In the Crease is back for the 2016-17 season. This column will provide you with everything you need to know about goaltending and who to start and sit in the upcoming week. I’ll give you some Great options, Good options and Goalies to avoid every week.
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Week of February 6-12
Carey Price-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Tue @ COL, Thu @ ARZ, Sat vs. STL, Sun @ BOS
Price’s numbers have come down quite a bit since early December, but he seems to have found his groove again over the last few games. He’s turned in some solid performances against Philadelphia, Buffalo and Calgary and he should be ready to roll next week too. The Canadiens will play four games next week, and I’d expect Price to be between the pipes for three of them. Don’t be surprised if he gets dates with the slumping Avs, Coyotes and Blues. Fantasy owners have to be thrilled with his upside next week.
Pekka Rinne-Nashville Predators
Schedule: Tue vs. VAN, Thu @ NYR, Sat vs. FLA, Sun vs. DAL
Rinne and the Preds got off to a rocky start in 2016-17, but that’s changed of late. He’s coming off a 31-save shutout of the Edmonton Oilers and he’s rattled off four wins in his last five decisions. With three home games on the horizon next week, don’t be surprised if Rinne ends up being a fantasy stud. He’ll enter the week with 2.34 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage this season.
Devan Dubnyk-Minnesota Wild
Schedule: Tue @ WPG, Wed vs. CHI, Fri vs. TB, Sun vs. DET
Dubnyk is coming off an ugly loss to the Calgary Flames that saw him give up five goals on 36 shots. Fantasy owners shouldn’t worry about his last defeat. Prior to the loss, Dubnyk had won four games in a row. Don’t be surprised if he starts three of next week’s four games. The Wild will enter the week with a road game in Winnipeg before starting their eight-game homestand.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Tue vs. CAR, Thu vs. DET, Sat vs. ANA
The Capitals are the hottest team in the league and Holtby is one of the biggest reasons for their success. He’ll enter the weekend having won each of his last 10 decisions. Holtby hasn’t suffered a loss in regulation in the new year (his last one came on Dec. 27) and with three home games on the horizon, he might be able to extend that streak even longer. Holtby has a 25-8-4 record with a 1.99 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage in 2016-17.
Sergei Bobrovsky-Columbus Blue Jackets
Schedule: Tue @ DET, Thu vs. VAN, Sat vs. DET
Bobrovsky has been stellar this year and he’s one of the top two favorites to land the Vezina Trophy at this point. He’ll likely get two cracks at the Detroit Red Wings (one at home and one on the road) with a home date against the Canucks sandwiched in between. Expect him to continue providing fantasy owners with some great production over the next week.
Matt Murray-Pittsburgh Penguins
Schedule: Tue vs. CGY, Thu @ COL, Sat @ ARZ
Murray enters the weekend with just two losses in his last eight outings. He came up with a big win in Friday’s game against Columbus and it looks like he’ll continue to put up solid numbers in the second half of the season. Murray has a 19-6-1 record with a 2.42 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage this season. The Pens will play two of their three games on the road, but the games away from home will be against the two worst teams in the Western Conference.
Henrik Lundqvist-New York Rangers
Schedule: Tue vs. ANA, Thu vs. NSH, Sat vs. COL
The Rangers have three home games on the schedule next week, which is usually seen as a good thing. But believe it or not, Lundqvist’s numbers are better at home than they are on the road. At MSG, he has a 3.13 goals-against-average and an 891 save percentage. Despite the poor stats at home, I wouldn’t bet against Lundqvist having a good week. He’s coming off a strong performance in a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres and he should be able to build off that.
Schedule: Mon @ NJ, Tue vs. SJ, Thu vs. ANA, Sat @ TOR, Sun vs. VAN
The Sabres have a long way to go if they want to make the playoffs, but their increased scoring combined with their five-game week makes both Lehner and backup goalie Anders Nilsson interesting. I’d avoid Nilsson if he starts games on the road, but when he’s between the pipes at home, he’s a strong play. I refuse to put the Sabres goalies in the “great” category because they’re too inconsistent.
Avoid these Netminders
Cam Talbot-Edmonton Oilers
Schedule: Sat vs. CHI
Sometimes players make the “avoid” list because of their string of rough performances, but sometimes it’s also because of light schedules. After Sunday’s game in Montreal, the Oilers will head off on their five-day bye before returning to take on the Blackhawks on Saturday night. He has a 26-14-7 record with a 2.38 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage this season.
Calvin Pickard-Colorado Avalanche
Schedule: Tue vs. MTL, Thu vs. PIT, Sat @ NYR, Sun @ NYI
The Avalanche are on pace to have one of the worse seasons in recent memory. They can’t score goals, they can’t keep the puck out of their own net and they certainly can’t win games. Keeping that in mind, it’s impossible to trust any of their players, including their starting goaltender, in any type of fantasy league. They’ll have two home dates against two of the better teams in the league (Montreal and Pittsburgh) before traveling to New York to face the Rangers and Islanders. He has no fantasy upside.
Cory Schneider-New Jersey Devils
Schedule: Mon vs. BUF, Sun vs. SJ
The Sabres will play a game on Monday, go on their five-day bye and then take on Sharks at home. I don’t like either of those matchups for New Jersey, as Buffalo has been playing better of late, while the Sharks continue to be one of the best teams in the league. As for Schneider, he’s won two of his last three decisions, but he’s given up three goals in each of those games. He has a 15-15-7 record with a 2.72 goals-against-average and a .910 save percentage this season. Better days may be ahead for him, but it probably won’t be next week.
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