Saturday, March 23, 2019
Goalie Announcements (Mar 23)
This week really didn't work in my favour for getting goalie posts up on the blog or even the notes posts, for that matter. It's just been one of those weeks and if things are picking up in the office, like they have been, then I probably won't be getting as much up there in the last couple weeks of the season either, so don't come expecting too much.
Are there any races worth writing about? The 2nd-3rd-4th and now 5th place race? Stacey M. has opened her gap down to 3rd place to 5 points, as Grant has lost a bit of ground, but pulled 2 points away from Kristy & Don in 4th, but Jesse's team is making a late charge and sits in 5th, 8 points back of 4th and 18 points back of 3rd. It's a long shot, but still there.
14 points separates 7th to 14th in the standings, as Wes holds down the 7th place spot and is only 4 points up on Neil's 8th place team. This is a good race, which holds four top 10 spots in its grasp and a top 10 spot this year is a pretty good accomplishment. That's not a bad race to watch.
Otherwise, it's the weekly scoring races, where Jesse's team is charging at 27 points at the start of play today, with three teams only 3 points back to start. Mike's team currently holds the Basement Dweller spot, but 4 points has him within five teams, so that race is long from over.
And of course, it's my first goalie post since Tuesday and I get a day with 14 games on the schedule, with a couple of early morning/afternoon starts, so it's time to put on my best guess helmet and get to work.
Darcy Kuemper (Neil) versus Mackenzie Blackwood (N/A)
One of the early starts is confirmed this morning and Neil gets the only pool start between the Coyotes and the Devils in the swamp. Darcy Kuemper looks to lift the Coyotes back into a wild card spot with 2 points this afternoon, starting play only 1 point out. Neil wants to jump up to 7th place, if he can and Kuemper will help guide the way here with a clutch win. The Devils are getting a bunch of injured bodies back today, so the test will be tough.
Robin Lehner (Chelsea) versus Carter Hart (Jeremy)
Only Carter Hart has been confirmed for the other early afternoon game today, when the Islanders take on the Flyers, so it was a best guess to say that Robin Lehner would be on the other side. Jeremy's team has been in the hunt for the Mover & Shaker all week and he gets the first of two starts with this afternoon game, as his team tries to salvage something out of this season, as meaningless to his wallet as it could be.
Corey Crawford (N/A) versus Semyon Varlamov (Wilton)
There was no news about goalies in the Chicago/Colorado game, which is another afternoon start today, but not quite as early as the first two. The Avalanche still have designs on the playoffs this year, 1 point back, and the Blackhawks are only 5 points back, but they have to climb over three teams to get in, including the Avs, so that will be tough on them, but it does make for a huge game for both teams. I would imagine that this goalie match-up would be what we're looking for.
Craig Anderson (Mike) versus Mikko Koskinen (Tony)
Nothing 100% confirmed for the Senators and the Oilers this afternoon in Edmonton, but it did sound like Ottawa was leaning towards Craig Anderson, which is as close as we're going to get without confirmation. That's good enough for me! Mike needs the points and he's hoping for a huge spoiler game in Edmonton tonight for those 2 points, while the Oilers are clinging to the narrowest of hopes, 6 points out of playoff spot and they will have to run with Mikko Koskinen, you'd think... right?
Pekka Rinne (John P.) versus Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy)
Nothing 100% confirmed, but look at these two teams... Nashville and Winnipeg? Top two teams in the Central, playing for home-ice in the 2nd round of the playoffs, assuming that they get past their opening round opponents, so they should be going with their number ones tonight in Winnipeg. I'm sure John and Jeremy are thinking the exact same thing.
Alexandar Georgiev (N/A) versus Frederik Andersen (Wilton)
Only one hockey pool start in Toronto, when the New York Rangers take on the Maple Leafs. Wilton's team gets another start from Frederik Andersen, as his team looks to make up some of those gains he's had since acquiring Andersen at the Waiver Draft. His team was up to 8th place at one point, but has dropped down to 12th this week and starts the day 8 points back of 8th place and only 3 points clear of the basement. Big game for him tonight.
Carter Hutton (Wes) versus Carey Price (Stacey M.)
The Montreal Canadiens are looking to hold onto their playoff spot tonight with a win over the Buffalo Sabres and/or some help elsewhere. The goalie match-up is two pool teams getting the first of two starts tonight, as Wes' 7th place team will get a start from Carter Hutton, while Stacey M.'s 2nd place team gets a start from Carey Price. Wes' team is only 6 points clear of the basement, while Stacey's team is 6 points back of the Mover & Shaker, not a bad coincidence, I guess.
Jaroslav Halak (Stacey M.) versus Sam Montembeault (N/A)
Stacey's second start of the night comes immediately in this post, as her Boston goalie has been tapped for the start tonight in Florida, when the Bruins take on the Panthers. The Bruins are on the verge of punching their ticket into the playoffs and I think Jaroslav Halak and company are ready to get that job done tonight against a lesser team in the Panthers, who are running with their rookie keeper once again.
Devan Dubnyk (Wes) versus Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.)
This game is completely confirmed in the morning, as the Wild will travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes. Devan Dubnyk has been tapped to go on back-to-back nights, coming off a win against the Capitals and lifting the Wild into that last wild card spot before the start of play today. Wes looks to build on his gap from 7th to 8th with this start, while Stacey C. gets a start from Petr Mrazek and the home side, as the Hurricanes look to solidify their spot in the playoffs and Stacey's team starts 7 points back of the Mover & Shaker, looking to close that gap.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (Dale C.) versus Jordan Binnington (N/A)
The Blues have confirmed their rookie wonder goalie as the starter already today, but the Lightning, who don't have a whole lot to play for are likely to keep their number one guy sharp with a start for Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Russian hasn't had the biggest workload this season, thanks to injuries earlier in the year, so they're not too worried about burning him out just yet.
Matt Murray (Scott) versus Anton Khudobin (Grant)
The Dallas Stars have confirmed that they will be going with Anton Khudobin tonight with the Pittsburgh Penguins in town, which is good news for Grant, as his team is chasing a team with two starts already on this post and his team is getting the short end of the stick, it would seem. Dallas has a little bit of breathing room with their wild card spot, but they're in tough against a Penguins team that has been running pretty hot and will likely go with their number one, although that hasn't been confirmed.
David Rittich (Ryan) versus Jacob Markstrom (Chelsea)
If the Canucks were to make the playoffs, which is a long shot, at best, their likely opening round opponent would be the Flames. In order to get there, they'll have to go through the Flames, which has been a favourable match-up for them this season, but 5 points and four teams to climb over, that's very improbable. No confirmed goalies at the time of the publish button being hit, so we're going with the top dogs in this one. There will definitely be some fight in this game, from both sides.
Jimmy Howard (Tony) versus Malcolm Subban (N/A)
I missed Jimmy Howard's new contract extension, giving him a 1-year deal with some incentives (35+ contract) this week and he'll get back to the net for the Detroit Red Wings, as they head into Vegas for a match-up against the Golden Knights. Tony's team is in the running for the Mover & Shaker yet again, only 2 points back of the lead and I don't think he'll be leaning on Howard for those 2 points in Vegas, but it would be a nice surprise. Assuming, not confirmed, that Marc-Andre Fleury still isn't ready to go from his injury, we'll see Malcolm Subban in net tonight.
Ryan Miller (N/A) versus Jack Campbell (N/A)
The Ducks played last night and the Kings are cycling their goalies, so this is my best guess for the late, late game, which is somewhat of a moot guess. The Ducks seem rather likely to go this way, but the Kings could start Jonathan Quick instead, but there really is no value in it. Brenda & Seward may disagree though... there's value!