Not a bad Thursday night schedule, eight games on the docket tonight and there is some good news coming down the pipe, as a small number of goalies are coming off the injured list to play again tonight, which is definitely good news for some, not so much for others.
Both Stacey M. and Jeremy are in need of survival wins and they'll each get a shot at one tonight, as they try to keep pace with Wes and Troy, who have already qualified this week.
Troy also has a pretty good handle on the Mover & Shaker this week, already up to 19 points through Wednesday night. Dale C. has 17 points, while Ryan, Steve, Jesse and Tony all have 16 points and the chase is on.
In the basement, Chelsea's team continues to spin their wheels at the bottom with only 4 points, but Scott and Eric are at 6 points and John P. is at 7 points, so no one down there is exactly safe at the moment.
Darcy Kuemper (N/A) versus Carter Hutton (Wes)
The Buffalo Sabres will go with their number one guy for the first time in a few games, as Carter Hutton sat out a couple games and backed up in his return to the lineup and the Sabres will ease him in against the Coyotes at home. Wes has already qualified for next week in the survivor game, now he looks to chase down the Mover & Shaker. The Coyotes will go back to Darcy Kuemper, who was dropped in the Waiver Draft by Stuart and he'll be sucking minutes out of the hockey pool again.
Jonathan Quick (Derek B.) versus Sergei Bobrovsky (Kristy & Don)
The Columbus Blue Jackets will play host to the Los Angeles Kings tonight and Sergei Bobrovsky will get back in the net for the Jackets, after getting night off on Tuesday. Kristy & Don have dropped a few points in the race for the money this week, but a start against the lowly Kings should help their cause out. Derek gets the first of two starts tonight with Jonathan Quick taking to the net for the visitors. Derek's team ranks 5th in the goalie ranks, but that is the only his strong spot in his lineup, because his team hasn't really improved since the Waiver Draft yet.
Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.) versus Carey Price (Stacey M.)
Stacey needs her win for this week's run in the survivor game and she'll get a start from Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens tonight, as they play host to the Carolina Hurricanes. Stacey's goalies have been good this season, tied for 3rd in the pool in scoring with 47 points from the crease. The pool's other Stacey is getting in on the action of this game, as his Carolina keeper, Petr Mrazek, gets the nod tonight on the road, looking for those 2 points to help build on the 9 points his team already has this week.
Frederik Andersen (Derek B.) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Dale C.)
It's the return of Andrei Vasilevskiy to the Tampa Bay Lightning crease this evening, much to the delight of Dale's hockey pool team, who has been missing him dearly since the middle of November, out for just about a month. Dale's team was in 21st place when he lost his injured goalie and opens play tonight in 17th, so maybe it wasn't all bad. Derek gets the start at the opposite side, as Frederik Andersen will get the call for the Maple Leafs, no injuries to return from here, just the 2nd-ranked goalie in the hockey pool this season, going back to work.
Anders Nilsson (N/A) versus Pekka Rinne (John P.)
Pekka Rinne gets the only hockey pool nod between the Canucks and the Predators in Nashville tonight and John P. could really use the 2 points here, as his team has not gotten off to a good start in this second segment of the regular season. One week and three days in, John's team sits in 22nd and has dropped a couple of spots in the overall standings, 14th to 16th, in that time and now would be a good time for Rinne to stop the bleeding!
James Reimer (Dale C.) versus Devan Dubnyk (Wes)
Wes' goaltending factory gets another start here on Thursday night, as the Minnesota Wild will send Devan Dubnyk to the crease to take on the Florida Panthers. Wes' team is tied with Stacey M.'s team at 47 points from the crease this season and with a couple of starts, he could put some space in between the ranks.
It's a goaltending windfall for Dale C. tonight, as the visitors will go with his keeper, James Reimer, who hasn't seen a lot of action in recent weeks, with the return of Roberto Luongo from his second leg injury of the season. This could be Dale's week, already in the hunt for the Mover & Shaker and two starts... things are good!
Cam Talbot (Mike) versus Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy)
The Winnipeg Jets will get the Edmonton Oilers tonight and their reasonably subdued offense (21st in the NHL in goals for), but they are not taking any chances, sending their number one goalie to the crease. Connor Hellebuyck will get the nod, giving Jeremy a start to help him qualify for next week in the goalie survivor pool. Mike's team was the last one eliminated from the goalie survivor game, mostly because Cam Talbot lost his post as the number one guy for the Oilers, but he's on the road to getting his confidence back and another mile marker on that road is a start in Winnipeg and he'll go from there.
Anton Khudobin (Grant) versus Martin Jones (Brenda & Seward)
A goalie post where Brenda & Seward weren't in the mentions for the Basement Dweller nod... have they turned a corner on their season? Martin Jones is getting the start again tonight for the Sharks, so things are looking up. 10 points so far this week has them right in the middle of the pack and a win could be of great service. Grant, on the other hand, has 11 points this week and is now getting his second start out of his Waiver Draft pickup, so his chase for the money gets a helping hand tonight.