Monday, December 31, 2018
Goalie Announcements (Dec 31)
Lots of writing on this Monday morning, so much so, I had to get a head start on it on Sunday night. It's New Year's Eve and we have some afternoon games going today, so once the Newsletter was published, I was going right to the social media lines to check and see where the starters were, since Week Fourteen gets started at 10:30am MT with the Nashville and Washington game.
On the plus side, a few of the teams were already naming starters on Sunday, so we were ahead of the game in a number of spots.
The new week begins, the goalie survivor game is now over, so now we'll concentrate on the overall standings and the weekly honours. Overall will be the name of the game today, since the week is only just getting started, so here we go!
Pekka Rinne (John P.) versus Braden Holtby (Stacey C.)
Really early start in Washington this morning and there were no confirmed goalies at the time the post went live, so we're leaning towards the number ones getting the start in a European showcase game today. The only argument I could see that would change their minds is the curse of the afternoon games, which some goalies are ill-prepared for and come away injured. For both team's sake, this might not be a bad game to dress the number twos.
Anders Nilsson (N/A) versus Mackenzie Blackwood (N/A)
It's a moot game in the crease in New Jersey this afternoon, when the Canucks take on the Devils. There are a couple of hockey pool goalies sitting out of this one, one likely to save him from the afternoon grind, while the other one is giving way to a hot hand. I'll let you decide which one is which.
Matt Murray (N/A) versus Devan Dubnyk (Wes)
It's an afternoon start in Minnesota for the Penguins and the Wild, but certainly not as early as the other two games that we led off with. Still, neither goalie has been confirmed, so we're also taking to the number ones in this one, as a solid potential match-up. The Penguins are back in a playoff spot, while the Wild are scratching and clawing for one, so this makes some sense today.
Robin Lehner (Chelsea) versus Carter Hutton (Wes)
The Sabres confirmed that Carter Hutton would indeed be the guy tonight with the Islanders in town, which is good news for Wes' team. Chelsea also gets some good news, as Robin Lehner was the first goalie off the ice at practice this morning and the coaching staff confirmed that he starts against his former team. Chelsea gets her only start of the day in this game, 80 points out of the money, while Wes potentially has his second game of the day, 28 points out of the money. Two very contrasting pool teams here.
Carter Hart (N/A) versus Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.)
The Philadelphia Flyers are having a hard time saying no to Carter Hart, as they will be giving him another start on the road tonight in Carolina, taking on the Hurricanes. He is certainly making the goaltending situation more and more interesting, as we draw closer to some goalies getting healthy again. The Hurricanes goaltending hasn't been a problem of late, it's been their scoring, but that still suggests to me that Petr Mrazek should get the call today, but that's unconfirmed and among the picks that could change just as easily.
Henrik Lundqvist (Scott) versus Jake Allen (Steve)
The Rangers were certainly nice enough to confirm early that Henrik Lundqvist would get the nod in St. Louis tonight, when they take on the Blues. The Rangers haven't been good on the road this season, 5-10-2, so it could be tough for Scott to get the 2 points tonight, but anything is possible, I guess. The Blues haven't firmed up any goalie decisions, at the time of the post, but there's no reason why they won't go back to the well with Jake Allen tonight. He's their guy, through thick and thin.
Marcus Hogberg (N/A) versus Sergei Bobrovsky (Kristy & Don)
Kristy & Don will get yet another start out of Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets, when they play host to the Ottawa Senators tonight. The duo are having troubles cracking the top three lately, opening up play today 5 points back of 3rd, so they'll lean heavily on Bob to get the job done and help them into the money fray. The Senators confirmed that Marcus Hogberg will make his second career start tonight, with Craig Anderson still injured.
Roberto Luongo (John P.) versus Jimmy Howard (Tony)
No confirmations here yet this morning, but it's an evening game and both teams are trying to fight their way back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Panthers open tonight with a 2-point lead over the Red Wings in the standings, so you better believe that these two will be starting their number ones... until they don't and make me look silly.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (Dale C.) versus John Gibson (Kristy & Don)
The Lightning and Ducks haven't confirmed their goalies either yet and there's no reason why we wouldn't see the big guys out there in their respective creases today. The Lightning are running white hot at the moment, while the Ducks still own a playoff spot, but they are sub-.500 in their last 10 games and could really use a statement game to help turn things around. A win against Tampa could be that statement.
Jonathan Quick (Derek B.) versus Semyon Varlamov (Wilton)
The Avalanche confirmed that Semyon Varlamov would get the last home start of 2018 on Sunday, so Wilton was assured one more start in the calendar year and it's a promising game for points, as they host the Kings tonight. Wilton's team sits 44 points out of the money at the start of play tonight, so those points would be very useful. Although it's unconfirmed, it seems very likely that Jonathan Quick will go yet again for the Kings. Who else do they have?
Antti Niemi (N/A) versus Ben Bishop (Clayton)
There has been no word on Carey Price rejoining the Canadiens on their current road trip, so it would seem that Antti Niemi would get the start again tonight in Dallas for the club. The Stars are starting to pick things up again after their upper-management kuffaw, so we're leaning towards the number one in Ben Bishop here too. No guarantees, but this seems likely.
Martin Jones (Brenda & Seward) versus David Rittich (Ryan)
Much of the same in Calgary, with the Sharks in town to take on the Flames. After a night off for both sides yesterday, I think we'll see the guys that both teams have been leaning on for results this season. David Rittich was actually confirmed last night, so that means we know that Ryan will get one start at least. His team starts 22 points out of the money and still making positive moves in the standings.
Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy) versus Mikko Koskinen (Tony)
Finally, it's going to be a wicked retro night in Edmonton tonight, since both the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers will be rocking some retro colours tonight. The Jets will be wearing an iteration of their WHA/NHL jerseys, in Adidas fashion, while the Oilers will have their alternate jerseys on tonight, which have a shoutout to some of their older retro duds. As for the goalies, nothing confirmed yet, but why not Hellebuyck versus Koskinen?