McKenna Match of the Day: Jan. 6 – Andrei Vasilevskiy vs. Connor Hellebuyck – Daily Faceoff



Former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna gives his Daily face-to-face Start of the goalkeeper match of the day for Friday. January 6, 2023:

Why I love this game:

Vasilevskiy is back after being briefly sidelined by illness. And if the Vézina Trophy were awarded tomorrow, Hellebuyck would win it for the second time in his career.

To monitor :

Two of hockey’s best goaltenders go head-to-head. I like the fact that Hellebuyck and Vasilevskiy are both very distinct in the way they play. And young goalkeepers can learn a lot by watching them. Hellebuyck is a master of positioning and game feel. He is very cerebral and anticipates the game as well as any NHL goaltender. Hellebuyck’s puck tracking has been incredible this season. He kept his hands and upper body active – which tells me he worked on it in the offseason. It’s exactly what you expect from an NHL goaltender. Constant reflection and improvement.

Vasilevskiy was scheduled to start Wednesday for the Lightning against Minnesota, but was unable to play due to illness. For me, Vasilevskiy is the master of controlled aggression. He can accelerate as well as anyone, but he does it in a way that uses his whole body. Vasilevskiy can play long – using his legs to reach pucks that others can’t. But he’s rarely caught out of position because he’s so good at using his edges to stop sideways momentum. The Russian goaltender is 8-2-0 with a .946 save percentage in his last 10 games.

What fantasy owners should do:

Both Hellebuyck and Vasilevskiy are locks to start every game for fantasy owners. They were two of the top performers in each category.

Conclusion for Andrei Vasilevskiy:

Sometimes coming out of an illness makes the game easier. It’s important for Vasilevskiy to relax and not overdo it.

Conclusion for Connor Hellebuyck:

Tampa is a dynamic team on the rush and on the power play. Hellebuyck will need quick feet to set up early.

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