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.
There are six games on the docket tonight, so let’s get right to it.
7:00 PM ET games
NY Islanders @ Washington
Likely NY Islanders starter: Dwayne Roloson – For all the doubts I (and many others) have expressed about their goalie rotation, a “healthy” Rick DiPietro and Roloson is actually a pretty competent duo. Roloson receives his first start of the season tonight, but it’s against the high-powered Capitals so you might just want to stay away from this altogether. (Source: Katie Strang of New York Newsday.)
Likely Capitals starter: Michal Neuvirth – It looks like Semyon Varlamov might need a little more time to heal up from minor injuries, so if you made Neuvirth a short-term goalie pickup (or “hand cuffed” him to have the Caps’ goalie duo) then you’re probably feeling moderately intelligent right now.
New Jersey @ Buffalo
Likely New Jersey starter: Martin Brodeur – The Devils are a bit of mess right now, so it’s not much of a surprise that they’re turning to the one constant in the organization beyond GM Lou Lamoriello: Marty Brodeur. (Source: Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.)
Likely Buffalo starter: Ryan Miller – Again, it will be a rare night to see Miller on the bench for Buffalo. Don’t expect tonight to be one of those nights, even if he’s gotten off to a rotten start.
7:30 PM ET games
Toronto @ Pittsburgh
Likely Toronto starter: Jonas Gustavsson – Although J.S. Giguere has been great so far (*cough* contract year *cough*), the Leafs want to give “The Monster” a chance to prove himself, too. He’ll get a serious challenge, too, as the Penguins are putting a lot of shots on net (but not in the net) so far this season. (Source: Jonas Siegel.)
Likely Pittsburgh starter: Marc-Andre Fleury – The Penguins earned their first win of the season on Monday. But it was against a comically depleted Devils roster. And it was on the road. And Brent Johnson played that game. Fleury tries to get his first win of the season while the Penguins try to make their third game in the new Consol Energy Center a charm. Should be interesting to watch. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)
Tampa Bay @ Montreal
Likely Tampa Bay starter: Mike Smith – Smith should push Dan Ellis for starts, as long as the big goalie is healthy (never a guarantee, sadly). (Source: Tampa Tribune.)
Likely Montreal starter: Carey Price – Price was absolutely fantastic against the Pittsburgh Penguins in his last start, so the Habs goalie must be feeling pretty good right now. Things can always go dark, especially in Montreal … especially against French-Canadian scorers such as Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Simon Gagne. (Source: Habs Inside Out.)
8:30 PM ET game
Nashville @ Chicago
Likely Nashville starter: Anders Lindback – It seems like the Predators’ No. 1 goalie gets injured every year; it’s a sick tradition like “Saw” sequels that extends back to Tomas Vokoun’s days between the pipes. Pekka Rinne is hurt, so Lindback reportedly will get his chance to become the new Chris Mason or Dan Ellis. (Source: The Tennessean.)
Likely Chicago starter: Corey Crawford – Is it crazy to wonder if Marty Turco is a Cristobal Huet in cheap goalie’s clothing? OK, it’s a little crazy, but Crawford gets another start after winning the Blackhawks’ first game of the season. He will face a team that gave Chicago a lot of trouble in the playoffs but doesn’t have a staggering arsenal of offensive weapons. Keep an eye on Crawford as he could be Antti Niemi-lite this season if he keeps this up. (Source: Adam Jahns.)
10:00 PM ET game
Vancouver @ Anaheim
Likely Vancouver starter: Roberto Luongo – After an up-and-down 2009-10 season, Luongo is looking pretty sharp so far. He’ll be facing an angry Anaheim team, though, so he’ll have to be on top of his game. Unless the Ducks really are as horrible as they looked in their first three games, of course.
Likely Anaheim starter: Jonas Hiller – The Ducks really don’t have any other options. It’s not as if the three losses were all Hiller’s fault, but he needs to start earning that fat extension he signed last season. (Source: OC Register.)