In the Crease is back for the 2018-19 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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Monday Oct. 22- Sunday Oct. 28
Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators: After Rinne’s questionable performance in last year’s playoffs, many questioned whether or not he could still be the go-to guy for the Preds. Through four starts, he looks as comfortable as ever. The veteran owns a 3-1 record with a 1.75 goals-against-average and a .943 save percentage. He’s allowed two goals or fewer in three of those contests.
Semyon Varlamov – Colorado Avalanche: Varlamov is coming off back-to-back losses, but neither one of those came in regulation (one in regulation, one in shootout). The Avs won’t have it easy next week, but they’ll get to play four games with two coming at home. They’ll take on the Flyers in Philly, the Lightning at home, the Senators at home and the Wild in Minnesota.
John Gibson- Anaheim Ducks: Gibson has probably been the best goalie in the NHL since the start of the 2018-19 season. He has a 4-1-1 record with a 1.89 goals-against-average and a .948 save percentage. He’s allowed more than two goals in just one of his six starts this season. The Ducks have road games in Chicago and Dallas before they host the Sharks at home next Sunday.
Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg Jets: Hellebuyck’s start to the season has been fine, but more was expected of him and his team. He should be able to get it back on the rails in the near future, so why not next week? The Jets will play home games against the Blues and Maple Leafs, and they’ll play road contests against the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Hellebuyck should see three starts.
Keith Kinkaid- New Jersey Devils: Heading into Friday night’s action, Kinkaid was the NHL leader in victories. Not bad for a guy that wouldn’t be starting if Cory Schneider was healthy. The problem with Kinkaid is that he only has two home dates on the schedule next week and one of them is against Nashville (the other is against Florida). He remains a solid option.
Andrei Vasilevskiy- Tampa Bay Lightning: Vasilevskiy and the bolts will begin their five-game Western Conference road trip this weekend. Next week, they’ll get road dates with Colorado, Vegas and Arizona. The reason he’s a good option, not a great one, is because he’ll likely only make two starts.
Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens: The expectations for Price and the Canadiens were low heading into the season, but they’ve been one of the bigger surprises in the league. Price missed a couple of starts because of the flu, but he was able to bounce back by beating the Blues. The Habs will play three games against Calgary, in Buffalo and in Boston. With at least one day between each game, don’t be surprised if he starts all three.
Craig Anderson – Ottawa Senators: Like Montreal, the Senators have also been a pleasant surprise so far this season. With all the offseason drama that occurred, the Sens were expected to be a mess. That hasn’t happened. Anderson has won back-to-back games over the Kings and Stars and he’s given up just one goal in each of those contests. The Sens will play Boston, Colorado and Vegas next week.
Jake Allen – St. Louis Blues: Allen and the Blues have been a disaster of late. Not only has Allen been bad, but his defensemen haven’t been much better. The Blues get a road game against the Jets before they go back home to take Columbus and Chicago. It’s impossible to trust him right now.
Cam Talbot – Edmonton Oilers: The good news, is that the Oilers have four games on their schedule. Two of them are at home. But the problem is the strength of the opponents they’ll be facing. They will start off by playing Pittsburgh and Washington at home, and they’ll finish with road games in Nashville and Chicago on the weekend. That’s as tough a schedule as you’ll see next week.
James Reimer – Florida Panthers: With Roberto Luongo sidelined by an injury, the Panthers have been forced to turn to Reimer. Things haven’t gone well so far, as he’s still searching for his first win. Reimer was pulled during Friday night’s shootout win over the Washington Capitals. The Panthers will play road games against the Rangers, Islanders and Devils next week.