Is it time to panic yet? Yeah, it could very well be, since we are now sitting on the cusp of the end of the week, one of the biggest days on the weekly schedule and we still have six teams still in need of qualification into Week Three. Sure we lost six teams in Week One, but these first 19 teams are true survivors, right? They want to make it to next week! It's their purpose in this pool... you know, besides the big money at the end of the season.
Who is in need of wins, you ask? Brenda & Seward, Brian, Ryan, Scott, Tony and Wes. Those are your six... let's see if they are going to get any help today, especially since there are only limited amounts of chances on Sunday.
We'll start working our way down the list of teams in need of wins to start, since that's the theme of this post. Brenda & Seward will get a start out of Steve Mason, with the Philadelphia Flyers playing host to the Carolina Hurricanes, a team they can't be taking lightly. The Hurricanes will counter with Eddie Lack, Stacey C.'s goalie, who may have earned himself the number one job in these first couple of weeks of the season.
That's bad news for Brian, also in need of a win, as Cam Ward will be the on-looker from the bench tonight. Tony's only possible goalie to play was Michal Neuvirth, which makes all four goalies in this game a story, but anything can happen, right? You know, if you're one of those people that wish injuries upon some players... shame on you!
More injury problems for the Los Angeles Kings in their net, as Jeff Zatkoff left the ice at the morning skate with an undisclosed injury, leaving the starters net to Peter Budaj tonight, getting the 4-0-0 Vancouver Canucks. At the other end, Jacob Markstrom gets the call for the Canucks, likely leaving Ryan Miller to the Ducks on Sunday and pushing Brenda & Seward's chances of a win in the survivor pool to the last day, if needed.
Brian should be getting the start from the Maple Leafs tonight, as they go into the United Center to take on the Blackhawks tonight. Frederik Andersen was seen warming up in the starter's net at the morning skate, which is usually a strong sign, more often than not. The Blackhawks are going to be on back-to-back nights, so we are expecting to see Scott Darling in net for Chicago, which immediate gives Scott a start and makes this game a headliner in the mini-game! Oh boy!
For Scott, that's his only chance tonight for a win, as he is still waiting for his real number one goalie to come back from injury.
Ryan will get his wish for a start tonight, his only one, when the Tampa Bay Lightning head to Ottawa to take on the Senators. Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the nod for the Bolts on a scheduled start, which is great news for Ryan's team, as his other goalie has not seen a sniff of ice as the back-up in Buffalo. It'll be a stiff test for the Russian keeper, as Craig Anderson will be at the other end for the Senators, giving Wilton another start, trying to get his season on track from the 23rd spot in the standings.
In the last of the meaningful survivor pool games, the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings will go at the Joe tonight, a 6pm MT start, and it will be Martin Jones getting the call for Wes, trying to keep him in the race, taking on Jimmy Howard, who is trying to keep Benson at the top of the standings for the week. Wes has had a couple cracks at a win already this week, but is now getting desperate, while Benson was eliminated in Week One, but still getting the last laugh, opening tonight's schedule in 1st place.
The match-up is set in Boston, as it will be Carey Price, another start for Benson, taking on Anton Khudobin, a non-pool goalie, in a key Eastern Conference clash tonight. It sounds like something is wrong with Tuukka Rask and Zane McIntyre has been called up for the back-up role tonight for the Bruins, we're trying to figure that out and will probably have something on the blog tomorrow morning for it.
A battle of two teams going in the right direction in Florida tonight, with the Avalanche and Panthers going head-to-head. Two already-qualified teams will see their keepers go, as Semyon Varlamov goes for Kristy & Don, while Roberto Luongo goes for Cam tonight. These two teams are only separated by 3 points in the standings, Cam's being the better of the two in 5th place this afternoon.
It's a superstar goalie match-up in Washington, DC tonight, with the New York Rangers in town to face the Capitals. Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby are your headliners tonight, both already having offered Grant and Jeremy wins to stay in the pool this week. Grant's team sits in 3rd place, 2 points out, while Jeremy's is a little further back and in need of a quick boost tonight.
Likely to the chagrin of Brian Elliott, a Derek B. goalie, he won't get the call to face his former club tonight, as his play hasn't exactly been stellar to start the season for the Flames and Calgary was in need of a big win tonight. Instead, Chad Johnson will get the call in net, facing Jake Allen, the Blues' number one goalie. In terms of the hockey pool, this will be a John versus Mike outing, 13th versus 8th, only separated by 1 point in the standings. This game could make for some movement, eh?
We knew early on, Cory Schneider would be making yet another start for the New Jersey Devils, really taking the ball and running with it in the swamp, giving Stuart another start this week. It took a little while, but it was confirmed early on in the afternoon that he would match-up against Devan Dubnyk, giving John another start and what I believe is a big game in the side bet community. Both teams are already moving on to next week, so there isn't any intrigue in that fashion here.
The Dallas Stars confirmed nice and early that it will be Kari Lehtonen in their net again tonight, getting the start over Antti Niemi for the third straight game. Lehtonen, Dale C.'s 4th round pick has been chosen over Wilton's 1st round pick in the early days of the Dallas season, which is a bit concerning for someone. The Blue Jackets played the night before in Chicago and trying not to spread their number one too thin, they send Curtis McElhinney to the net for his first start of the season, a non-pool goalie.
The Nashville Predators are back home tonight after playing on Friday night in Detroit, which means that it is back-to-back nights and Marek Mazanec should be getting his first start of the season here too, trying not to stretch their number one too far either. At the other end, it was confirmed that Marc-Andre Fleury will be making another start, giving Cam another 60 minutes in the Penguins' crease, something that might be coming to a quick end here soon, with Matt Murray on the mend.