These goalie rankings are difficult to do on Saturday’s because of the amount of back-to-backs. When a team is on the tail-end of a back-to-back they won’t skate in the morning so we can not get an idea who is going to start. The problem with this is, we have to wait until a few hours before puck-drop before we can expect a starting goalie to get announced. As I write this there are five teams who’s goalies are not confirmed. So I have ranked the goalies who are confirmed, and as the confirms come in, I will continuously update these rankings until the first game starts (7 p.m EST)
If you do not know which goalies to start tonight, you start the guys ranked the highest.
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1. Semyon Varlamov (vs. FLA) – The Avs catch a break with an easy matchup on the heels of their worst loss of the season. Varlamov should have no trouble in this one.
2. James Reimer (vs. BUF) – The Sabres always seems to give the Leafs a hard time in Buffalo, but heading back to Toronto, I fully expect Reimer to backstop them to victory on home ice.
3. Mike Smith (vs. TB) – Very difficult matchup for Smith, but his 7-0-1 record at home has me leaning towards Phoenix over Tampa – should be a great game.
4. Ben Bishop (@ PHX) – Two goalies over 6-foot-4 riding hot streaks… I anticipate a low scoring affair despite both teams possessing strong offences.
5. Carey Price (vs. NYR) – Price was superb against the Lightning in his lat start, I expect that to carry over into tonight’s matchup with a so-so Rangers O.
6. Marc-Andre Fleury (@ NJ) – Fleury had an easy night last night and could be in for another easy one tonight. The Devils rank 29th in shots per game and 27th in scoring.
7. Brian Elliott (vs. CAR) – Carolina’s last five games have been decided by one goal, so it will likely be a close contest, but I give the edge to Elliott and the Blues in their own barn.
8. Martin Brodeur (vs. PIT) – Brodeur has been great lately, the Devils just do not have the weapons to hang with the Penguins. He should still make for a worthwhile start GAA and SV% wise.
9. Cam Talbot (@ MTL) – Not a name that jumps out at you, but .933 SV% gives him some spot start relevance against a Canadiens offence that has levelled off.
10. Justin Peters (@ STL) – This is a St. Louis team who hung seven on the Avalanche. Peters has been solid lately, but the matchup is not appealing.
11. Jhonas Enroth (@ TOR) – Enroth will end up starting for the Sabres. He has been solid, but the matchup is not great and he has no offensive support.
12. Nikolai Khabibulin (@ NSH) – The ‘Bulin-Wall’ has been downright awful in limited action this season. But in comes the Predators anemic offence to make his spot-start worthy.
13. Jonas Gustavsson (@NYI) – ‘The Monster’ has played strong when called upon this season and with the Red Wings unable to win at home, a trip to Long Island should serve them well.
14. Evgeni Nabokov (vs. DET) – While the Red Wings are struggling to finish games off, Nabby is struggling to even keep his team in games right now. I would stay away from him until he turns things around.
15. Devan Dubnyk (@ CGY) – … Who is going to win this one? Seriously? Both these netminders are struggling, but so are their offences! Is it going to be 0-0? Or 7-6? I have no idea, you feel free to roll the dice.
16. Reto Berra (vs. EDM) – See Dubnyk, Devan ^.
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WAITING ON YOU!
Here are the teams who’s goalies are UNCONFIRMED:
Nashville – Marek Mazanec / Carter Hutton (Likely)
Florida – Tim Thomas / Scott Clemmensen