Tonight is the last day of games before the NHL takes a three-day break for the Christmas Holidays. There are 14 games across the league tonight, the only teams that are not in action tonight is Vancouver and Montreal. Given the large number of games there is bound to be some great matchups. Anaheim is in Washington to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals – San Jose hosts the Avalanche in a battle of Western Conference powers – Lastly the Stars and Kings should be a fantastic game, especially with the outstanding play we have seen from Los Angeles lately.
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1. Ben Bishop (@ FLA) – Bishop is 4-0-0 with a 1.19 GAA and .958 SV% in his last four starts.
2. Tuukka Rask (@ NSH) – Rask has won four of his last five starts while allowing just eight goals in that span. He takes on the Predators and their 25th ranked offence tonight – he is a must start.
3. Marc- Andre Fleury (@ OTT) – Fleury is 9-1-0 in his last 10 and he takes on a Senators team who have lost three straight.
4. Jaroslav Halak (@ CGY) – Halak is 7-3-0 with a 2.28 GAA and .914 SV% on the road this season. He takes on a Flames who are sub-.500 at home.
5. Jonathan Bernier (@ NYR) – Bernier played very well in relief on Saturday, look for that to carry-over into tonight’s meeting with a Rangers team who have lost six of their last eight.
6. Martin Jones (vs. DAL) – Jones’ matchup is not ideal, but are you really going to bench a guy who is 8-0-0 with a 0.98 GAA and .966 SV% to start his NHL career? (Likely)
7. Mike Smith (@ BUF) – Smith has posted a 3-2-2 record with a 2.24 GAA and .926 SV% in December and has a great matchup in Buffalo tonight.
8. Antti Raanta (vs. NJ) – Take out one terrible start against the Maple Leafs, Raanta has been excellent. The Devils have found their scoring touch recently, but I have a hard time seeing how they’re going to beat the Hawks.
9. Jonas Hiller (@ WSH) – Hiller has won six in a row and has not allowed more than two goals in any of those games. Ovi and the Caps are hot, but so are Perry, Getz and the Ducks.
10. Antti Niemi (vs. COL) – 3-4-1 with a 2.61 GAA and .902 SV% marks a tough month for Niemi, but he has been a completely different goalie at home than on the road.
11. Cameron Talbot (vs. TOR) – Talbot has been excellent when called upon. He takes on the Maple Leafs tonight who have been wildly inconsistent. He is somewhat risky, but also the best spot-start option tonight.
12. Semyon Varlamov (@ SJ) – Varly has cooled off going 3-2-2 with a 2.92 GAA and .904 SV% in December. This is a very difficult road matchup.
13. Jonas Gustavsson (vs. NYI) – Gustavsson’s last four starts have been ugly, but he has done enough to get two wins. Expect another W tonight as they welcome an Isles team who are 10 games below .500.
14. Steve Mason (vs. MIN) – Mason enters play tonight with a 9-6-0 record, 2.28 GAA and .924 SV% at home.
15. Kari Lehtonen (@ LA) – Lehtonen has been all over the map lately going 3-3-3 with a 3.23 GAA and .909 SV% this month.
16. Justin Peters (vs. CBJ) – Peters continues to be the Hurricanes best goalie. He is 3-1-2 with a 1.64 GAA and .948 SV% in December.
17. Ryan Miller (vs. PHX) – Miller has won three of his last four. While that gives you a reason to be optimistic, the Coyotes offence still ranks in the top-5.
18. Evgeni Nabokov (@ DET) – Nabby was injured on the first shot of the game the last time he faced the Wings. Hopefully tonight is a longer night for Nabokov, but I still don’t like his chances tonight.
19. Cory Schneider (@ CHI) – Four straight games of at least three goals against and tonight he faces a great Hawks squad.
20. Ilya Bryzgalov (vs. WPG) – Bryzgalov has been solid other than Saturday’s game and this is a juicy matchup from a goalie perspective.
21. Ondrej Pavelec (@ EDM) – December has not been very kind to Pavelec, he is 2-5-1 with a 3.26 GAA and .882 SV%
22. Niklas Backstrom (@ PHI) – Backstrom looks nothing like the Backstrom we have seen in recent years. He is struggling and the Flyers O is clicking… Sounds like a matchup to avoid.
23. Philipp Grubauer (vs. ANA) – As good as Grubauer has been since being recalled… The Ducks have won eight straight.
24. Craig Anderson (vs. PIT) – Anderson has a 3.42 GAA, the Penguins have won 12 of 13.
25. Scott Clemmensen (vs. TB) – Tampa Bay has won five of six and Clemmensen is not a great option despite the Panthers recent success.
26. Mike McKenna (@ CAR) – McKenna has not recorded a win in three games and has posted a 3.02 GAA and .901 SV%
27. Reto Berra (vs. STL) – The Blues have dismantled two straight Canadian opponents winning by a combined total of 11-1.
28. Carter Hutton (vs. BOS) – Hutton has gone 3-2-1 with a 2.13 GAA and .929 SV% in December, but taking on the Bruins in Boston is one to avoid.