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In The Crease

Stay Away from Lu

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 


Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals

Schedule: Tue vs. LAK, Thu @ NYI, Sat vs. NJ, Mon vs. ARZ


If you’re fed up of seeing Holtby’s name in the “great” category, I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do about it.


The Capitals goalie has been nothing short of dominant in 2015-16, and that should continue over the next seven days.


Holtby will have a challenging matchup against the Kings, but he’ll have the advantage of facing them at home.


The Capitals will also take on the Islanders, Devils and Coyotes, which are all winnable games.


Don’t be surprised to see backup Philipp Grubauer at some point this week.


If you’re a Holtby owner, you probably know he’s a must-start, but I’ll keep reminding you anyway.


Ben Bishop-Tampa Bay Lighting

Schedule: Tue vs. SJ, Thu vs. WPG, Sat @ PIT, Sun @ CAR


Bishop has just one win in his last three games, but overall his body of work this season has been more than satisfactory.


The Lightning have an interesting schedule from a fantasy perspective.


They’ll open the week with two home dates against the San Jose and Jets on Tuesday and Thursday before heading on the road for two games in Pittsburgh and Carolina.


The 29-year-old has a 22-16-3 record with a 2.09 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage this season.


If everything goes according to plan, look for Bishop to get three starts this week with he and Andrei Vasilevskiy splitting games on the weekend.


Tuukka Rask-Boston Bruins

Schedule: Tue @ CBJ, Thu @ NSH, Sat @ DAL, Mon vs. CBJ


Rask isn’t at his best right now, but he has one of the better schedules for the upcoming week.


He was given the day off on Saturday and he was pulled in Sunday’s loss to Detroit, so he should be well-rested ahead of Tuesday’s game in Columbus.


The 28-year-old enters this week with a 20-16-5 record with a 2.64 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage this season.


Rask will probably start on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, but don’t be surprised if the Bruins give him a rest on Monday.

Good Options


Cory Schneider-New Jersey Devils

Schedule: Tue vs. PHI, Fri vs. NYI, Sat @ WSH


It looks like Schneider’s going to be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2015-16, but this week, he’s more of a “good” option than a “great” one.


It has nothing to do with Schneider’s performance on the ice, but it’s more because of the circumstances surrounding the Devils.


They’ll play a winnable game against the Flyers on Tuesday night followed by a difficult back-to-back situation against the Islanders and Capitals on the weekend.


The 29-year-old doesn’t usually play in back-to-back games, and the odds of him doing so may be even less likely after backup goalie Keith Kinkaid shut out the Kings on Sunday.


The Devils could maximize his fantasy value by starting him against the Islanders and resting him against Washington.



Henrik Lundqvist-New York Rangers

Schedule: Wed vs. CHI, Thu @ TOR, Sun vs. DET


Lundqvist is in the zone right now.


He gone through an underwhelming stretch in November and December, but he’s definitely turned his game around recently.


Lundqvist’s won each of his five last starts and he’s allowed two goals or less in each of those games.


He would have picked up a shutout against the Flyers on Sunday night, but Philadelphia scored with less than 10 seconds remaining (6-on-4).


King Henrik has a 28-14-4 record with a 2.29 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage in 2015-16.

Unfortunately for him, New York’s schedule doesn’t maximize his fantasy value.


Head coach Alain Vigneault has already stated that he plans on using backup Antti Raanta in upcoming back-to-back situations. That means that Lundqvist probably won’t suit up in Toronto on Thursday.


He’ll have tough matchups against Chicago and Detroit, but with the way he’s playing, he’ll be hard to beat.



Martin Jones-San Jose Sharks

Schedule: Tue @ TB, Thu @ FLA, Fri @ CAR, Mon @ STL


His schedule isn’t great, but that doesn’t change the fact that Jones should be a solid fantasy option this week.


All four of San Jose’s games will be played on the road. Three of their four opponents currently own a playoff spot and the other (Carolina) won’t be an easy out.


Jones has been solid throughout the season, but the same can’t be said for the goalies behind him.


The Sharks may be in the market for a backup goalie between now and the deadline.


Fortunately for Jones’ fantasy owners, they may just ride him until they can find a suitable number two option behind him.


The 26-year-old has a 26-15-3 record with a 2.34 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage.


Avoid these Netminders


Roberto Luongo-Florida Panthers

Schedule: Thu vs. SJ, Sat vs. WPG


Luongo is coming off an ugly weekend. Not only was he pulled in Friday night’s loss to St. Louis after allowing three goals on 20 shots in the first period, but he also gave up five goals to Nashville the following night.


The Panthers opted to go with Al Montoya in Monday’s game against the Penguins, which means Luongo will probably start on Thursday and Saturday.


The 36-year-old has a 24-14-5 record with a 2.29 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage in 44 games in 2015-16.


He’s put together a nice year, but he may just be struggling through the dog days of the season.


Luongo’s long-term fantasy upside (for this season) should be fine overall. Just try to avoid using him this week.


Update: Luongo left Tuesday’s practice early because he took a puck to the head. His status is unknown.



Pekka Rinne-Nashville Predators

Schedule: Thu vs. BOS, Sat vs. LAK, Mon @ MTL


For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), Rinne was healthy and on the bench for back-to-back games.


After Carter Hutton put up a shutout against the Panthers on Saturday night, the coaching staff opted to give him a second straight start against Dallas on Monday.


Hutton didn’t play poorly, but the Predators lost a 3-2 decision in overtime.


That result should lead to Rinne going back into the Preds' crease for Thursday’s game against Boston.


Whether he returns or not is irrelevant from a fantasy perspective.

The 33-year-old has been awful over the last few weeks and although I still believe he’ll turn things around, I don’t think it’ll be this week.


The only time I’d recommend starting Rinne is on Monday night when he takes on the Canadiens.


Maybe these two games off will do him some good, but I’d prefer to take a wait-and-see approach with him.


Whoever is in net for the Canadiens

Schedule: Wed @ COL, Fri vs. PHI, Mon vs. NSH


The Montreal Canadiens look like a team that’s quit.


Goaltenders Ben Scrivens and Mike Condon aren’t the only ones to blame for this debacle, but they’re certainly not without fault.


The team has allowed 12 goals in their last two games.


What’s even more concerning? They played Buffalo and Arizona-two of the worst teams in the NHL.


Montreal’s defensive zone coverage is one of the worst I’ve ever seen in all my years of watching hockey.


I don’t expect them to win many games down the stretch. You’ve been warned.


Stay away.