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 – 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 was out for five games before returning with a vengeance from a wrist injury with a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers last week. The Lightning goaltender stopped 34 shots from the Rangers in the win. He did have one bad game in a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks, but that didn’t do much to hurt his 1.90 GAA. Bishop is 23-6-4 on the season and has won six of his last 10 starts. The Lightning goaltender’s .935 save percentage makes him the tops in the league in that category just ahead of Harding. As the health of Bishop’s wrist improves its scary to think he should also improve as the season goes on for one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. If the Lightning can keep Bishop healthy, they should travel deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs and continue to be a great bet when he is in goal.
3: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins – It’s hard not to love the efforts of Fleury lately as he is currently riding a five-game winning streak between the pipes for the Penguins. A 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals gave Fleury his league-leading 27th win of the season. As Fleury continues to play for a team that is a favorite to make another run at Lord Stanley’s cup, he has a .917 save percentage. With an offense that backs him up with 3.2 goals per game, Fleury is easily one of the top goalies to back in the NHL right now as his team leads the Eastern Conference with 70 points. If he stays healthy and shows any improvement as the season goes along, it will be hard to deny the Pens of another title and even harder to bet against Fleury.
4: Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues – Elliott is a spot-starter for the Blues and until a pair of tough losses recently, he had won seven straight starts dating back to a shutout win over the Edmonton Oilers on December 21st, 2013. He may not be the regular starter for the Blues, but Elliott’s numbers lead the team’s goaltenders in just about every category. Elliott’s impressive 1.87 GAA is considerably better than teammate G Jaroslav Halak’s 2.29 GAA in just 11 more starts than Elliott. The back-up also has a .922 save percentage that leads the squad. Let’s just say it’s a good problem to have if you’re St. Louis’ coach Ken Hitchcock who is leading one of the Western Conference’s best teams. So keep an eye on the starters and if you see Elliott between the pipes for the Blues don’t hesitate to back him.
5: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – Rask suffered a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs this week in his only game before taking a night off as his team beat the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Thursday. Before his last appearance, Rask shutout the San Jose Sharks on the road in a 1-0 victory on January 11th. With the Bruins ranked No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, Rask is a popular goaltender to back this season because his team scores 2.9 goals per game. Rask’s respectable 2.11 GAA makes the Bruins a hard team to beat on any given night that he starts. It also helps that he’s stopping the puck at a high .928 rate on the season. Rask and the Bruins have a couple of tough tests on the schedule this week with the Chicago Blackhawks on the road Sunday and a challenge at home from the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
6: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings – Since the decision has been made to trade G Ben Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers, we have been made to flip-flop these two on our Top 10 this week. Quick has returned to the line-up and been effective scoring a shutout in a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks last week. He followed that performance up with an impressive outing in a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues where he recorded 29 saves in the win. Since returning on January 4th with a 3-1 win over Vancouver, Quick’s save percentage is .944 (.918 for the season) and he has a 1.71 GAA in that seven game span. Los Angeles is the best defense in the league, so it’s no surprise they were the only team with two goalies in our Top 10 giving up just 2.0 goals per game. With Quick jumping back in net, the Kings will be an even better team to back as long as he stays healthy.
7: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens – Price has been strong in net for the Canadiens this season and even though he gave up five goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs, we know he is still one of the best in the league between the pipes. He stopped 40 shots in a 5-4 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday for his 22nd win on the year. A high .924 save percentage helped Price keep his spot even after suffering losses in two of his last three outings. Montreal has one of the best defensive teams in the league allowing just 2.3 goals per game and killing penalties 86.1 percent of the time. The team will go as Price goes and we expect to see him continue to be a solid option in goal for Montreal and a great guy to bet on when he plays some of the better teams in the league.
8: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks – It isn’t always pretty with Hiller, but the safe assumption with this guy is to say all he does is win games this season. The Ducks are flying away with the best record in the league and Hiller has played his part in this successful season. For instance, his shutout of the Detroit Red Wings in a 1-0 win this week helped him get his 23rd win of the year. That win capped off a nine game win streak in which Hiller never gave up more than three goals in any one game. The Chicago Blackhawks ended his streak with a 4-2 triumph on Friday, but Hiller still had 34 saves in the contest. Whether it’s just Hiller’s hot hand or the Ducks’ hot sticks scoring 3.4 goals per game, Hiller will continue to be a safe bet as long as Anaheim is alive in the playoffs.
9: Ben Scrivens, Edmonton Oilers – Scrivens fell three spots this week while we allowed his former teammate Jonathan Quick to jump into his spot on the Top 10 list. Wins and losses aren’t everything for these goaltender’s, but the biggest reason for Scrivens plummet is his five consecutive losses in which he has given up a total of 18 goals. Scrivens made his debut for Edmonton on Thursday and gave up four goals on 33 shots in a 4-1 loss. He’s still pretty solid with a .928 save percentage and 2.09 GAA on the season, but he will need to pick up some wins to stay on this list. Unfortunately for Scrivens, this trade has taken him from the penthouse to the outhouse as far as the Los Angeles Kings are compared to the Oilers. Edmonton ranks 30th in the league with 3.5 goals against per game, and Scrivens is being charged with trying to make up for that.
10: Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks – The race of the Vancouver goaltenders to get on this list continues as Eddie Lack has once again stayed just ahead of G Roberto Luongo on our Top 10. Lack has done all he could in his last two starts giving up just one goal in each game, but both of those games resulted in 1-0 losses where the Canucks attack struggled to get anything going. Through those struggles, Lack has stayed strong with a 2.18 GAA and a .922 save percentage on the season. As it is, the goalies in Vancouver are trying to cover up for the league’s 20th ranked scoring attack at just 2.5 goals per game so their close battle must continue if this team is to make the playoffs. For now, if they’re putting Lack in the goal he’s still a good bet to keep this team in close contests.
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.