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.
It might be an emotional night for many hockey fans, but as a fantasy hockey team owner, you need to have a steely resolve and a cold heart. Choosing the right goalies and players is the key to victory, so we’re here to help to the best of our abilities.
7:00 PM ET games
Carolina @ Ottawa
Likely Carolina starter: Cam Ward – The Hurricanes might have played in Finland, but they certainly received a solid break to recover from the trip. Ward should be well-rested, which is important, because the Hurricanes have a rough schedule up ahead. They’re going to need the best from Ward in this trip, so we’ll see if the team can beat an ailing but angry Ottawa team. (Source: Canes Country.)
Likely Ottawa starter: Pascal Leclaire – Frankly, I’m surprised the Senators are being so loyal to Leclaire. Are they trying to get their money’s worth the “hard” way since he’s the higher paid of the two goalies? Is Brian Elliott a mess? Leclaire won’t be able to say that he hasn’t been getting a fair chance, though. (Source: Silver Seven Sens.)
Tampa Bay @ Philadelphia
Likely Tampa Bay starter: Dan Ellis – Mike Smith got the win against the Montreal Canadiens, but he didn’t have to do much to earn the victory. Considering the fact that it’s a back-to-back situation and this is a solid goalie rotation, Ellis is the likely starter. (Source: Raw Charge.)
Likely Philadelphia starter: Brian Boucher – Boucher was great in his first start, so the Flyers’ system of rotation goalies seems like it might be pretty steady for the time being. (Source: Flyers Twitter feed.)
8:00 PM ET game
St. Louis @ Nashville
Likely St. Louis starter: Jaroslav Halak – It seems like both Halak and Carey Price are doing well now that they aren’t breathing down each others’ neck. Expect Halak to get most of the starts in St. Louis, aside from maybe the occasional breather. (Source: Louie Korac.)
Likely Nashville starter: Anders Lindback – Word is that Pekka Rinne is starting to feel better, but Lindback will get the start tonight and might get another game or two before their No. 1 returns. Beating Chicago probably justifies another start, anyway, right? (Source: The Tennessean.)
8:30 PM ET games
Detroit @ Dallas
Likely Detroit starter: Chris Osgood – It seems like a steady rotation in Detroit, too. Certainly worth keeping an eye on that if you’re a Jimmy Howard owner … you might want to add Osgood for fantasy hockey goalie insurance purposes. (Source: Craig Custance.)
Likely Dallas starter: Kari Lehtonen – As long as he’s healthy, Lehtonen should be the starter most nights in Dallas.
Edmonton @ Minnesota
Likely Edmonton starter: Nikolai Khabibulin – So far, “The Bulin Wall” has been so sturdy, you would think he is in a contract year or something. The Wild aren’t exactly a high-powered offense, so he has every opportunity to continue his strong play. (Source: Edmonton Oilers Twitter.)
Likely Minnesota starter: Niklas Backstrom – Backstrom is a stunning 12-0 at home against the Oilers in his career, so it seems pretty reasonable to start him in this one. (Source: Minnesota Wild Twitter.)
9:30 PM ET game
Florida @ Calgary
Likely Florida starter: Tomas Vokoun – Both teams feature stout goalies who play a lot of games and don’t see a lot of goal support. Should I start the “When will Vokoun get traded?” pool yet? (Source: Steve Goldstein.)
Likely Calgary starter: Miikka Kiprusoff – For better or worse, it’s another year of depending on Kipper for the Flames. (Source: Matchsticks & Gasoline.)