You’re always going to want to make sure that you have a team on your side that is going to have a goalie you can trust. These are some of the best goalies in our estimation that you are going to want to be on the lookout for in NHL betting action this year!
1: Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild – It’s amazing that Harding went from a man who rarely played last season to one who played in the playoffs thanks to an injury to G Niklas Backstrom to one who literally has been the best goalie in hockey this year. Harding has literally wrestled the job away from Backstrom, and there is no doubt that he is the man that this team is going to live with and die with for the foreseeable future. Harding hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game since November 1st, and he has only been beaten once since October 19th. He has a 3-1 record in shootouts as well, proving that he can do it in game and in the most pivotal moments with extra points on the line, too. These last five games in net, he hasn’t gotten more than three goals of support, but he is finding ways to win. The Wild are a great bet right now, and Harding is one of the major reasons why.
2: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning – The goalie situation isn’t an issue in Tampa Bay any longer. With C Steven Stamkos out for the next few months with a broken leg, the Lightning are going to need great play in net. Bishop has given them just that, leading the league with 13 wins against just two defeats. Bishop had led the team to six straight wins before he was injured in a bad game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, and though he didn’t get the loss that night, the team was beaten 6-3. Prior to that though, the Bolts’ net minder had gone eight straight games allowing two goals or fewer.
3: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – It’s really tough to ding Rask here, but we are going to have to knock him down from the top line to #3 this week. His 10-5-1 record is about all that we are hurting him for, because his 1.68 GAA and .943 save percentage are awesome. Rask was beaten up by the Ottawa Senators last week, allowing four goals in the process, and that marks the third time since the last week of October in which he has allowed three goals or more in a game. Rask has to improve, and we are confident that he is still one of the best goalies in the entire league.
4: Ben Scrivens, Los Angeles Kings – You know that G Jonathan Quick is the man that is going to start more often than not for the Kings, but it is really tough to overlook what Scrivens has done this year in his eight outings. He has a 4-1-1 record and a 1.24 GAA, tops in the league. He also has a .955 save percentage and a stunning three shutouts, two of which have come in consecutive starts. Will Scrivens stay on this list for the entire season? Probably not. However, he was an underdog in his games against both the Devils and the Rangers, and he managed to win both games with shutouts. We hope that Scrivens gets a chance to play his first game in LA soon, knowing that he has only played in road games, most of which have come on the East Coast this year.
5: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars – Lehtonen has won three straight and six out of seven starts, and he has really started to build numbers to be proud of at this point in the campaign. He is 10-3-2 with a 2.01 GAA and a .934 save percentage, and the argument could be made that he should be in a lot better shape than this in our pecking order. If he keeps this up, Lehtonen won’t just one of the Top 5 goalies in the league. He’ll be one of the top men period. Dallas has gotten fortunate with Lehtonen this year, and they hope that he can keep it up.
6: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins – Fleury is only ranked 17th in save percentage this year, but the bottom line is that he makes up for it by having a great offense in front of him. Still, with losses in four of his last five starts, we have a genuine cause for concern right now, especially since one of those losses came at -240 against the Philadelphia Flyers. All that said, it would really help if the club would give him more than just one goal of help, and that’s been all that he has gotten in those four losses. We know that a man with a 2.06 GAA is going to end up being a heck of a lot better than this in the long run on a good team.
7: Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks – If the standard here is wins, Crawford is tied for the league lead for the most of them with 13. He has been beaten six times this season, though three of those have come in either overtime or shootouts. Here’s what makes backing Crawford dangerous. He’s 8-2 in his last 10 games, which is a great sign. However, his two losses came as -172 and -253 favorites. That’s why we can’t put Crawford further up on this list in spite of the fact that he has been very good on a very good team. The oddsmakers have caught up to him and his mates, and it is going to take a lot better set of numbers to have us this high on the Blackhawks’ net minder.
8: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils – Do we really like backing a man who is 41 years old and is playing in his 22nd NHL season? No, we really don’t. However, it’s tough to argue with the numbers that Marty has put up this year, especially of late. He is only 6-3-2 on the campaign, but he has wins as +161 and +193 underdogs this year, and that’s surely going to help matters out. He is 6-1 in his last seven starts, and the one that he lost was a 1-0 game at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers. In his last six games, Brodeur has a pair of shutouts and just a total of five goals allowed. He’s a stud right now, and that 1.98 GAA is really hard to overlook.
9: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks – The Sharks virtually never give Niemi a day off, and though that might cause some burn out later in the season, for now, we have all sorts of confidence that he is one of the best men in the pipes in the league. Niemi is only 27th in the league in save percentage at .912, and that’s a scarily low number. Still, a great team in front of him and a 2.29 GAA are both solid numbers, and that’s why he is one of the select few goalies who have at least 10 wins thus far on the season. It would be a shame to leave him off of the list of the best 10 goalies in the game right now.
10: Robin Lehner, Ottawa Senators – We’re not going to see a whole heck of a lot out of Lehner this year, but we have seen him win his last three starts, albeit against suspect competition. Lehner is only 3-2-2 on the season, but his .945 save percentage and 2.13 GAA definitely speak volumes. The Senators aren’t dominating this year by any stretch of the imagination, but it is worth keeping an eye on backing Lehner, who has some good value on his side at this point in the season.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.
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