Former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna gives his Daily face-to-face Start of the goalkeeper match of the day for Wednesday. April 5, 2023:
Why I love this game:
The Flames trail the Jets by just two points in the hunt to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Winnipeg is currently the second wild card in the NHL Western Conference and the Jets have a game in hand against Calgary. But a win tonight for the Flames would tie the two teams at 89 points apiece. Simply put: Calgary really needs to win.
To monitor :
Markstrom is set to start back-to-back nights — a bold move by Calgary head coach Darryl Sutter. Especially after the Swedish goaltender allowed four goals on 23 shots last night against the Chicago Blackhawks in a losing effort. Markstrom was also retired in his previous game against the Anaheim Ducks after allowing two goals in the first period. Can Markstrom bounce back with his team on the verge of missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs? One thing is certain: Sutter has hitched his cart to Markstrom. He gave the veteran goaltender a vote of confidence despite an .889 save percentage and a 22-21-10 record. Now it’s up to Markstrom to stick the landing.
The Jets have been on a surge of late, and much of their success can be attributed to Hellebuyck’s work between the pipes. The 29-year-old former Vezina Trophy winner hasn’t allowed more than three goals in his last ten games. Hellebuyck is 6-4-0 in that span. When Hellebuyck allowed two goals or less, the Jets won. It’s a high bar for any goalkeeper, but Hellebuyck relishes the pressure. I think he likes to be challenged. Hellebuyck has a .918 save percentage in 60 appearances. A win tonight would go a long way to securing Winnipeg’s presence in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What fantasy owners should do:
Starting Markstrom would make me nervous right now. And he’s struggled to value fantasy owners in most categories this season. But with just three NHL games on the schedule, the owners might be forced to play it. Hellebuyck, on the other hand, I feel confident and I would go for it. He’s been exceptional lately and the Jets have been better in front of him.
Conclusion for Jacob Markstrom:
It’s pretty much do or die for Markstrom and the Flames.
Conclusion for Connor Hellebuyck:
A consistent and predictable goalkeeper is his trademark.