Sunday, December 31, 2017
Goalie Announcements (Dec 31)
It's the last day of 2017 and if you're not staying indoors, away from this freezing cold... you're mental!
The year and Week Thirteen will finish off with a busier than normal Sunday, which makes up for the quiet Saturday we just had, maybe some of these teams were really looking forward to capitalizing on a New Year's Eve game, more than the traditional Saturday night out.
Eight games are on the schedule and they kick off with an early afternoon game in Vegas. I'm sure there is lots to do on the strip, rather than sit inside of a frozen arena in the desert for when the calendar flips over for another year. So, with that being said, it's an early goalie post today, hoping that we get most of these right.
Frederik Andersen (Mike) versus Marc-Andre Fleury (Scott)
The bright lights of Las Vegas will play host to what could be a fairly electric game this afternoon. The Maple Leafs and the Golden Knights can certainly turn it on, when needed. We're definitely expecting to see a battle of number ones here, as the visitors should be going with Frederik Andersen and the hosts opting for Marc-Andre Fleury. In the pool standings, this is Mike versus Scott, 18th versus 25th, divided by 68 points. For Mike, the difference between his team in the money is only 46 points, so it could be much more about Scott's goalies playing spoiler, more than anything else.
Antti Raanta (Ryan) versus John Gibson (Tony)
The Arizona Coyotes confirmed that Antti Raanta was getting the last start of 2017, ensuring that Ryan would get one last start today, as his team dropped a spot to Wes this week and I'm sure he'd like it back before it's all said and done. The Anaheim Ducks are not on back-to-back nights, so that should be more than enough indication to think that John Gibson will get the nod here this afternoon. Tony's team is a few hot weeks away from being back in the conversation, as his team only sits 38 points out of the money, at the start of play today. Gibson and the Ducks can certainly give him a start against the lowly Coyotes.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (Wilton) versus Sergei Bobrovsky (Derek B.)
It's a full-on Russian affair in Columbus tonight, as this could work out to be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, if the dominoes were distributed correctly on the board. Wilton has had a bit of a tough week, seeing his team only pick up 13 points and that has shuffled him out of the top three to start Sunday's action. Fortunately, Andrei Vasilevskiy will go for the Lightning, trying to help him out of his funk and he'll face off against Derek's Sergei Bobrovsky. Derek's team is in 10th to start the day, 29 points back of Wilton and this is the time to get the results that will close gaps.
Connor Hellebuyck (Neil) versus Cam Talbot (Wes)
It's an early start in Edmonton this evening, also likely trying to shove people out the door to enjoy the festivities at a reasonable hour. The Jets are in the frigid north to take on the Oilers and we were made aware of the road goalie first, so we'll start with him. Neil's team had a decent week, so far, with 19 points, but he's stuck in 20th place, since the teams directly ahead of him had good weeks too. He'll get Connor Hellebuyck in the Jets net tonight, trying to help his team be just a little bit better than the rest. For the Oilers, Wes' team is trying to track down Neil's but didn't have quite the same week, with only 15 points, but a huge game from Cam Talbot can help his team keep the pace.
Matt Murray (Stacey M.) versus Jimmy Howard (Dale C.)
The Detroit Red Wings will close off the 2017 calendar year with a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and this could prove to be a desperate game, as neither team will be in a playoff spot, when the ball drops tonight. Jimmy Howard was confirmed early on to be the starter for the Red Wings, taking reps in the starter's net at the morning skate, giving Dale C. a start tonight. Dale's team also struggled this week, dropping down to 12th with a 12-point week, so far. At the other end, it looks like Matt Murray is ready to go again for the Penguins, as he was on the ice for practice and was the first one off the ice after, usually signalling the start. Stacey's team opens the day only a couple points out of the top 10 and that's exactly what Murray is looking to give her tonight.
Jaroslav Halak (Benson) versus Jonathan Bernier (Scott)
Up in Denver tonight, the Islanders and Avalanche close off their 2017 calendar years with a non-conference tilt, ringing in the New Year with a fairly intriguing match-up. After the morning skate, it was confirmed that Jaroslav Halak was getting another nod for the Islanders tonight, giving Benson a chance to solidify his spot in the money tonight. Benson jumped up to 2nd this week and holds a 1-point advantage on Jeremy's team for the position. Talk about a rarity sort of night, Scott will get two goalie starts today, as the Avalanche have opted to dress Jonathan Bernier for this game against the Islanders. Scott's team, like I mentioned earlier, could certainly play spoiler to some teams, if he can get the goalie starts and this is one that the rest of the money teams are really pulling for tonight.
Martin Jones (Chris) versus Ben Bishop (Kristy & Don)
As of today, both the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars are destined for the playoffs and with the goaltending match-up that's set for tonight, you can probably see why. Chris' team took a rough tumble since it got off to a great start, dropping from 3rd down after Week Four to 13th now, but his team can work its way back up with a win from Martin Jones tonight. On the other side of the ledger, Kristy & Don got off to a slow start, but for the last six weeks, they have been hovering just outside of the money spots, starting the day, 7 points out. Ben Bishop has been good for them and they'll need him to be good again to close up the gap.
Jeff Glass (N/A) versus Mike Smith (Ryan)
The last game of the calendar year will be in Calgary tonight, as the traveling Blackhawks finish their Western Canada swing against the Flames. Only one pool goalie in this one, due to injury, as Ryan gets a second start in this one, with Mike Smith getting the nod for the Flames. Ryan's team is looking to make a move or two today, as his team is currently chasing Wes' down for 21st, actually tied at the start of play today and he could certainly use a couple of goalie wins to help his cause. For the Blackhawks, ti's a feel-good story with Jeff Glass, who will make his second career NHL start tonight in his hometown.