The once hotly contested competition for Canada’s crease is coming to an end.
Despite highly impressive play from Marc-Andre Fleury and Josh Harding over the course of the season, Carey Price, Roberto Luongo and Mike Smith remain the heavy favourites to lock down the three available goaltending jobs on Canada’s roster for Sochi.
Jonathan Bernier, James Reimer and Corey Crawford have been strong in stints, but have they done enough to remain in contention? Unlikely.
Every Monday we’ll rank Canada’s Sochi goaltending options based on how they’ve played recently. Will Steve Yzerman go with the stalwarts—or will someone ride a hot glove hand all the way to Russia? As of today, here’s how it’s shaking out:
1. Carey Price, Canadiens: The Habs netminder is the runaway favourite to start for Canada in Sochi. He has continued his stellar play with four wins in his past five starts and has a save percentage of .932 over that span.
2. Roberto Luongo, Canucks: Luongo is expected to miss another week with a suspected groin injury but that won’t hurt his chances of landing on the Canadian roster. He has allowed just 12 goals in his last eight games.
3. Mike Smith, Coyotes: Smith may not have the numbers of some below him on the list but he remains the expected choice for the No. 3 job. The Kingston, Ont., native has just one victory in his last six contests, but has a goals-against average of 2.16 and save percentage of .933 during that stretch.
4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins: Fleury is the hottest of the Canadian goalies, but still appears to be on the outside looking in. The league-leader in wins has accumulated victories in six of his last seven appearances.
5. Josh Harding, Wild: Outside of a rare clunker against the Islanders on Sunday, Harding has done enough to earn strong consideration for an Olympic job. The Wild netminder ranks in the top five in goals-against average (first) and save percentage (fifth).
6. Corey Crawford, Blackhawks: Before he was sidelined with a lower-body injury, Crawford was making a strong push for one of the three available jobs. He’s expected to return to the Blackhawks next week, but it won’t be enough for him to gain the ground he lost during his injury.
7. Jonathan Bernier, Maple Leafs: Bernier is starting to pull away from James Reimer and establish himself as the bonafide No. 1 goalie in Toronto. Outside of letting in a few ugly goals his play has been impressive lately with a 1.81 goals-against average and .948 save percentage over the last 14 days (five games).
8. Brian Elliott, Blues: It is Elliot’s first appearance on the list as the Newmarket, Ont., native has excelled for the Blues over the past two weeks. He has wins in five of his last six contests and has only allowed 12 goals so far in December.
9. Steve Mason, Flyers: How strong has Mason’s play been lately? He has not registered a loss since Dec. 11 and has won his past four starts. Pretty impressive to see any Flyers goalie put up those kind of numbers.
10. Cam Ward, Hurricanes: The curse of Brian Burke? Ward has only one victory in the month of December and has three goals or more in nine of his last 10 starts.