helpful tips that might come in handy.

NHL 22 Defense Tips

Stay in position

Regardless of what mode (HUT, EASHL, etc.), it’s important to stay in position. For example, if you continuously attempt to pinch and move up forward as a defenseman, you leave yourself at risk of surrounding goals. Why? Because you won’t have enough bodies back to handle the opponent’s offense.

Stay with the opposing skaters, and be disciplined, or you might regret in the future.

You can body check, but…

In past years, we would have advised to avoid body checking as much as possible, especially in non-HUT Rush games and in any 5v5 game mode. However, the new engine and tweaks to the gameplay does offer some meta relevance to checking. Body checks can be a great way to force a turnover, and even take players out for long periods of times.

The key, however, is to make sure you are not too aggressive. Make sure that if you do attempt a body check, you have numbers (meaning bodies) behind you to cover, should you whiff on the hit.

Please avoid pinching

We wrote about it last year, and we’ll state it again in 2021: avoid being overzealous with defenseman pinches. We already touched on it here earlier, but it’s vital that you keep your D-men back in most circumstances. The only instances where you should try to pinch is in situations where you have time and space to do something. But, if an opposing skater is within a stride or two (or three, depending on how fast that skater) of you, be careful.

Otherwise, you might leave yourself in a bad position, lose the puck, and have to then deal with an odd-man rush. Make sure that if you are usering with a defenseman, stay in front of the puck, and watch the passing lines and try to close those up.

Offense is the best defense

It might sound cliché, but it’s really true. You can avoid playing in your defensive zone if all you do is continuously control the puck, and put pressure on the opposing team. Having an exceptional offense can be great, especially if you have playing defense.

If you need some tips on how to score in NHL 22, check out the link below.

Related: NHL 22: Beginner’s guide to scoring – How to score goals, controls, and tips