As there is at any position, there will be some debate about the choices made at the goaltending position for the All-Star Game.
Neither of the NHL’s two shutout leaders, Corey Crawford and Jake Allen, were chosen for the Central Division team. Crawford is currently third in wins, while the now-injured Allen has the best save percentage and goals-against average among Western Conference goalies with at least 15 starts.
After a stellar October in which Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price posted a 2.01 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage, would it have seemed right that Price would miss the All-Star Game?
Injuries will factor into the choices. But remember that an injury or two could mean that one or more of the snubs could make an All-Star appearance after all.
Like those picking the All-Star rosters, fantasy owners also have some tough choices to make. Let’s help you make those choices for the week.
Tuukka Rask, BOS (@NYR, @PHI, @BUF, vs. TOR)
Yes, it will be Tuukka Time this week for fantasy owners. The Boston Bruins receive a beneficial four-game schedule, which includes three games against non-playoff teams with offences in the bottom-third of the league.
Even though three of these games are on the road, Rask has a 1.85 goals-against average and .940 save percentage away from TD Garden. With the final two games of the week back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday, Jonas Gustavsson would be an ideal spot start for a game against one of the two bottom Atlantic Division teams.
Roberto Luongo, FLA (@VAN, @CGY, @TB)
Luongo and the Florida Panthers play three road games this week. But that shouldn’t matter, because the Panthers can win anywhere these days, with Luongo having won nine consecutive games on the team's win streak.
This week, Luongo and the red-hot Panthers have the luxury of facing three bottom-half offences, including a return visit to Rogers Arena to face the Vancouver Canucks. Speaking of the Canucks, Luongo’s current 2.06 goals-against average and .931 save percentage are better than his ratios in any one of his eight seasons in Vancouver. Would that make Luongo a legitimate Vezina Trophy candidate at the season’s midpoint?
Karri Ramo, CGY (vs. SJ, vs. FLA, @EDM)
Ramo’s overall numbers (2.52 GAA, .914 SV%) aren’t great. But the numbers you want to concentrate on are his recent ones. So why has he started each of the Calgary Flames’ last 11 games? Because he has a 1.77 goals-against average with a .937 save percentage over that stretch, which also includes seven wins.
Just one month ago, Ramo had a 3.06 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage, so you can’t be blamed if you stay away. But now he’s on a roll, so don’t be afraid to start him.
Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen, DAL (@ANA, @SJ)
The Dallas Stars’ two-goalie arrangement has generally worked all season, as the team currently sits on top of the Western Conference. But this arrangement won’t work for fantasy owners this week, since both Niemi and Lehtonen are only projected to make one start each this week.
Normally, there is a chance that a goalie could start both his games for the week, but in the Stars’ case the two games are back-to-backs. A win is possible for the Stars in either game, but a Stars’ goalie might not be your best option if you need to commit for the entire week and don’t happen to own both goalies.
Craig Anderson, OTT (@ANA, @LA)
The Ottawa Senators also play just two games on the road in California this week. But the games aren’t back-to-backs, which makes it more likely that Anderson starts both.
But there is a looming possibility of only one start, as he and Andrew Hammond have been alternating starts recently. Anderson also has a dreadful 3.24 goals-against average and .908 save percentage on the road this season, so you might be better off looking elsewhere for a goalie this week anyway.
Pekka Rinne, NSH (@CHI, @WPG, vs. MIN)
In a year when goaltending numbers have been better than ever, Rinne has disappointed. He holds an ordinary (by today’s standards) 2.48 goals-against average to go with a mediocre .906 save percentage.
If you’re hoping for a turnaround, you may have to wait another week. All of the Nashville Predators’ matchups are against top-half offences this week. To complicate matters, two of the three games are on the road, where the Preds are 7-9-4 this season. Sit him if you have the option of using another top-flight goalie.
Be sure you know who is starting in net tonight by visiting Goalie Post for the latest updates.