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In The Crease

Luongo's the Play

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. 


Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_ HK or @joeyalfieri on Twitter.


Great Options 


Roberto Luongo-Florida Panthers


Schedule: Tue vs. COL, Fri vs. BOS, Sat vs. WSH


The Panthers gave Luongo the night off in Saturday’s game against Dallas, which means he will enter his next start on five days of rest.


The 36-year-old hasn’t won a game since Oct. 15 against Buffalo. All three of Florida’s games are at home this week and as of Tuesday morning, only one of the three teams they’re facing (Washington) is over .500.


If Luongo has solid performances against Colorado and Boston, head coach Gerard Gallant may opt to start him in the second game of a back-to-back situation on Saturday.


Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals


Schedule: Wed vs. PIT, Fri vs. CBJ, Sat @ FLA


The Capitals gave Holtby his first night off in their last game against Edmonton. That gives him five days between starts.


The Penguins will be a formidable foe for the Capitals, but Washington has the better goalie and they’re off to a better start to the season.


Following the game against the Penguins, Holtby will get a start at home against a struggling Columbus team.


It’ll be interesting to see if the Caps’ staff decides to give Holtby another night off on Saturday or if they’ll let Holtby play two games in two nights. If history is any indicator, Washington should let their starting goaltender face the Panthers, as he has a 7-0-1 record against them in his career.


Play Holtby with confidence this week.


Jaroslav Halak-New York Islanders


Schedule: Thu vs. CAR, Sat @ NJ, Sun vs. BUF


Halak missed the first four games of the regular season because of an upper-body injury, but he’s been solid in his return to the lineup.


The 30-year-old’s four starts have been very different. He’s posted two shutouts in his last three games, which is excellent of course. On the flip side, he’s allowed seven goals in his two other outings.


Looking at New York’s schedule this week, Halak will have at least two dream matchups.


Coming off a shutout of Calgary, the Islanders will give him a shot to face the lowly Hurricanes on Thursday.

With backup Thomas Greiss playing so well, New York could opt to give both their goaltenders some work over the weekend, but considering Halak has only played in four games this year, he could start both games against New Jersey and Buffalo.


Corey Crawford-Chicago Blackhawks


Schedule: Thu @ WPG, Fri @ MIN, Mon vs. LAK


I had Crawford in this category last week and he certainly didn’t disappoint. The 30-year-old finished the week with a 3-0-0 record with a 0.67 goals-against-average and a .974 save percentage, while posting two shutouts.


Although his schedule isn’t ideal this week, his play has been too good to ignore.


Crawford will see at least two starts this week, and with his team having Tuesday and Wednesday off, the ‘Hawks could opt to give him the start in all three games.


After losing two of his first three games, he’s now won four games in a row. Crawford has a 5-2-0 record with a 1.57 goals-against-average and a .943 save percentage this season.


He does struggle with consistency, but keep riding him while he’s hot.

Good Options


Carey Price-Montreal Canadiens


Schedule: Tue @ VAN, Thu @ EDM, Fri @ CGY, Sun vs. WPG


This is as low as you’ll find Carey Price on any of my lists. Some might be surprised I don’t have him under “Great Options” again this week, but I’m not in love with Montreal’s upcoming schedule.


Price has a perfect 7-0-0 record with a 1.29 goals-against-average and a .961 save percentage this season. He’s coming off a 49-save performance in Saturday’s win over Toronto, but those who watched the game may have noticed that he didn’t appear to be as comfortable in his crease (I may be nitpicking a little bit).


The 28-year-old will be playing in his home province on Tuesday night, but it’ll be a difficult matchup for the Canadiens on the West Coast. I expect Price to get the start in Edmonton on Thursday, but he’s struggled against the Oilers in his career (1-5-1 record, 3.71 GAA, .857 SV). Montreal will probably give Price a day off in Calgary on Friday, before he gets set for a tough matchup against the Jets on Sunday.


Start Price if you have him in your fantasy league, but people playing in One Day Leagues should think about finding a goaltender with better matchups this week.


Tuukka Rask-Boston Bruins


Schedule: Tue vs. ARZ, Fri @ FLA, Sat @ TB


Rask has struggled throughout his first five starts of the season, but his upcoming schedule gives me reason to believe he can turn things around this week.


The Bruins goalie hasn’t played since last Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Flyers (he gave up five goals on 37 shots), but he will be facing an Arizona team playing in a back-to-back situation (the Coyotes played in Toronto on Monday).


Rask’s only win of the season came in Arizona last week. If he plays well against them on Tuesday, I’d expect coach Claude Julien to start him in Friday’s tilt against Florida, which is a more favorable matchup than Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay.


Expect Rask to get two starts this week and backup Jonas Gustavsson to get one.


Jonathan Quick-Los Angeles Kings


Schedule: Tue @ WPG, Sat vs. NSH, Mon @ CHI


Jonathan Quick has won each of his last four starts, and has allowed just four goals in those games.


He got off to a rocky start, but his fantasy owners will be relieved to see him put those early-season struggles behind him.


Quick and the Kings have plenty of time to rest between games this week, but none of their three games will be “easy”.


Winnipeg and Chicago are difficult places to play and a Los Angeles’ lone home date of the week is against Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators.


Like Carey Price, Quick is a must-start because of his elite status, but his schedule could face Daily Fantasy players to go in a different direction this week.


Chad Johnson-Buffalo Sabres


Schedule: Tue @ PHI, Thu @ PIT, Fri vs. PHI, Sun @ NYI


I know Johnson might not be a popular pick, but a fantasy GM with a hole in nets could opt to pick up Buffalo’s starting goaltender this week.


There’s some good and some bad with Buffalo’s schedule this week.


The positive is that they have four games between Tuesday and Monday. Buffalo will see Philadelphia twice, Pittsburgh once and Johnson’s former team, the Islanders, once. The problem is that they will play three of those four games on the road.


The Sabres gave 22-year-old rookie Linus Ullmark a start on Saturday, but he failed to stand out. Buffalo has already said that they won’t acquire a goaltender from outside the organization while Robin Lehner is out, so Johnson appears to be the guy.


His numbers might not stand out, but those who’ve seen him play this season know that he’s kept the Sabres alive in most of his starts. If the Sabres give Ullmark one start, Johnson could realistically come up with two wins this week.


Avoid these Netminders


Devan Dubnyk-Minnesota Wild


Schedule: Tue vs. EDM, Fri vs. CHI, Sat @ STL


Dubnyk has been good, but not great this season. He has a 5-2-0 record with a 2.27 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage in 2015-16.


Not only does Dubnyk have a tough schedule this week, but he’s also dealing with a right knee injury. The Wild tried giving their starting goaltender a night off on Sunday, but they were forced to pull backup Darcy Kuemper after he allowed four goals on 18 shots against Winnipeg.


I expect Dubnyk to get the start against Edmonton on Tuesday and one of the two games against Chicago or St. Louis. The final two games of the week will both be difficult matchups for Minnesota’s goaltenders.


Joni Ortio-Calgary Flames


Schedule: Wed @ OTT, Fri vs. MTL, Sat vs. EDM


After struggling out of the gate, the Calgary Flames have already made changes in their crease. They opted to send Karri Ramo to the minors and they gave Joni Ortio a shot in Monday’s game against the Islanders.


Ortio didn’t look out of place in Monday’s 4-0 loss, but the Flames continue to struggle in front of their goaltenders.


As of Tuesday, Calgary has just two wins and they have scored just one goal in their last two games.


Ortio might be the long-term answer between the pipes, but as of right now, the Flames still have to prove they can win games.


They will take on the Senators in Ottawa, and although the Sens have struggled at home, there’s no guarantee Calgary will turn to Ortio again. Even if Calgary gives him a start in one of their two games against Montreal or Edmonton, those are two tough matchups that they won’t have an easy time winning.


Keep an eye on the Flames’ goaltending situation, but I think you should avoid them this week.


Jonathan Bernier-Toronto Maple Leafs


Schedule: Fri @ NYR, Sat vs. PIT, Mon vs. DAL


The Leafs played a good game against the undefeated Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, but unfortunately, they couldn’t get a timely save from Bernier.


James Reimer got an opportunity at home against Arizona on Monday and he came up short as well (he allowed four goals on 24 shots).


Bernier will probably get two starts this week, while Reimer may see action in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh. If that’s the case, Bernier will have his hands full at Madison Square Garden against New York and at home against a potent Stars offense on Monday.


Not all of Toronto’s issues are in goal, but neither Bernier nor Reimer has shown any type of consistency. This will be a situation to avoid all season.


Frederik Andersen-Anaheim Ducks


Schedule: Tue @ DAL, Thu @ STL, Sun vs. NSH


Andersen is in a unique situation. He still hasn’t won a game this season, but his goals-against-average and save percentage are excellent (1.71 GAA and .940 SV).


The 26-year-old had another solid performance on Monday night, but the Ducks were unable to find the back of the net in a 1-0 loss in Chicago.


The reason I’m not comfortable starting Andersen has more to do with what’s going in front of him than it does with his performances.


The Ducks have been shut out five times already and have only scored six goals this season.


Anaheim will face three stiff tests this week, and now they will have to play their second game in two nights on Tuesday.


I can’t trust Andersen to get wins if his team isn’t scoring goals. I’d stay away from him in all fantasy formats this week.