Steve Valiquette is wrapping up his third season as an MSG Network hockey analyst, getting generally favorable reviews for his studio work.

Valiquette does the preparation necessary — “I love the homework,” he said — but he believes a key to his success is the unique vantage-point he used to have as a career backup goaltender. He started 27 games in five NHL seasons with the Islanders, Oilers and (mostly) Rangers.

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While the guy actually in net is stuck at one end of the rink and must have tunnel-vision to do his job, the backup gets a sweet view from the bench, near center ice, and must always pay attention — without the distraction of actually playing.

“I think the number was 265 games I backed up in the NHL,” Valiquette said, “and during that time I would argue there was nobody more focused than I was on the game, because you can get thrown in at any moment.

“So I was playing every scenario through. When a puck came to the net I’d have to really engage myself mentally as if my response was exactly what the goaltender did. If it was a race up the ice I would want to see the patterns of who was passing when through the neutral zone or how a breakaway would happen.

“I’m sure the coaching staff was as engaged as I was, but I’d say that as a player I was the most engaged.”