H2H Faceoff: Gearing up for the Winter Classic

Updated: December 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm by Mollie Krupp

Head-to-Head Faceoff is a weekly column by Mollie Krupp which will run every Sunday and continue into Monday. Here you’ll find a breakdown of each team’s schedule for the week as well as which goalies you can expect to see in net so you can make sure to set your fantasy rosters accordingly.

New Year’s Day makes way for Winter Classic. Over the past few years, I’ve made it my tradition to nurse my hangover from the night before with a healthy dose of rivalry hockey. This year, we’ll be welcoming 2011 with the Penguins and the Capitals. I’m pulling for the Capitals and I’m not sure if it has more to do with my interest in the Capitals or for my hatred for the Penguins, but I look forward to seeing at least a few good hits to Crosby. Maybe you’ll be routing for the team that holds the most fantasy players for you, or maybe you’ll be routing for your home team, or a favorite player you have. Whatever it is, let us know!

4 Games

Thrashers (@Pit, Bos, @NJ, @Mon) Ondrej Pavelec will continue to start this week, he may even get the back-to-backs this week.

Kings (@SJ, @Pho, Phi, SJ) Jonathan Quick will get the majority of starts but Jonathan Bernier may get a start with a heavy Kings week.

Blue Jackets (Min, @Tor, Ott, @Nsh) Mathieu Garon and Steve Mason will likely share time this week as their team continues to struggle.

Stars (@Nsh, Det, Van, @StL) Kari Lehtonen has been great for Dallas and as long as he stays healthy, he’ll stay in net. The Stars do have back-to-back games this week, which may give Andrew Raycroft a chance to start, just to make sure Lehtonen gets the rest he needs.

Wings (@Col, @Dal, NYI, Phi) Jimmy Howard will get the majority of starts, but Chris Osgood will likely make an appearance as he continues to fight for that 400th win.

Wild (@Cls, SJ, Nsh, Pho) Niklas Backstrom has had three consecutive wins and the Wild will ride him while he’s hot.

Habs (@Was, @TB, @Fla, Atl) Carey Price will continue to start for the Habs but Auld has a chance to start with a heavy week.

Rangers (NYI, @NJ, @TB, @Fla) The Rangers should see Martin Biron at some point this week. Keep an eye out.

Coyotes (Anh, LA, @StL, @Min) Ilya Bryzgalov should be back this week (fingers crossed) but Jason LaBarbera will continue to cover for him until he’s ready.

Bruins (@Fla, @TB, @Atl, @Buf)  Tuukka Rask should see a start this week with back-to-back games for the Bruins.

Avalanche (Det, @Edm, @Cgy, Van) Craig Anderson has been struggling a little as of late, which could give Peter Budaj the chance he’s been looking for to step up again for his team.

Sharks (LA, @Min, @Chi, @LA)  Antero Niittymaki may get the majority of starts but Antti Niemi should get at least one start this week as well.

Flyers (@Van, @LA, @Anh, @Det) It will be interesting to see what the Flyers do this week with goalies. Check back game days to see who they’ll start. Brian Boucher has been doing well for them lately, so he may see the majority if he keeps it up.

3 Games

Ducks (@Pho, Phi, Chi) Jonas Hiller will be the starting goalie for the Ducks this week.

Penguins (Atl, @NYI, Was) The Penguins will meet with the Capitals on New Year’s Day for the Winter Classic. With Brent Johnson listed as DTD, it looks like Marc-Andre Fleury will have to man the net all week.

Blues (Chi, Pho, Dal) The Blues will continue to rely on Jaroslav Halak.

Lightning (Bos, Mon, NYR) Mike Smith is out for now, so the Lightning will rely on Dan Ellis this week.

Canucks (Phi, @Dal, @Col) Roberto Luongo got a break when the Canucks played the Blue Jackets, but he should be back in net all week.

Flames (Buf, Col, @Edm) Henrik Karlsson may make another appearance with back-to-back games this week for the Flames, but Miikka Kiprusoff will continue be the number one man in net.

Hurricanes (@Tor, @Ott, NJ) Cam Ward returned after suffering a skin infection and will be the go-to netminder for the Canes as per usual.

Oilers (Buf, Col, Cgy) Nikolai Khabibulin will get the majority of starts this week.

Panthers (Bos, Mon, NYR) Tomas Vokoun will get the start this week for the Panthers, as they have a fairly spread out schedule

Predators (Dal, @Min, Cls) Pekka Rinne is back at just the right time as Lindback seemed to be struggling in his last few games.

Devils (NYR, Atl, Car) Martin Brodeur continues to struggle as he let in five goals in the Devils/Islanders game but he may continue to start as Johan Hedberg hasn’t been much better.

Islanders (@NYR, Pit, @Det) The hot Dwayne Roloson will start for the Islanders.

Senators (Car, @Cls, Tor)   Brian Elliott is still starting for the Senators while Pascal Leclaire remains day-to-day.

Sabres (@Cgy, @Edm, Bos) The Sabres will continue to turn to Ryan Miller for their starts, although he hasn’t been living up to his fantasy or reality expectations.

Blackhawks (@StL, SJ, @Anh) Corey Crawford has fought to earn the starting spot for the Hawks and will continue to start for the team.

Maple Leafs (Car, Cls, @Ott) JS Giguere is still out and Jonas Gustavsson will continue to get the majority of starts.

2 games

Caps (Mon, @Pit) Michal Neuvirth may see both starts this week as he has been doing well for the Caps.

Home Sweet Home: The Lightning, Blues, Devils, Panthers and Oilers will spend the week at home.

Packing Their Bags: Both the Bruins and the Flyers will play all of their games on the road this week.

NHL, NHL starting goalies, Starting Goalies