McKenna Match of the Day: March 25 – Pyotr Kochetkov vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy
Former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna gives his Daily face-to-face Start of the goalkeeper match of the day for Tuesday. March 28, 2023:
Why I love this game:
Kochetkov and Vasilevskiy represent the latest wave of Russian goaltenders to take the NHL by storm. And they share many similarities in the way they play.
To monitor :
Kochetkov is an interesting case. In the 2022 calendar year, he looked like a world beater in net for Carolina. But 2023 hasn’t been so kind to the 23-year-old keeper. In five of his last eight games, Kochetkov has posted a save percentage below 90% and allowed 26 goals. His 2-5-1 record over that stretch is troubling given the strength of the Hurricanes. Kochetkov had a tough schedule of opponents, but he won his last game against Toronto on March 25: a 41-save effort at home. I like his combat and his balance. Kochetkov has an old school touch to him. But he needs to get back to an early form.
Vasilevskiy followed a similar trajectory to Kochetkov. Good sometimes. Worrying about others. While the Tampa Bay team ahead of him hasn’t been great defensively, Vasilevskiy has still lost three straight, including one against the lowly Canadiens a week ago. I tend to think that Vasilevskiy performs better with more action, but that hasn’t always been true this season. On nights when the Lightning goaltender sees less than 25 shots, I think he struggles to find a rhythm.
What fantasy owners should do:
Kochetkov is making me nervous right now, even though he’s playing behind a talented Carolina team. Against Tampa Bay, he carries some risk. Vasilevskiy should be good against Carolina: a team that shoots a lot, but not always of great quality. Launch « The Fat Cat ».
Conclusion for Piotr Kochetkov:
Besides having played — and he could still factor into this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs — Kochetkov is still on track to be full-time for the Hurricanes next season. And beyond.
Conclusion for Andrei Vasilevskiy:
The Lighting may need him more than ever for this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.