Former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna gives his Daily face-to-face Start of the goalkeeper match of the day for Tuesday. March 7, 2023:
Why I love this game:
Games between the Blue Jackets and Penguins are always electric, no matter the venue. And I’m thrilled to see Jarry in goal for Pittsburgh: he’s won three straight as the Penguins continue their march to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
To monitor :
Jarry’s puck handling and Merzlikins’ energy. The Penguins managed to stay in the hunt for the playoffs while Jarry was sidelined with injury for over a month, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Pittsburgh is a different team with him in the net. He handles the puck incredibly well outside his territory and can restart the team’s breakout. Jarry’s tracking is excellent when he’s at the top of his game. And he is a very good skater. Nothing is particularly flashy about him, but Jarry has amassed quite the record as a member of the Penguins. The 27-year-old was 112-54-18 in seven NHL seasons.
It’s been a tough year for Merzlikins, but the Blue Jackets goaltender has been incredibly consistent lately. With the exception of his last outing against the Senators, in which he allowed four goals on 23 shots, Merzlikins had allowed exactly three goals in seven straight games. Typically, that number wouldn’t be something to celebrate, but considering Merzlikins has a 4.15 goals-against-average in the 2022-23 NHL campaign, that’s progress. The Latvian goaltender has scored in three of his last five starts with Columbus.
What fantasy owners should do:
The Penguins have been better lately and Jarry has played a big role. Start it. But Merzlikins only showed value in the backup category for fantasy owners. The Blue Jackets give up a lot of shots. I would seat him against Pittsburgh.
Conclusion for Tristan Jarry:
He must stay healthy for the Penguins to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Conclusion for Elvis Merzlikins:
No baby. Last month was a step in the right direction.