An 11am MT start to a hockey game today has really pressed up the starting goalie nod post, most of which will likely be unconfirmed, just educated, yet often questionable, guesses.
Let's not forget about last night as well, as Mike's team was the 9th to qualify for Week Four, still leaving up seven teams looking for wins, either today or tomorrow. It already appears that Kristy & Don have been eliminated, barring a miracle of injury proportions in Colorado, as their last possible start will go to the back-up tonight. We'll have to check on the other six teams and that's what we'll hopefully do before the clock ticks over to game time.
The early game, which is forcing the hand of this post, does have some value in the survivor pool, as the Sabres will send Anders Nilsson to the crease today, giving Ryan his first chance of the day for a win and a move onto next week. He will get the tough task of playing Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers, who have been winning plenty of games for Cam to start the season. It won't be easy, but it isn't impossible either.
Ryan's second chance will be one of the early evening games, a 5pm MT start, with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the swamp to take on the New Jersey Devils. Ryan's other goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, has been given the green light for the Bolts to play tonight, taking on Stuart's number one goalie, Cory Schneider. Another very difficult game, so a win in either one, should be very satisfying.
In the first late game, it could very well be a head-to-head battle for a spot in Week Four, although it is still unconfirmed this early in the day, but it could be Braden Holtby versus Jacob Markstrom tonight, when the Washington Capitals take on the Vancouver Canucks in the 8pm MT Hockey Night In Canada broadcast. This will be a fight between Jeremy and Clayton for the spot, with the visitors taking the favourite designation, as they are rocking the best goalie in the hockey pool over the last couple of years.
In the late, late game, the last game of the night, the Nashville Predators are in San Jose to take on the Sharks and Stacey M. will likely, yet unconfirmed, have Pekka Rinne in for the visitors, taking on the confirmed starter for the Sharks, Martin Jones. This is likely Stacey's last chance at a win this week, as the Rangers will play tomorrow, but they are not on back-to-back nights, which means her back-up will be doing his regular job. Jones will go for Wes tonight, who is still looking to get some traction in the standings.
Looks like there is a chance that Tuukka Rask can play tonight, as the Bruins visit the Red Wings. Rask would be a great help to Troy, if he could play and play well, but Jimmy Howard has played well for the Wings and he's the confirmed starter at home, giving our pool leader, Benson, a good shot at another win.
It will be Frederik Andersen against Carey Price in Montreal tonight, the headlining game on Hockey Night in Canada at 5pm MT. Brian hasn't had much luck with Andersen yet, while Benson gets a second start tonight, thanks to Price, as his team's stock continues to climb.
Cam's team versus Brenda & Seward's team in the Battle of Pennsylvania tonight... Marc-Andre Fleury is scheduled to go again for the Penguins, riding a hot streak, and he'll likely face Steve Mason at the other side, as the state rivals renew acquaintances. Brenda & Seward really need a win or it's to the basement with them this week.
An unconfirmed match-up, from both sides, but very likely we'd assume, as Kari Lehtonen should get the call for the Dallas Stars, taking on Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild tonight. Lehtonen won his last start, which is usually good for the call in the next game, giving Dale C. a start, while Dubnyk will continue to roll on John's team, which is vying for Mover & Shaker this week.
Considering how early it is, this is the last of the fully unconfirmed games for tonight and it is between the Kings and the Blues in St. Louis. Peter Budaj has been rolling for the Kings, which is a shock to most, as he started the year as the number three guy and unaccounted for in the pool, while Jake Allen should get the nod tonight, helping to pad Mike's numbers for the week.
We know that Calvin Pickard will be given the nod tonight for the Colorado Avalanche, giving Derek B. a rare start from the Avalanche tonight and keeping the start away from Kristy & Don. At the other side, it should Louis Domingue, who will offer Wes up a second start on the night, trying to fight his way out from below.