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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Carey Price-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Wed @ NYR, Fri @ NJ, Sat vs. NJ
Price returned to the Canadiens lineup last Friday after missing nine games because of a lower-body injury. The 28-year-old has been solid since his return, as he won both his games against the Islanders on Friday and Sunday.
He will make at least two starts this week with Mike Condon possible getting one of the back-to-back games against New Jersey on Friday or Saturday.
Montreal won’t have to travel much between road games on Wednesday and Friday, but the Rangers and Devils are both playing well. Price could realistically come away with two wins this week.
Price has a 9-2-0 record with a 2.10 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage this season.
Henrik Lundqvist-New York Rangers
Schedule: Wed vs. MTL, Fri @ BOS, Sat vs. PHI, Mon vs. CAR
Despite a reduced schedule for more teams because of American Thanksgiving, the Rangers are still very busy with four games in six days.
King Henrik will probably get a rest on Friday in Boston or Saturday in Philadelphia and he’ll likely get a plus-matchup against the ‘Canes on Monday.
Lundqvist should reward his fantasy owners with at least two wins over the next seven days.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Wed vs. WPG, Fri vs. TB, Sat @ TOR
The Capitals have given Holtby plenty of rest in the last couple of weeks.
The 26-year-old has watched two of his team’s last five games from the bench and that should make him relatively fresh for his games this week.
Holtby will likely get the start in Wednesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, who will be without starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
He’ll probably start one of two games against Tampa on Friday or Toronto on Saturday.
Fantasy owners would prefer if he’d start against the Leafs and not against the Lightning, but Holtby has the ability to steal a game against any team in the NHL.
Devan Dubnyk-Minnesota Wild
Schedule: Wednesday vs. VAN, Friday vs. WPG, Sat vs. DAL
Will that continue with back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday? That remains to be seen, but home dates against the Canucks and Jets should have fantasy owners salivating.
Saturday’s matchup against a high-powered Stars offense will be a tough test, but in the NHL you just never know.
Dubnyk dropped three in a row before blanking a struggling Predators team on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old has an 11-5-2 record with a 2.49 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage this season.
Starting him is a great idea this week.
Marc-Andre Fleury-Pittsburgh Penguins
Schedule: Wed vs. STL, Fri @ CBJ, Sat vs. EDM
The Penguins’ play has been somewhat disappointing this season, but the same can’t be said for their goaltender.
Fleury hasn’t played both games of a back-to-back this season, so expect Jeff Zatkoff to get a start in Friday’s game at Columbus or Saturday’s home game against Edmonton.
The schedule isn’t too easy for Pittsburgh, as the Blues will be a tough matchup for them. The Jackets always seem to give the Penguins a hard time and the Oilers are no easy task either.
The Pens goalie enters the week with a 10-7-0 record and a 2.19 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage this season.
Cam Ward-Carolina Hurricanes
Schedule: Wed vs. EDM, Fri @ BUF, Mon @ NYR
The Carolina Hurricanes don’t have a very good roster, but this is a week of solid matchups for them and their goaltender.
With Eddie Lack getting the start in Philadelphia on Monday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘Canes give Ward all three games this week.
Monday’s matchup against the Rangers in New York won’t be easy, but a home game against Edmonton and a road game in Buffalo are certainly winnable.
Ward enters the week with 6-6-3 record to go along with a 2.44 goals-against-average and a .902 save percentage.
Fantasy points are far from a sure thing with Ward, but he’ll be a high-risk, high-reward play this week.
Semyon Varlamov-Colorado Avalanche
Schedule: Wed vs. OTT, Sat vs. WPG, Mon @ NYI
When healthy, Varlamov has been brutal this season.
The Avs got some solid goaltending from Reto Berra for a while, but even he started to fade as he had to play more often with Varlamov on the shelf.
Varlamov made his return to the lineup on Monday and looked good in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
Patrick Roy (sort of) called out his goaltender before the game, and said that he wants his number one goaltender to step up his play.
With a good amount of rest, I think Varlamov will emerge as from his early-season slumber with a good week of action.
He has a 4-6-1 record with a 3.05 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage this season.
Jake Allen-St. Louis Blues
Schedule: Wed @ PIT, Sat vs. CBJ
Allen has emerged as the go-to guy for the Blues this season.
After a shaky playoff performance last spring, he’s used the summer to bounce back in a big way.
The 25-year-old is 3-0-1 in his last four starts and allowed more than two goals just once during that span.
I like the matchups for Allen this week. A matchup in Pittsburgh is never easy, but the Penguins have been hit or miss this season. We’ll see how Pittsburgh responds to St. Louis’ physical style of play.
The Blue Jackets have gotten some positive results under John Tortorella but beating the Blues at home isn’t an easy task.
I think Allen gets both starts this week and I’m feeling pretty good about his chances of winning both games.
Avoid these Netminders
Jonathan Quick-Los Angeles Kings
Schedule: Wed @ TB, Sat vs. CHI
Quick got the start on Monday after being pulled in Sunday’s loss to Carolina.
He recorded six straight wins between Oct. 16 and Oct. 31, but is just 3-4-0 in his last seven starts.
The Kings’ schedule won’t do Quick any favors either. Los Angeles has two tough matchups against a Tampa Bay team that is getting healthier (they could get Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Drouin and Cedric Paquette back for this game) and we all know how intense games between the ‘Hawks and Kings can get.
Quick doesn’t have a slam dunk win on the schedule. That’s not to say he won’t come away with a win, but this week’s matchups won’t be a walk in the park.
Frederik Andersen-Anaheim Ducks
Schedule: Wed @ ARZ, Fri vs. CHI, Mon vs. VAN
It’s not Andersen’s fault he’s on this list, but Anaheim’s underwhelming performances throughout the season have landed him here.
The 26-year-old has just one win over his last five starts (1-3-2) and he’s given up three goals or more in four of his last five.
All three of Anaheim’s opponents are over .500 coming into this week and the Coyotes are the only team currently out of the playoff picture (they’re three points back of a Wild Card spot with a game in hand).
I like Andersen as a goaltender, but I can’t trust him if the Ducks don’t improve in front of him.
Leave him on the bench if you can.
Cory Schneider-New Jersey Devils
Schedule: Wed vs. CBJ, Fri vs. MTL, Sat @ MTL
Schneider’s inclusion in this part of the list has nothing to do with his play this season, but has everything to do with New Jersey’s schedule.
The Devils are making their way back home after a three-game Western Canadian road trip that concluded with a win in Vancouver on Sunday night.
Typically, a team’s first game back home from a road trip doesn’t go well. The Blue Jackets may have blown a two-goal lead in the third period of Sunday’s game against the Sharks, but they’re a much better team than they were in October.
Schneider will probably get one night off in a home-and-home series against one of the best teams in the NHL.
The 29-year-old enters the week with a solid 10-5-1 record and a 2.05 goals-against-average and a .928 save percentage.
This may not be a popular decision, but my gut’s telling me to avoid Schneider this week.
Craig Anderson-Ottawa Senators
Schedule: Tue @ DAL, Wed @ COL, Sat @ ARZ
Anderson has posted back-to-back shutouts coming into this week, but I’m not buying his stock this week.
He’ll get a matchup against a tough Dallas team and it’s unclear if the Senators will turn to him again in a back-to-back situation. He did play in two games in two nights earlier this season (Oct. 14 vs. CBJ, Oct. 15 vs. PIT). The Sens won the first game in Columbus but lost to the Penguins the next night.
With backup Andrew Hammond on the shelf, maybe they do give Anderson those two games.
Even if he does start all three games, the matchups (all outside the Eastern time zone) won’t be easy. The Avs have been bad this year, but they have Semyon Varlamov back (he played well in Monday’s win over the Jets), and a game against the Coyotes is no walk in the park.