Whether you’re interested for fantasy hockey reasons or just want to know which goalie your team is playing in a given day, we thought it might be helpful to share our best guesses (based on various previews from newspapers and Web sites plus our own instincts) on who might start each day.
Note: I’ll update this periodically tonight so you can have time to set your rosters. 8:00 PM ET will be updated shortly.
7:00 PM ET games
Rangers at Sabres
Likely Rangers starter: Henrik Lundqvist – King Henrik should still get most of the starts in the Big Apple, but Martin Biron could be useful when it comes to giving the talented Swede the occasional breather. That might bring down the quantity stats just a touch, but could improve the quality of each start. (Source: Rangers Rants.)
Likely Sabres starter: Ryan Miller – Chances are, with a home opener, you start your Olympic Hero in net. I’d be very surprised if Ryan Miller didn’t play against Lundqvist tonight.
Stars at Islanders
Likely Stars starter: Kari Lehtonen – He should be the workhorse unless he gets hurt.
Likely Islanders starter: Rick Dipietro – So he’s really alive? I might need to see it to believe it. (Source: Katie Strang of New York Newsday.)
Canadiens at Penguins
Likely Penguins starter: Marc-Andre Fleury – Haven’t been able to track down confirmation on this game, but both goalies should get most of their starts and each one had the night off so there’s no worries of a back-to-back.
Likely Canadiens starter: Carey Price – see Fleury’s explanation.
Senators at Maple Leafs
Likely Senators starter: Pascal Leclaire – Maybe the funny looking goalie will find his long-lost groove after a rough couple seasons? He’s certainly getting paid to play the part of a No. 1 goalie, that’s for sure. (Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman.)
Likely Maple Leafs starter: J.S. Giguere – I guess Ron Wilson is rewarding Giguere for a strong first game? A slight surprise but perhaps he’ll start the season on a hot streak. It’s certainly another winnable game for both teams. (Source: The Toronto Star.)
Devils at Capitals
Likely Devils starter: Martin Brodeur – Again, Brodeur is going to get something like 95 percent of New Jersey’s starts.
Likely Capitals starter: Michal Neuvirth – With Varlamov on the mend, expect Neuvirth to get most (if not all) of the nods in D.C. (Source: Washington Post.)
7:30 PM ET game
Thrashers at Lightning
Likely Thrashers starter: Chris Mason – Considering Ondrej Pavelec’s scary fall, it’s not surprising that Mason will be the starter tonight. He’s a perfectly suitable backup/1b anyway.
Likely Lightning starter: Mike Smith – Perhaps Dan Ellis is serving a one-game suspension for using Twitter too much? This could be an interesting goalie duel in Tampa Bay. (Source: Tampa Bay Lightning’s Twitter page.)
8:00 PM ET games
Flyers at Blues
Likely Flyers starter: Brian Boucher – Some might be surprised that Sergei Bobrovsky won’t get the start, but with Michael Leighton out 6-8 weeks it’s wise to give both goalies a fair shake at the top job. (Source: Philadelphia Flyers Twitter Feed.)
Likely Blues starter: Jaroslav Halak – I really like the Blues goalie rotation, but they have very clear roles: Halak is the starter and Ty Conklin is the backup. Halak should be pretty familiar with the Flyers as they were the team that splashed a bucket full of reality on the Montreal Canadiens’ hot streak during the playoffs.
Ducks at Predators
Likely Ducks starter: Jonas Hiller – Last night was a rough one for the Swiss goalie, but the team doesn’t have many goalie options outside of him. Expect him to take the majority of the starts, even on back-to-back days. (Source: OC Register.)
Likely Predators starter: Pekka Rinne – With Dan Ellis in Tampa Bay, most of the day-to-day intrigue about who might start for Nashville is gone. Expect Rinne most nights.
8:30 PM ET game
Red Wings at Blackhawks
Likely Red Wings starter: Chris Osgood – Much like the Flyers with Sergei Bobrovsky, the Red Wings are allowing their 1b a start even though Jimmy Howard earned a goose egg against the Ducks last night. I think it’s a good move, even though Osgood tends to need smelling salts before the playoffs begin. (Source: Ansar Khan.)
Likely Blackhawks starter: Marty Turco – There will be some pressure on Turco to succeed as Chicago raises its Stanley Cup banner tonight. Luckily, this game isn’t in Detroit, so Turco at least has a chance to succeed. (Source: Chris Kuc.)
10:00 PM ET game
Kings at Canucks
Likely Kings starter: Jonathan Quick – I’m on record of saying that the other Jonathan (Bernier) could be a genuine threat to steal the top job (or at least promote himself from “1b” to “1a”), but so far the Kings are resolute in saying that Quick is their man. (Source: Los Angeles Times.)
Likely Canucks starter: Roberto Luongo – Vancouver is more or less married to Luongo for … oh, the next decade or so. Unless Corey Schneider pulls a Tuukka Rask and steals the starting job during the season, of course.