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.
Editor's Note: This is your chance to try FanDuel risk free! Sign up today and if you lose your first contest, you’ll be refunded the entry fee up to $10. Play now.
Corey Crawford-Chicago Blackhawks
Schedule: Tue @ NSH, Thu @ TB, Fri @ FLA, Sun vs. STL
Crawford’s found himself in this section of my column for quite a while, and how could anyone argue with that?
The Hawks enter the week having won 11 straight games. Crawford’s been in goal for eight of those contests. He was especially impressive in back-to-back games against his hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens.
Fantasy owners can expect Crawford to start three of his team’s next four games. With four games this week and three games in four nights on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, it’ll be hard for the Blackhawks to keep the winning streak going. But if Crawford can continue playing the way he’s been playing, it wouldn’t surprise anybody if the Hawks just kept on rolling.
The 31-year-old has a 26-10-2 record with a 2.17 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage in 2015-16.
You won’t find a better fantasy option this week.
Petr Mrazek-Detroit Red Wings
Schedule: Wed vs. STL, Fri @ BUF, Sat vs. ANA, Mon @ NYI
Mrazek has quietly put together a solid campaign this season. His consistency has led the Wings to make him their starting goaltender over Jimmy Howard.
The 23-year-old has a 5-0-1 record in his last six contests with his only loss coming against the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout. He’s allowed two goals or less in five of those six games.
Mrazek has a 16-8-4 record with a 2.10 goals-against-average and a .931 save percentage this season. He’s played in 11 of the Wings’ last 12 games.
The Blues are a tough match-up for Mrazek and his team, but they’re dealing with plethora of injuries. Games in Buffalo and at home against Anaheim are very winnable although he’ll probably only get one of those games. He should face the Islanders before the start of the All-Star break.
Jonathan Quick-Los Angeles Kings
Schedule: Tue vs. DAL, Thu vs. MIN, Sat @ ARZ, Sun @ SJ
Quick had a third period to forget against Ottawa on Saturday, but he bounced back with a 30-save performance in a win against the Ducks on Sunday.
The 29-year-old is 8-1-1 in his last 10 contests, and he’s given up just 17 goals during that span.
Games against the Stars and Wild won’t be easy, but both those teams have seen better days this season. He’ll likely get a rest against Arizona or San Jose. He has a 16-7-2 record in his career against Dallas and a 10-5-3 record against the Wild. Interestingly enough, he’s had a harder time beating Arizona (17-5-3) than any other team he may face this week.
Quick has a 25-10-2 record with a 2.10 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage this season.
He’s one of the top fantasy options in all fantasy formats going into the All-Star break.
Henrik Lundqvist-New York Rangers
Schedule: Tue vs. VAN, Fri @ CAR, Sun @ OTT, Mon vs. BUF
The Rangers have dropped off since their hot start to the regular season, but Lundqvist’s last outing against Philadelphia was very encouraging for his fantasy stock.
King Henrik is 2-1-0 in his last three starts, and he’s allowed two goals or less in each of those contests.
He’ll likely be in goal for dates against Vancouver and Carolina on Tuesday and Friday with head coach Alain Vigneault likely give Antti Raanta a start in Ottawa on Sunday. Lundqvist should get the final start before the All-Star break against Buffalo on Monday.
The 33-year-old has a 20-12-4 record with a 2.46 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage this season.
If the Rangers were playing a little better, Lundqvist would be higher up on this list.
Ben Bishop-Tampa Bay Lightning
Schedule: Tue vs. EDM, Thu vs. CHI, Sat @ FLA
Bishop is the main reason the Lightning have been able to overcome a slow start. They now find themselves in the playoffs and it’s mostly thanks to their giant goaltender.
The 29-year-old enters the week having won three in a row while allowing just three goals during that span.
He’ll have a tough matchup against the Blackhawks on Thursday, but that game will be at Amalie Arena, and it’s sandwiched between two very good matchups against the Oilers (who’ll be playing their second game in two nights) and a Florida team that’s cooled off considerably.
Bishop has an 18-13-3 record with a 1.97 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage this season.
The Lightning look poised to make a big second half run, and their goaltending is a big reason for that.
Cory Schneider-New Jersey Devils
Schedule: Tue vs. CGY, Thu vs. OTT, Sat @ WPG
Schneider’s a big reason why the Devils are in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but the results haven’t been there lately.
The 29-year-old has just two wins in his last six games. It’s hard to blame him for the Devils’ lack of winning, especially when he’s given up more than two goals just once in his last eight outings.
This is the week I see him and his team getting back on track. Home dates against the Flames and Senators should be considered plus matchups, and although it’s never easy to win in Winnipeg, they aren’t playing their best hockey either.
He has a 19-14-5 record with a 2.03 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage this season.
Schneider’s on pace to play almost 70 games this season, and he’ll continue to a worthy fantasy option down the stretch.
New Jersey will need him to stand on his head in the second half of the season if they want to make the playoffs.
Avoid these Netminders
Cam Talbot-Edmonton Oilers
Schedule: Tue @ TB, Thu @ DAL, Sat vs. NSH
Talbot is unlikely to play in Tuesday’s game against the Lightning because he played (and beat) Florida on Monday night.
The 28-year-old has improved significantly since the beginning of the season, and the Oilers showed just how much they valued him by giving him a new contract extension.
Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, his fantasy value will be limited this week.
Saturday’s matchup against Nashville is winnable, but going into Dallas on Thursday will be a chore.
Talbot will have up and down weeks in the second half of the year because of the inconsistent play of his team.
Consider yourself warned. Don’t use him this week.
Roberto Luongo-Florida Panthers
Schedule: Fri vs. CHI, Sat vs. TB
After winning nine games in a row between Dec. 15 and Jan. 7, Luongo has hit a bump in the road.
The 36-year-old enters the week having lost each of his last three games (0-2-1). Backup Al Montoya got the start against Edmonton which means that Luongo should be fresh for Friday’s game against Chicago. Unfortunately for him and the Panthers, the Hawks are on quite a roll.
This week’s schedule doesn’t play in Luongo’s favor either. Like I mentioned above, he’ll start against the Hawks, but it would be surprising to see him play against Tampa on Saturday.
The Panthers are having a great season and Luongo is a big reason why, but stay away from his until the All-Star break.
He has 19-13-4 record with a 2.17 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage.
Mike Condon-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Tue vs. BOS, Sat @ TOR, Mon @ CBJ
The Montreal Canadiens have been atrocious since Dec. 1, and in fairness to Condon, it’s not all his fault.
After going through a difficult stretch, Condon has been a lot better between the pipes for the Habs. Unfortunately, that hasn’t led to more wins for the Canadiens.
Montreal has just four wins in their last 20 contests. You read that correctly, four!
Condon gave up four goals in an OT loss in St. Louis, but it was the first time in four games that he’d allowed more than two goals.
The Canadiens’ schedule isn’t too bad this week as they’ll take on division rivals Boston and Toronto before playing Columbus on Monday.
No matter what their schedule looks like, fantasy owners can’t count on their goaltenders to produce victories until further notice.