The most significant recent news on the Canadian goaltending front came Sunday night, when the Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford left in the first period of a game versus the Florida Panthers after sustaining an injury while kicking out his right leg for a pad save. Carey Price continues to build a bulletproof case as the starter, except in the mind of Martin Brodeur, who endorsed Roberto Luongo as the go-to guy. If Price and Luongo seem like locks right now, the race for No. 3 has never been more open.
1) Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens: The Habs stopper hasn’t allowed three goals in a game since Nov. 7. He’s won seven straight contests and is playing the best hockey of his career.
2) Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks: After getting bombed by his old coach Alain Vigneault’s New York Rangers squad on Nov. 30, ‘Bobby Lou’ ripped off three consecutive wins, highlighted by a 37-save performance against the Phoenix Coyotes Friday night.
3) Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild: The guy just won’t go away, as witnessed by his 37-save performance in a 3-1 defeat of the powerhouse San Jose Sharks on Sunday. If his save percentage is still hovering around .940 in early January, things are going to get really interesting.
4) Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks: Hawks coach Joel Quenneville sounded optimistic that Crawford’s unspecified injury wasn’t serious, but he can’t be overly happy with the eight goals on a combined 41 shots his starter gave up in back-to-back L’s last week.
5) Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes: Fourteen Canadian puckstoppers have a better save percentage this year than Smith’s .911 mark. He needs to heat up right now.
6) Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins: Fleury won a pair of games last week and narrowly lost a third to the Boston Bruins, but you get the sense he’ll have to be on an out-of-his-mind run when they pick the team to get serious consideration.
7) Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes: Ward hasn’t done much to distinguish himself one way or the other, and his 1-1-0 record last week was no exception. If anything, his calm manner would be a good fit for a third goalie.
8) Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals: He was yanked in a loss to the Hurricanes and hasn’t put together a long enough run of strong play to gain any significant traction in the debate.