Goalie nods: Bernier gets second straight start for Leafs; Montoya replaces Pavelec for Jets
I’ve never done this goalie nods thing before. Usually that’s up to Halford, but he’s busy talking fashion on Twitter. So what do I do? Just say who’s playing the position of goalie tonight in the NHL? I can do that.
Let’s start with the Penguins-Leafs game. For Pittsburgh, it’ll be Marc-Andre Fleury, who goes back in net after Jeff Zatkoff got the job done Saturday in Detroit. For Toronto, it’ll be Jonathan Bernier, who was in goal for the Leafs’ 7-3 victory over Chicago on Saturday. Maybe James Reimer will get the nod tomorrow versus Florida. His last outing was a rough one, getting pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots versus the Blues. Though to be fair to Reimer, his teammates were “brain-dead.”
Moving on to Winnipeg-Columbus, in which it’ll be Al Montoya for the Jets and Mike McKenna for the Jackets. Montoya gets the start over Ondrej Pavelec, who’s struggled in December after a solid November. Pavelec is signed through 2016-17 for a cap hit of $3.9 million. Not the greatest contract on the Jets’ books, given the 26-year-old’s career save percentage is just .907.
Next up, the Blues versus the Senators. For St. Louis, Brian Elliott. For Ottawa, Robin Lehner. Goaltending has been a weakness for both these teams this season; however, it’s especially hurt the Sens, who surrender an average of 34.1 shots per game, compared to the Blues at just 25.5. You know what they say -- the best goalie is controlling the puck at the other end of the ice. (Not sure they actually say that, but they should.)
Finally, it’ll be Kari Lehtonen for the Stars versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs. About a month ago, we called Lehtonen the most under-rated goalie in the NHL. At the time, his save percentage was .932. Since then, it’s fallen to .919. Sorry about the jinx, Kari.