AP NEWS

WBS PENGUINS: Goalie Jarry Excited For Playoffs

April 19, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — Since 2015, goaltender Tristan Jarry has made 94 regular-season starts in net for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His playoff workload, however, has been the complete opposite. In 2015-16, he started 33 games as a rookie before Casey DeSmith overtook him as the No. 1 netminder right before the postseason began. A year ago, the 22-year-old was an all-star and helped the Penguins to the AHL’s best record, but missed the team’s first-round series as he backed up Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh. Total number of postseason appearances? Three, only one of which was a full start. The former second-round pick could change that in 2018, as he and the Penguins continue to prepare to face the Charlotte Checkers in the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Since returning from the parent club about one month ago, the 22-year-old has posted a record of 3-3-2, but is coming off his best start of the season last Friday in Springfield in which he allowed only two goals on 30 shots against Springfield. He is hoping to carry that momentum into the upcoming series and beyond. “It’s exciting to be able to finally play in a playoff series,” Jarry said Tuesday at the Toyota SportsPlex. “It’ll be fun. I think it’s something that I’ve waited for for a long time.” Jarry made one start against Charlotte this season, allowing four goals in a 5-2 loss in the season opener. His only extensive postseason playing experience came in major juniors with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2014. He appeared in 21 games and helped the WHL squad claim the Memorial Cup title. Perhaps just as important was the learning experience Jarry had last year, as he was able to watch the daily habits of two Stanley Cup winners in Fleury and Matt Murray. It helped him this season when Pittsburgh lost Antti Niemi on waivers and turned to the British Columbia native to help get them through the winter months. He won 14 games and proved he can win at the next level. He’s taking the same approach now with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. “The whole team, it’s just about playing our game and making sure we’re sticking to our system,” he said. “I don’t think anything really changes for me. I just want to get better and better every day, and I think that’s been my mindset all year.” Jarry has been the latest goaltender to take the reins on the Penguins’ carousel in the crease this season. Trades, injuries and call-ups have put him and Anthony Peters in the spotlight at multiple points this season, while veteran Michael Leighton has won five of six games in a backup role. All have proven they can win when called upon, so Jarry will need to maintain his highest level of play if he wants to keep the No. 1 spot. Penguins coach Clark Donatelli is confident Jarry can lead the team based on his development the last three years and, particularly, the last few months. “He’s done it all year,” Donatelli said. “He’s done it here, (Pittsburgh), wherever he is. “We all know things can change. But, we’re going to take it one game at a time, and we’re very comfortable with Tristan in the net.” The huge advantage to having three goaltenders playing so well is they all have been able to get extra rest as healthy scratches during the Penguins’ recent string of three-game weekends. Jarry has only made eight starts since his return March 20, while Leighton and Peters have combined for six. That could prove very important in what is expected to be a tightly contested opening series and any later rounds, should the Penguins accomplish their first goal and advance. “I think it’s something that has helped this year,” Jarry said. “I think it’s helped being able to get your rest when they give it to you, and it’s something that gets you prepared and you’re able to go in fresh.” Contact the writer: tpiccotti@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2089; @CVPiccotti on Twitter