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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Tuukka Rask-Boston Bruins
Schedule: Tue vs. STL, Sat vs. BUF, Sun @ OTT
Rask has made a significant improvement since his early season struggles.
The Bruins are one of the rare teams playing three games this week. Expect Rask to be between the pipes for all but one of those games.
The 28-year-old is a perfect 5-0 in his last five starts (against Pittsburgh (twice), Florida, Montreal and Vancouver). What’s even more impressive is that he hasn’t dropped a game in regulation since Nov. 17.
The Blues won’t be an easy out on Tuesday, but Rask does have limited success against them in his career (6 GP, 2-0-3, 1.76 GAA, .938 SV).
Corey Crawford-Chicago Blackhawks
Schedule: Tue @ DAL, Sun vs. CAR
There aren’t many goalies who have been better than Crawford during the month of December.
Not only has the 30-year-old won seven of his last eight games, but he has just two regulation losses dating back to Dec. 1.
Tuesday’s matchup against the Stars won’t be a walk in the park, but Crawford and the ‘Hawks seem to be rolling at the right time.
Sunday’s matchup against the ‘Canes is definitely more favorable. Crawford has a 5-2-0 record with a 2.12 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage in his career against Carolina.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Sat vs. MTL, Mon @ BUF
The Christmas break may not have come at a better time for the Holtby. He struggled in the first period of Sunday’s game against the Rangers, and coach Barry Trotz even admitted that he thought about pulling his starter (but didn’t).
Holtby got the night off in Monday’s game against Carolina, which means that he’ll get six days off before making his next start. Holtby dominated the Canadiens earlier this month. Montreal has been struggling in December and they provide Holtby with a juicy matchup.
He’s also done well in his career against Buffalo, as he has a 5-2-1 record against the Sabres.
The 26-year-old is 12-0-1 in his last 13 games and hasn’t lost in regulation since Nov. 10.
Jake Allen-St. Louis Blues
Schedule: Tue @ BOS, Sat vs. DAL, Sun @ DAL
The Blues have a particular schedule. Jake Allen played Monday in Philadelphia and he’ll get the start again on Tuesday.
Allen will likely get the first start back from the Christmas break and it’s unclear if he’ll get the second of back-to-back starts on Sunday against Dallas.
The 25-year-old has four wins in his last six games and has a 1.84 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage during that span.
He has a 15-8-2 record with a 2.14 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage.
Henrik Lundqvist-New York Rangers
Schedule: Tue vs. ANA, Mon @ NSH
Lundqvist was pulled after allowing five goals in a loss to the Capitals on Sunday, but he has an interesting paid of matchups this week.
King Henrik will get the Ducks after they played on Monday night and he’ll face a Predators’ team that tends to struggle with scoring goals.
The 33-year-old has dropped three straight decisions, but the Christmas break should do him some good.
He has a 15-9-3 record with a 2.43 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage this season.
Cory Schneider-New Jersey Devils
Schedule: Tue @ DET, Sat vs. CAR
Schneider’s been busy in 2015. After playing 69 games last season, the 29-year-old is currently on pace to play 68 games in 2015-16.
The 29-year-old has just one win in his last four starts, but he’s been solid throughout the season. He’s a big reason why the Devils are still in the playoff hunt.
Schneider gets a tough matchup in Detroit on Tuesday night and a great matchup after the Christmas break at home against the Hurricanes.
He has a 14-9-5 record with a 2.11 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage this season.
Avoid these Netminders
Joonas Korpisalo-Columbus Blue Jackets
Schedule: Sat @ TB, Sun @ FLA
Not many expected the 21-year-old to get a shot in the NHL this season, but an injury to Sergei Bobrovsky has forced him into duty. Korpisalo picked up his first career win against the Flyers on Saturday night (he turned aside 30 of 32 shots).
He hasn’t looked out of place in the NHL either. He’s given up two goals in two of his three appearances and has seen action of three of Columbus’ last four games.
I like what the rookie has shown during his brief stint with the Jackets, but his upcoming schedule makes him a goalie to avoid over the next week.
He’ll like see action in one of the two games against the Florida teams.
Schedule: Tue @ MIN, Sat @ WSH, Mon @ TB
The Canadiens’ duo finds their way back in the “Avoid” section for the second consecutive week.
Both goaltenders haven’t played well of late and what’s even more concerning is that the defensemen in front of them look even worse.
Neither one of these two goaltenders have cemented themselves as the number one goalie while Carey Price has been out, so the Canadiens will probably go with the “hot hand”.
The Habs are 2-8-0 in December and they have three tough matchups against Minnesota, Washington and Tampa Bay.
Schedule: Tue @ TB, Sat vs. EDM, Mon vs. LAK
The Canucks haven’t been very good of late and the upcoming schedule isn’t doing them any favors.
Miller is day-to-day because of an injury he suffered in the shootout against the Panthers on Sunday night, so that opens the door for Markstrom.
The Lightning aren’t having a great season, but they seem to have found their scoring touch. The Oilers have been on a run of late and the Kings are well ahead in the battle of the Pacific division.
Markstrom has a 1-3-3 record with a .276 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage this season.
Avoid the Canucks’ crease if you can.