McKenna Match of the Day: Jan. 26 – Connor Hellebuyck vs. Eric Comrie

Former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna gives his Daily face-to-face Start of the goalkeeper match of the day for Thursday. January 26, 2023:

Why I love this game:

Hellebuyck, despite being a rock for the Jets this season, has struggled lately. And Comrie hasn’t won an NHL game for the Sabers since Nov. 2, 2022. Both goalies could enjoy a strong performance tonight.

To monitor :

I liked Hellebuyck’s last outing on Tuesday against Nashville. He stopped 39 of 41 shots and looked strong doing so, but he didn’t pick up the win. This was another step in the right direction, as I thought Hellebuyck was starting to wear down. He wasn’t at his best against Montreal and Toronto the week before and seemed out of sync. Hellebuyck’s follow-up has been top-notch this season, and I know he likes to play every minute he can. But the Jets have three games left before the All-Star break, and I think Hellebuyck will need the rest.

Comrie faced a ton of rubber early in the year for Buffalo and picked up some impressive wins over Edmonton and Calgary. But despite excellent mechanics and patience, he was unable to replicate these performances very often. Tonight will be his second game since returning to the Sabers after missing an extended stretch through injury. For all that Comrie does well — which is a lot — size might hurt him. He is 6-foot-1 but struggles to find pucks in traffic. Comrie has lost five straight.

What fantasy owners should do:

I think tonight has a strong chance of being a high score. I wouldn’t feel very comfortable with either goalkeeper. But Comrie is due for a win, and Hellebuyck has historically posted outstanding fantasy numbers. Of the two, Hellebuyck is the stronger bet.

Conclusion for Connor Hellebuyck:

He has lost three of his last four starts. Picking up a few wins before the All-Star break would erase any self-doubt.

Conclusion for Eric Comrie:

There’s a three-headed goalie monster in Buffalo right now, with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Craig Anderson vying for playing time. Comrie needs to step in.

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