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In The Crease

A Fleury of Saves

by Joey Alfieri
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

In The Crease returns to its roots as the column will provide you with everything you need to know about goaltending and who to start in the upcoming week. I'll focus on Great Options, Good Options and Goalies to avoid. 


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Great Options 



Marc-Andre Fleury-Pittsburgh Penguins


Schedule: Tue @ CAR, Fri @ TB, Sun vs. CAR, Mon @ STL


Since returning from a concussion on Jan. 2, Fleury has compiled a 2-1-1 record, and he’s allowed three goals or more just once in those four games.  


Fleury has a nice schedule over the next seven days. The Penguins will play three of their next four games on the road, but they heavy schedule means that Fleury will likely see three starts.


He’ll have a date with Carolina and Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Friday, and either another game against Carolina or a matchup with a banged up Blues team.


The 31-year-old has a 15-11-3 record with a 2.24 goals-against-average and a .928 save percentage in 2015-16.


Corey Crawford-Chicago Blackhawks


Schedule: Tue vs. NSH, Thu @ MTL, Fri @ TOR, Sun vs. MTL


Crawford enters the week with a five-game winning streak under his belt. The 31-year-old has a home date with the Predators before playing a struggling Canadiens team twice and the Maple Leafs once.


In four games this year, Crawford has allowed more than two goals just once (three vs. Colorado on Sunday).


Crawford is currently on pace to play more than 60 games for the first time in his NHL career and the heavy workload seems to be agreeing with him.


He has 23-10-2 record with a 2.21 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage in ’15-16.


If he stays healthy, he should be one of the top fantasy goaltenders in the second half of the season.


Semyon Varlamov-Colorado Avalanche


Schedule: Tue vs. TB, Thu vs. NJ, Sat @ CBJ, Mon @ WPG


Despite a 6-3 loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday, things have been going relatively well for the Avalanche.


They’re still not in a playoff spot, but they’re tied with Nashville for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but the Preds have a game in hand.


Varlamov is a big reason for Colorado’s success. He has a 9-3-2 record in his last 14 decisions and he’s allowed two goals or less in eight of those games.


The 27-year-old has a tough matchup on home ice against the Lightning on Tuesday, but he also has New Jersey, Columbus and Winnipeg on the docket.


His fantasy owners should expect him to make three starts this week. Anything more is considered a bonus.


Varlamov has a 15-11-3 record with a 2.77 goals-against-average and a .910 save percentage in 30 games.  


Good Options


Brian Elliott-St. Louis Blues


Schedule: Tue vs. NJ, Thu vs. CAR, Sat vs. MTL, Mon vs. PIT


The Blues won’t be thrilled about the injury to starter Jake Allen, but Elliott has proved that he can be a solid option.


Allen, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury against Anaheim last week, will be out week-to-week which means that Elliott is a perfect waiver wire addition.


Elliott has been an average performer this season, but he’s 1-0-1 (with three goals allowed) in two appearances since the Allen injury.


His fantasy stock also gets a boost because the Blues have four games this week, and each one of those is at home.


Games against the Devils, Hurricanes and Canadiens are all winnable, while Monday’s game against a surging Penguins team will be tougher.


Elliott has a 6-4-4 record with a 2.33 goals-against-average and a .919 save percentage.


Roberto Luongo-Florida Panthers


Schedule: Wed @ CGY, Sun @ TB, Mon vs. EDM


Luongo’s nine-game winning streak was snapped in Monday’s loss to the Canucks, but that doesn’t take away from the run he’s been on.


The 36-year-old hasn’t suffered a loss in regulation since Dec. 12.


The reason he’s in the “Good” not “Great” section of this article is because he’s likely to see just two starts this week.


Luongo has a 19-11-4 record with a 2.08 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage in ’15-16.


His stock is at an all-time high and although he’ll continue to be a solid fantasy option, his fantasy owners can’t expect the same type of results the rest of the way.


Petr Mrazek-Detroit Red Wings


Schedule: Thu @ ARZ, Sun vs. PHI


Mrazek got the night off in Monday’s game against the Kings which means he’ll be fresh for Thursday’s tilt in Arizona.


The Red Wings started the year by using both Mrazek and Jimmy Howard, but recently they’ve given Mrazek the majority of the starts (and for good reason).


The 23-year-old will enter Thursday’s game on a four-game winning streak because of wins over Buffalo, New Jersey, San Jose and Anaheim.


Mrazek will only see a maximum of two starts this week, but if his recent run is any indication, he should be a solid fantasy play in the next seven days.


He has a 15-8-3 record with a 2.16 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage this season.


Avoid these Netminders


John Gibson-Anaheim Ducks


Schedule: Wed vs. OTT, Fri vs. DAL, Sun vs. LAK


Gibson has brought consistency to the Ducks’ crease in the last few weeks, but a pair of tough matchups against division rivals Dallas and Los Angeles will make him tough to start.


The 22-year-old has won five of his last seven decisions, and he’s three goals or more in five of those games.


With one day between each game, Gibson could see action in all three of Anaheim’s games this week.


Gibson could provide one-day fantasy players with some solid value on Wednesday night, but he should be avoided the rest of the week.


He has a 9-6-2 record with a 1.84 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage in ’15-16.


Pekka Rinne-Nashville Predators


Schedule: Tue @ CHI, Thu @ WPG, Sat vs. MIN


Rinne had a dominant season last year, but 2015-16 hasn’t been as kind to him.


The 33-year-old has been a shell of his former self, and he enters the week having lost three of his last four contests.


How bad has been in those three losses?


Rinne allowed five goals in a loss to Dallas, three goals (on 17 shots) against Winnipeg and four goals to Colorado.


The Predators don’t have an easy schedule this week as they’ll have to play in two hostile rinks in Chicago and Winnipeg before going home to take on the Wild.


Rinne has a 16-13-6 record with a 2.48 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage this season.


He should be able to find his game eventually, but his fantasy owners may want to avoid using him until then.


Mike Condon/Ben Scrivens-Montreal Canadiens


Schedule: Thu vs. CHI, Sat @ STL, Sun @ CHI


Condon and Scrivens may not have numbers that stand out, but they can’t be the only ones blamed for the Canadiens’ recent struggles.


The team is hardly scoring, and their play in their own end has regressed significantly.


Their upcoming schedule does them no favors as they’ll take on two difficult Western Conference opponents in St. Louis and Chicago.


Montreal fans did get some good news on Tuesday, when the team revealed that Carey Price had been skating. He won’t be back before the All-Star break at the end of the month though.


The Canadiens’ goaltending situation is one to avoid until Price returns.


Condon has a 12-10-3 record with a 2.35 goals-against-average and a .910 save percentage this season.