NHL Goalie Report for 1/12/2014

Bet at 5dimesYou’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 – Harding hasn’t played a game since New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean we think he still isn’t the best goalie to back in the league. He didn’t finish up 2013 with all that good of a run, allowing seven goals in two games against the Islanders and the Blues. However, with the best GAA in hockey at 1.66 and the second best save percentage at .933 to go with three shutouts, we have little doubt that Harding is still the man we want on our side when push comes to shove in the second season. It’s anyone’s guess when Harding is really going to be right again with his battle with MS, but if he can get over it, he has proven to be one of the deadliest net minders in the game.

2: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning – Bishop is another one of these goalies who is going to be out for the next few weeks with a wrist injury, but in the end, we just can’t ignore how good he has been this year for the Lightning, who have been starved for a great goaltender for years. Bishop is 22-5-3, arguably giving him the best record in the league this year, and he has a 1.86 GAA with a .935 save percentage. He hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game since giving up five to the Capitals back on December 10th, and that run on nine games is one of the best runs we have seen out of any goalie in the league this year. Bishop is clearly a stud, and as long as he proves to rehab his wrist properly, he should come back as one of the best in the biz as well.

3: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins – The bottom line with Fleury is that no other goalie has more wins this year than he does, and it isn’t even all that close. He has 26 wins in 37 games in the pipes, and he is part of the reason why the Penguins haven’t lost a game at home since the middle of November. Though a .918 save percentage and a 2.24 GAA don’t really scream tremendous success at this level, when you have what very likely is the best team in the league on your side in front of you, you can afford to give up a few more goals than the average net minder. Fleury remains one of the best in the league, and we think he is the best healthy goalie to back on a regular basis right now.

4: Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues – Elliott isn’t the main goalie for the Blues, but perhaps he should be. He has a much better GAA than G Jaroslav Halak (1.87 vs. 2.31), and his save percentage is significantly better, too (.925 vs. .911). Elliott has the benefit of having one of the best teams in the league in front of him, and he has the most brutal defense to try to get around as well. So sure, if you picked up Elliott and put him on one of the worst defensive teams in the league, we don’t think that he would be good enough to be on this list. But check of these last eight games! Elliott is 7-1-0 with a total of 11 goals allowed, and he has a pair of shutouts to show for his work and hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any of those games. That’s about as good as it gets, and it certainly makes Elliott one of the best five goalies right now to back in the league.

5: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – Rask, just like so many of the other goalies on this list, has had his problems of late. He has allowed at least three goals in four of his last six starts, and he has allowed at least five in two of those six as well. That’s a drag on a goalie who is supposed to be one of the most consistent rocks in the game. All that said, a 2.06 GAA is still one of the best marks in the league, and the shutout on the road against the Sharks on Saturday night moved Rask up to five clean sheets for the season, the best mark in the NHL to boot. He’s got that .930 save percentage as well, but more important is the fact that he has such a great pedigree and history, and he is playing for a great team. We just can’t take Rask out of our Top 5, even in his current relatively suspect form.

6: Ben Scrivens, Los Angeles Kings – We’re going to knock down Scrivens just a bit thanks to the fact that he isn’t the starting net minder on a regular basis any longer in Tinseltown. However, it isn’t just that. Scrivens allowed three goals in each of his last four games, and he didn’t get the win in any of those outings. That drops him to a much more modest 7-5-4. His splits of a 1.97 GAA and a .931 save percentage are both still far too good to keep him out of the Top 10, but we are becoming very leery of what might be coming down the line with Scrivens in the games in which he is replacing the excellent G Jonathan Quick, who is now once again healthy and on top of his game.

7: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens – There was a bit drop off for Price over the course of his three games right after the Christmas break and into the new year. He allowed a total of 13 goals in three games, though is important to point out the fact that he faced at least 32 shots in all of those games as well. Price has since gotten back on the horse and picked up a pair of wins in games in which he has allowed just one goal in each outing, and that raises him up to 21-11-4 with a 2.19 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Elliott’s rise has caused us to knock Price down a notch, but we know that he is still one of the best goalies in the game and is one you should consistently be looking to back.

8: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks – For weeks, we kept G Corey Crawford on this list in spite of the fact that he really was never one of the best statistical goalies in the game. Now, it’s Hiller’s turn to take that title away. Hiller is just 19th in the game in save percentage at 2.42, and he has a relatively suspect .912 save percentage, but we know that he has an awesome team in front of him as well. The Ducks are running away with the best record in hockey, and that’s thanks to the fact that they have a whopping 18-0-2 record while playing at the Honda Center. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau is consistent over the course of his career at sticking with the man who has the hot hand, and though Hiller isn’t always the most consistent net minder, he keeps finding ways to win games, and we can’t discount him now.

9: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings – The Kings have the best defense in hockey, so it shouldn’t be all that shocking that they also have the only team in the league with a pair of goalies ranked in our Top 10 in our Goalie Report. Quick is back from his injury which cost him the whole month of December and parts of November as well, and he has been excellent since that point. He is 2-1-1 in his four games back, and he has allowed just a total of seven goals in the four games. That’s the form we expect to see Quick in, and though his .909 save percentage is the lowest of any goalie on this list, his 2.22 GAA and his reputation proceed him. He’s a great candidate for the Top 10, and we have to think that he is going to be flying back up this list as the weeks go on.

10: Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks – The argument could be made that G Roberto Luongo is the goalie who should be on this list for the Canucks, but we aren’t shy about saying that Lack is the man that should be in the pipes either. Lack has a 8-3-3 record, and he has a pair of shutouts on the year. On top of that, he has a 2.19 GAA and a .923 save percentage, both numbers of which are better than what Luongo is boasting. Lack struggled a bit at the outset of the year, but he has rebounded with a 2-1 win over the Blues, and any time you can stand toe to toe with St. Louis for a full 60 minutes regardless of where the game is being played at, you know you’ve done your job.

Adam Markowitz

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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