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 – 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 survived any serious injury in a game with the Ottawa Senators where he was struck in the head by a teammate’s skate while trying to make a play on the puck. He returned in the very next game to shut down the Montreal Canadiens in a 2-1 overtime win. Just before the Olympic break, Bishop saved 33 shots on goal in a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. His 1.98 GAA is near the top of NHL standings in that category as is his .933 save percentage. The Lightning have been missing some of their offensive fire power with C Steven Stamkos out for the bulk of the season and that has left it up to Bishop to keep opposing teams off the board. We feel comfortable telling you to back Bishop against anyone in the league as the Lightning can only get better from here. Bishop’s 28-8-3 record ranks him No. 3 in the league in the win column.
3: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins – Fleury has the most wins in the NHL thus far with 31 on the year as he has the league’s fourth best scoring offense playing in front of him. The Pittsburgh net minder has had an outstanding L/5 starts with a .944 save percentage that included his fourth shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Fleury has a 2.23 GAA on the year to go with a .919 save percentage. The reason we like to back him so much is an offense that scores 3.1 goals per game and the league’s second best penalty killers that stop power play units at an 87 percent clip. If Fleury can continue to get that kind of support every time he starts, he should run away with the most wins in the league. As he prepares for another deep playoff run with the Pens, Fleury will be a guy you want your money on when the chips are down.
4: Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues – Elliott continues to have the best season of any back-up goaltender in the league. He won his last two starts before the break the first of which he stopped 28 shots in a 4-3 shootout win over the Nashville Predators. In the second he again stopped 28 shots in a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. Elliott is 15-4-2 this season which gives him just as many as some starters. Playing behind starter G Jaroslav Halak, Elliott continues to give coach Ken Hitchcock one of the best problems to have in all of the league. The Blues are armed with the NHL’s second highest offense scoring 3.3 goals per game that would make any net minder look good. As we head down the stretch, it will be interesting to see if Elliott earns some more starting nods from Hitchcock as the games get more meaningful for this team that is trying to hold off the Chicago Blackhawks for the Central Division title.
5: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – Rask is having a career year for the Bruins as they put a little distance between themselves and the Lightning in the Atlantic Division standings just before the break. The Bruins have leant Rask to Finland during the Olympics and he had a rocky start giving up four goals on 20 shots, but his team won the game 8-4 over Austria. Rask was solid in his last outing as he stopped 24 shots in a 3-2 loss to the potent St. Louis Blues in overtime. His GAA of 2.11 ranks him No. 5 in the league in that category and a .928 save percentage has him fourth. Playing behind an offense that scores 3.1 goals per game, Rask gets all the support that he needs to win most of his starts. The season Rask is having combined with a great offense makes him a solid net minder to back on any given night.
6: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings – Quick has hit a rough patch in an otherwise solid season of late as he has lost eight of his L/10 starts. The Kings goalie has gone off to Sochi as part of Team USA and he had a solid outing in the opening game as he stopped 21-of-22 shots he faced in a 7-1 win over Slovakia. Quick did have a great game just before the break as he stopped 24 shots in a 2-1 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Los Angeles has the league’s top defensive unit giving up 2.1 goals per game, unfortunately the Kings are among the league’s worst offenses scoring just 2.3 goals per game. When the offense is clicking, Quick is nearly unbeatable evidenced by his 14-5-1 record before these L/10 games where he has gotten next to no goal support. We expect to see the Kings get it going again when they return from break and for Quick’s solid play to continue.
7: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens – Price is a very hot goalie right now having won his L/3 starts for the Canadiens. He recorded his fourth shutout of the year in a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames back on February 4th. In his last start before the break, Price stopped 31 shots from the Carolina Hurricanes in a 4-1 win. Price is one of the goalies representing Team Canada in the Olympics right now. In his first start he stopped 19-of-20 shots he faced in a 3-1 win against Norway. In his L/6 starts for the Canadiens Price had an astounding 1.17 GAA and a .966 save percentage. Montreal has been very effective on the penalty kill as it stops opposing power plays 86 percent of the time making it No. 3 in the league. Playing with one of the league’s strongest defensive units and a respectable offensive unit makes Price a very popular pick to click every night.
8: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks – By no fault of Hiller’s he has lost three of his L/4 starts, but has only given up nine goals in those games while his team was shutout twice. Hiller won his last start before the break by saving 36 shots in a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Anaheim’s offense scores 3.2 goals per game this season, but has slowed down of late scoring just 2.4 goals per contest in the L/10. Hiller is having a great season he has a 2.34 GAA and a .917 save percentage on the year. We expect to see the Ducks offense rev it back up after the break and help Hiller add to his 25 win total. The Ducks net minder must also bring his best to keep his team atop the Pacific Division where they hold a sizeable lead over the San Jose Sharks. This will be Hiller’s time to shine as the playoffs near and the pressure will be at its highest point to beat the league’s top teams.
9: Ben Scrivens, Edmonton Oilers – We realize Scrivens may be a little low on our list, but for the moment we will keep him right here until he has spent a little bit longer with his new team. Scrivens put up a 59 save shutout in just his fourth game with the Oilers in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks back on January 29th. In his last outing before the break, Scrivens saved 35-of-36 shots he faced in a 2-1 win against the New York Rangers. This season he has a 1.98 GAA and a .937 save percentage in 22 starts. Scrivens is definitely a solid goalie to back on any night as he has shown the capability to shut teams down all on his own. If he keeps up his current pace we will have no choice but to move him up higher on our list.
10: Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks – Lack has lost a couple games recently, but has been given absolutely no support having lost his L/5 starts all of which came on the road. In his last start before the break he made 27 saves in a 2-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. He was also a victim as he took a 1-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in a game where he made 22 stops. Lack has been on the short end in seven of his L/8 starts that has taken his record to 8-8-3 on the season. Unfortunately his offense scores just 2.4 goals per game, but seems to be even worse when he does get to start. We have no doubts in Lack’s ability to be a solid net minder in the NHL, but if he doesn’t get this turned around after the break we may have some new blood in the Top 10 next week.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.