NHL Betting Goalie Report for 1/31/2014

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 – We get it, Harding still hasn’t played a single 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 New York Islanders and the St. Louis 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. Though he has been able to practice lately, it’s anyone’s guess when Harding is really going to be right again with his battle with MS. 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 played just 1:49 on Thursday night as he left the net he dove head first to challenge Ottawa Senators F Mika Zibanejad for the puck and was struck on the back of his head by teammate Nikita Kucherov’s knee and skate. A goal was scored on the play with Bishop down on the ice far away from the net. Before Thursday, the Lightning goalie had won three of his L/4 starts and six of his 10 starts in the month of January. His 2.01 GAA this season makes him No. 4 in the league in that category. Bishop is right up there with Harding for the second best save percentage at .932 on the year. There is no immediate timetable for Bishop’s return to the Lightning other than to say he is day-to-day. With the Olympics break just around the corner and Bishop not a participant, this should help to soften the blow for Tampa Bay who is a different hockey team without its best goalie.

3: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins – Fleury recorded his fourth shutout of the season in Monday’s 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the 29th win of the season for Fleury who leads the NHL by a lot in that category. The Penguins net minder is 7-2 in January and has put up a 2.66 GAA this month. Fleury’s 2.26 GAA on the year ranks him No. 6 in that category. If Fleury can continue this recent tear he has been on the Penguins will be one of the hardest teams in the NHL to beat come playoff time. Fleury started the new year with five straight wins and is getting some of the best goal support in the league to help his efforts. Thanks to a fourth ranked offense that scores 3.2 goals per game, we believe Fleury is the best healthy goaltender in the league to get your money behind right now.

4: Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues – Elliott had a bad game in his only start this week giving up three goals to the New Jersey Devils before coach Ken Hitchcock pulled him just 12:17 into the contest. As the spot starter behind G Jaroslav Halak, Elliott has put up a 13-4-2 record this season. Elliott continues to lead the team with a 2.06 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Elliott has one less shutout (3) than Halak (4) in 13 less games this season. The Blues are having a fabulous season thanks to the efforts of their goaltenders who continue to give Hitchcock the best problem to have in the NHL. We feel that the Blues are a good team to back no matter who skates between the pipes, but Elliott gives this team their best chance to win games.

5: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – Rask was not able to last his entire start last time out as he gave up three goals and was pulled midway through the second period against the Montreal Canadiens. Before that, he was quite impressive with back-to-back wins earlier in the week with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers and a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Back on January 11th, Rask put up a 26 save shutout over the San Jose Sharks on the road in a 1-0 victory. Rask’s 2.12 GAA ranks him No. 4 in the league among starting goalies this season. He also has an elite save percentage at .928 ranking him third in the NHL among the starters. With the No. 5 ranked scoring offense in front of him, Rask is always a good guy to back when his team averages 3.0 goals per game. As we look ahead to the Olympics, Rask will be in net for Team Finland trying to bring a medal back to the Bruins.

6: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings – Quick had a pair of rough outings this week, he was given a quick hook on Thursday after giving up three goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first period. Sandwiched between six losses was an impressive shutout over the San Jose Sharks in a 1-0 win last Monday. Quick hasn’t been the problem for a Kings team that owns the league’s best defense. This team’s scoring seems to have hit a wall and will hopefully get it going when they return from the Olympic break. Quick will be one of the three goalies in uniform for Team USA during the Olympics. His 2.13 GAA ranks him fifth in the NHL among starters and he’s also the owner of three shutouts this season. Our faith in Quick has not been shaken by recent losses and we will continue to back him as long as he isn’t the problem in Los Angeles.

7: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens – Price rebounded from some rough performances lately with a shutout 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. He recorded 36 saves to earn his third shutout of the season. Prior to the shutout, Price had suffered through four straight losses where his team only gave him five total goals in support. Price was rested on Thursday and should get one more start before he heads to Sochi to help Team Canada try to defend its Olympic Gold Medal. He will take with him a 2.44 GAA and .921 save percentage that he has accrued thus far in the 2013-14 season. When Price returns from Sochi, he will hope to find more support from the NHL’s 24th ranked scoring offense that puts up just 2.4 goals per game. While wins and losses aren’t everything to get on this list, Price will need to pick up some wins in the coming weeks to move up our rankings.

8: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks – Hiller has been on this list awhile for being a solid goalie on an offensively loaded team. This week, Hiller did some heavy lifting of his own in a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings last Saturday. It was his fourth shutout of the year and the second one he has posted this month. Hiller’s 24-7-4 mark makes him one of the highest percentage plays when backing a goalie in the NHL this season. Next week, Hiller will be headed to Sochi as he will represent his native Switzerland in the Olympic Games. A 2.39 GAA has been the perfect weapon for a team that ranks No. 3 in scoring with 3.0 goals per game. This is a guy any bettor should feel comfortable backing on any given evening he happens to be between the pipes. Hiller has a .914 save percentage this season and as of right now is a strong candidate to move up this list if he keeps winning games.

9: Ben Scrivens, Edmonton Oilers – It was impressive and gave Scrivens a heck of an argument to move back up this list. Of course, we’re talking about his 59 save shutout on Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks. It was perhaps a perfect example of what Scrivens has to do to win any games with a scoring offense that ranks 18th and a scoring defense that ranks 30th in the league. It has to have been a huge adjustment for Scrivens who came over to Edmonton from the top-ranked defense with the Los Angeles Kings. Earlier in the week, Scrivens saved 35 shots in a 5-1 win over the Nashville Predators. Quick math tells us that means he has saved 94 of the last 95 shots that have been fired at him. If Scrivens continues his current tear you will see him moving back up this list after he fell three spots in the last edition. For now, continue backing him and we’ll wait to see if he can stay hot.

10: Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks – Lack hasn’t done anything to hurt his standing on this list the last couple of weeks. Mostly because he hasn’t been put in a single game since the last time we updated the standings. In just 14 starts, Lack has two shutouts and has allowed only five goals in his L/3 starts including two one-goal games where his team was shutout. Lack’s teammate and normal starter G Roberto Luongo has started the L/5 games and played well enough to not get pulled. So the book on Lack right now is to wait until you see he’s starting and be sure to back him. Whenever he does get his next start he should be absolutely fresh from the time he has spent on the bench recently. Lack’s impressive 2.18 GAA and .922 save percentage numbers are both higher than those of Luongo who has also had a strong season with a 2.30 GAA and .920 save percentage. As coach John Tortorella continues to serve a 15-day suspension, we should see Lack get a start when the coach is allowed to return to the bench.

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.