Whoa, boy! It's another busy one tonight, as we ramp up before the holiday break, there's 12 games on the schedule tonight, so we'll have all sorts of opportunities for points from the crease and points from our skaters.
Stacey M.'s team was able to catch Kristy & Don for the weekly lead in points with 15, not to mention taking over the overall lead with a good night on Wednesday. Stuart's team remains in the mix at 12 points and then seven more teams are at 10 points for the week, all feeling like they have a shot at the pool's top weekly mention.
Tony's team failed to register a point last night, while Jeremy's team managed to get a single point, so they continue to occupy the bottom of the weekly table at 2 and 3 points each. Troy, Brian and Stacey C. are not very far away at 4 points, so these teams will want to pick up their socks.
We can also make mention of the survivor game, as Stacey's team is still the only one to have qualified for Week Thirteen. Troy, Wes and Jeremy are still in need, but there are still plenty of games to be played, so the panic isn't on quite yet.
John Gibson (Kristy & Don) versus Jaroslav Halak (Stacey M.)
The rich just keep on getting richer, don't they? Two pool teams, already knee deep in points this week, each get a start (one confirmed, the other assumed) in the game between the Ducks and the Bruins in Boston. The Ducks went with Chad Johnson in their last game, so John Gibson should be back in the cage tonight, but that is still unconfirmed. The Bruins will ride the hot hand with Jaroslav Halak, coming off a shutout and helping Stacey's team to that quick start out of the gates.
Roberto Luongo (John P.) versus Frederik Andersen (Derek B.)
It's the Panthers and the Leafs tonight in Toronto and there isn't a whole lot in this match-up, per se. In the hockey pool standings, neither side is really close to one another, the goalies aren't ranked close together and even in the NHL standings, the two teams are not really close to each other, so the struggle for story lines is real. John's team is among those with 10 points this week, but his goalie is drawing a tough Leafs team, so it will take a pretty good effort here to keep John running with the top dogs in the weekly standings.
Pekka Rinne (John P.) versus Carter Hart (N/A)
The Philadelphia Flyers will give their top goaltending prospect his 2nd career start tonight, playing host to the Nashville Predators. Carter Hart won his NHL debut the other night, so he'll look to ride that early momentum through a game against one of the league's best teams. The Predators still hadn't confirmed their goalie for this game, but given the circumstances of the schedule, it should be Pekka Rinne going tonight for the visitors.
Devan Dubnyk (Wes) versus Casey DeSmith (Benson)
Although the Pittsburgh goalie was still unconfirmed at the time of the post, it did seem fairly likely, given that the Penguins played last night, that Casey DeSmith would be getting the nod in the game against Minnesota tonight. We do know that Devan Dubnyk will be getting the start at the other end, offering Wes an opportunity at a qualifying win tonight. I think Wes has a couple more projected starts left to go before the weekend is out, but nothing is guaranteed these days.
Jonathan Bernier (Brenda & Seward) versus Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.)
The duo of Brenda & Seward open up the night still 6 points back of 24th place and 55 points back of Stacey's 18th place team, but the duo gets the first of two starts tonight, when Jonathan Bernier and the Red Wings take on Petr Mrazek and the Hurricanes. Stacey's team, as mentioned earlier, is off to a rough start, so the duo better be taking full advantage of this cold streak tonight with a win in this game.
Mackenzie Blackwood (N/A) versus Sergei Bobrovsky (Kristy & Don)
NHL debut alert! The New Jersey Devils are going to throw Mackenzie Blackwood to the wolves tonight, when they go into Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. He's taken the place of Cory Schneider for the time being and will be put through his paces in a non-hockey pool start. The match-up isn't an easy one either, as he'll draw Sergei Bobrovsky at the other end of the ice, giving Kristy & Don a shot to keep maintaining the pace up at the top of the weekly scoring table.
Cam Ward (Scott) versus Ben Bishop (Clayton)
Scott now has the number one guy in Chicago and he might get a lot of work in this next stretch, as the Blackhawks try and right the ship in the Central Division. Cam Ward gets the call against their division rivals from Dallas, in Dallas, where the Stars will send Ben Bishop back to the crease. Bishop had to split a shutout against Calgary earlier in the week, so Clayton didn't get his full 4 points in that game, but the Blackhawks are ripe for the picking for another 4 points these days.
Louis Domingue (Eric) versus David Rittich (Ryan)
The Tampa Bay Lightning are on their trek through Western Canada this week and their stop for Thursday night is in Calgary. They'll send the number two guy, Louis Domingue, up against their hosts tonight, likely saving their number one guy for the last stop in Edmonton on Saturday. Eric's team is only 1 point behind Ryan's team in the weekly running this week, down 10-9, but I'm thinking that Ryan's team should be confident in David Rittich, who is going for the Flames tonight.
Carey Price (Stacey M.) versus Darcy Kuemper (N/A)
Well, if it wasn't for Carey Price going in back-to-back nights, this game would have probably been a wash for this blog post. Stacey thanks her lucky stars that her number one guy gets to go again, trying to pad her stats this week with her second start of the night. You would think that a team going up against the lowly Coyotes on the second half of back-to-backs would take this opportunity to rest the number one guy and throw the number two guy a bone. I guess not.
Jake Allen (Steve) versus Jacob Markstrom (Chelsea)
Steve's team is right in the thick of the Mover & Shaker mix this week, as is Chelsea's team, both with 10 points in the weekly scoring to date and both will get their only starts of the night in Vancouver, when the Blues take on the Canucks. Jake Allen gets the call against Jacob Markstrom, both goalies seeing a lot of action for their respective teams and are posting okay numbers at the same time.
Thomas Greiss (Stuart) versus Marc-Andre Fleury (Troy)
Big goalie battle at the top of the overall standings tonight in Vegas, where the Islanders will be starting Thomas Greiss for Stuart's 2nd place team in the pool, matching up against Marc-Andre Fleury of the Golden Knights, playing for Troy's 4th place team. The two sides are separated by 6 points, so it would take more than a really good result for Troy's team to swing the standings, but it's still a big one tonight.
Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy) versus Martin Jones (Brenda & Seward)
Definitely an interesting match-up in the shark tank tonight, when the Jets travel down to San Jose to take on the Sharks. Two high-powered offenses going head-to-head, it should make for some good watching, if you're up late enough to do so. Jeremy gets his only start of the night in this late game with Connor Hellebuyck, while the duo get their second start of the night with Martin Jones. The duo have started to make some waves in the last couple of weeks and may start to chase some teams in the bottom half down now.