Analyzing Alex Nedeljkovic's Third Consecutive Start with the Penguins

With Alex Nedeljkovic taking the ice over Tristan Jarry for the third consecutive game, Penguins fans are full of questions.
Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens
Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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In an intriguing move, the Pittsburgh Penguins have once again chosen Alex Nedeljkovic as their guardian of the goal for the third consecutive game tonight in Ottawa.

This has sparked a wave of speculation among fans and analysts alike. As noted by Josh Getzoff of SportsNet Pittsburgh, Nedeljkovic is set to defend the net tonight in Ottawa against the Senators.

The decision to prefer Nedeljkovic over Tristan Jarry has raised eyebrows, including mine. However, it's crucial to revisit some key aspects regarding Jarry's performance and to compare critical stats of both goaltenders this season.

In this article, we'll explore the rationale behind the Penguins' choice of Nedeljkovic and ponder the potential implications for the team as the season progresses.

Why Start Nedeljkovic Over Jarry Consecutively?

The choice to start Nedeljkovic over Jarry for the third consecutive game isn't as spontaneous as it might seem.

This strategic move by the Penguins could trace back to a key moment in a media conference on December 21st, where head coach Mike Sullivan provided some critical insights. Sullivan openly recognized the strong performances of both goaltenders, suggesting an underlying confidence in the depth of the team's goaltending roster.

Delving deeper, Sullivan's acknowledgment might have been more than just a routine commendation. It could have been a strategic signal, hinting at the team's willingness to leverage its goaltending resources more flexibly.

This approach, focusing on utilizing both goalies' strengths, could be a calculated move to ensure long-term stamina and readiness, especially considering the physical demands of the season and the potential risk of injuries.

By alternating between Nedeljkovic and Jarry, Sullivan and the Penguins' coaching staff are not just making a decision for the present game. They are possibly setting a precedent for a dynamic goaltending strategy that could benefit the team as the season progresses.

This foresight, aligning with Sullivan's comments, suggests a deeper tactical plan at play - one that recognizes the importance of adaptability and depth in the highly competitive landscape of the NHL.

Alex Nedeljkovic
Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Both Nedeljkovic and Jarry boast save percentages above .900, closely matching each other's performance - a 'good problem' for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Recall the preseason, when many fans expressed concerns about the team's goaltending. Now, we're looking at two competent netminders who are each holding their own.

So, is there cause for concern with Nedeljkovic starting his third game in a row instead of Jarry? I'd argue no. It seems many have overlooked the ongoing discussion about Jarry that has been a focal point during past off-seasons and losses.

Remember, Jarry's injury history in Pittsburgh has been a notable concern. With both goalies performing admirably, the Penguins can afford to distribute the workload, allowing Nedeljkovic to step up without overburdening Jarry.

As for the Penguins, they have their share of issues to address, but goaltending isn’t one of them. Concerns about Jarry not starting should be tempered by these considerations. After all, regardless of who's in the net, keeping the score low and securing wins is what truly matters for Penguins fans.

That, above all, is the goal.