There are 22 games across the league tonight. It is a strange night for fantasy goalies because it seems like most good teams are playing other good teams, and then bad vs. bad. There are a number of goalies facing their former teams tonight. Jaroslav Halak welcomes the Canadiens to St. Louis – The Blue Jackets are in Philadelphia to take on Steve Mason and the Flyers – Anders Lindback will face the Predators who he spent two seasons with as Pekka Rinne’s backup.
* * *
1. Roberto Luongo (@ DAL) – The Stars have one strong line, but Luongo is 5-0-1 with a 1.30 GAA and .958 SV% in December. If the Canucks can neutralize Tyler Seguin and Jaime Benn, Lu gets the W.
2. Jaroslav Halak (vs. MTL) – The Canadiens are playing well but Halak is 3-0-0 with three goals allowed against the Habs and he has the advantage of home-ice.
3. Chad Johnson (@ BUF) – Johnson has won his last five straight starts while allowing just nine goals and stopping 136 of 145 shots (.938 SV%
4. Steve Mason (vs. CBJ) – Mason’s play has slipped lately, but facing his former team should help him get fired up for this one. It helps that his former team is not that good.
5. Carey Price (@ STL) – While I like the Blues in this one, Price has won nine of his last 11 with a 1.82 GAA and .936 SV%.
6. Martin Jones (vs. SJ) – 6-0-0 in his first six NHL starts and he has not allowed a goal at home yet (2 starts). That being said, it is not a great matchup so be aware that this could be where the winning-streak ends. (Likely)
7. Antti Niemi (@ LA) – Niemi has not been that sharp lately, but the quality of the squad in front of him make him a top-10 start every night.
8. James Reimer (vs. PHX) – The Coyotes have a strong offence, but have just two goals in their last two games. I say the Leafs are able to limit them enough to win this one. (Likely)
9. Jeff Zatkoff (vs. MIN) – Zatkoff was great against the Red Wings in his last outing and the Penguins are sizzling right now. Pittsburgh is 10-1-0 in their last 11. (Probable)
10. Semyon Varlamov (vs. EDM) – Varlamov gave up eight goals on 28 shots the last time he faced the Oilers. While I don’t expect that to happen again and expect the Avs to win, it is something you have to think about when setting your lineup.
11. Mike Smith (@ TOR) – Smith has only two wins in his last nine starts and Toronto is a so-so matchup.
12. Kari Lehtonen (vs. VAN) – Vancouver has won seven of their last eight, they are red-hot, so be weary of this matchup.
13. Jonas Gustavsson (vs. CGY) – Solid matchup against a sub-par Flames team, but the Red Wings are extremely short-handed so it is no slam-dunk.
14. Craig Anderson (vs. FLA) – Believe it or not, the Panthers have won four straight and six of their last seven, so Anderson and his sketchy goaltending is risky tonight.
15. Karri Ramo (@ DET) – Despite the depleted lineup, the Red Wings are still never an easy matchup because of some key players and coaching.
16. Niklas Backstrom (@ PIT) – The Penguins are scorching hot right now and they get James Neal back tonight.
17. Ryan Miller (vs. BOS) – Miller is 2-2-0 with a 1.98 GAA and .937 SV% in December but the Bruins are too good of a team to warrant starting him tonight. (Likely)
18. Scott Clemmensen (@ OTT) – Clemmensen has shocked the world and led the Panthers to three-straight W’s but he is still not a reliable fantasy option.
19. Curtis McElhinney (@ PHI) – The Flyers are starting to find their scoring touch and have netted 17 goals in their last five games. McElhinney has been solid but he is still a career 2.97 GAA and .903 SV%… Don’t let short-term success cloud your judgement.
20. Carter Hutton (@ TB) – This game is such a toss-up. I don’t like Hutton or Lindback tonight. However if I had to pick I would give Hutton and the Predators the slight edge. (Likely)
21. Devan Dubnyk (@ COL) – I think 3-3-1 with a 3.75 GAA and .888 SV% in December and 9-14-2 / 3.39 / .891 overall speak for themselves.
22. Anders Lindback (vs. NSH) See Hutton, Carter.