Ryan Miller played four games in a row before yielding to Patrick Lalime this past Saturday. Miller, who had suffered a groin injury earlier in November and missed five games, didn’t feel 100 percent on Saturday. As a result, he could miss Wednesday’s game against the Penguins, although he returned to practice on Monday. Lalime is 0-4 this season, so the Sabres obviously have a better chance of winning with Miller in net. If Miller sits out on Wednesday, it is just precautionary, so he should be back starting very soon.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets have given Steve Mason every chance to keep his starting goalie job. Up until recently, he’s done all he could to lose it. Mason has started five of the past six games, winning four of those, including a 27-save shutout of Nashville on Monday. Meanwhile, backup Mathieu Garon is 5-1 with a 1.08 GAA and a .960 SV%, both leading the league. He has three shutouts this season, including this weekend when he stopped all 35 shots in a win at San Jose – not exactly the easiest place to play. Even if Mason continues to play well, expect Garon to get his fair share of starts. He is definitely one of the better backups in the league right now.
Nikolai Khabibulin won his first two starts of the season. Then he remembered he played for the Oilers and proceeded to lose eleven of his next thirteen games. His goals-against is over 4.00 and his save percentage is below .900. He was placed on the IR last week with a groin injury and will be out indefinitely. The Oilers have used Devan Dubnyk in his absence, and he has made the most of his opportunity. He’s allowed five goals in two games, going 1-0-1, but faced 82 shots in those two games. Martin Gerber, who hasn’t started in the NHL since 2009, should be a nice insurance policy or alternative if Dubnyk starts to struggle. And while I wouldn’t advise having an Oilers goalie on your team, Dubnyk has shown that he at least deserves a shot if you are thin at goalie.
New Jersey Devils
Martin Brodeur’s infamous left elbow is at it again. Brodeur, who was originally hurt in Chicago back on November 3, re-aggravated the elbow on Thursday in a 3-1 loss to the Maple Leafs. Johan Hedberg played the third period, and it was assumed that Hedberg would get the next start after it was announced that Brodeur would be out for two weeks. However, New Jersey started Mike McKenna Saturday in a 3-2 loss at St. Louis before going back to Hedberg Monday night. Hedberg responded in a big way with a 30-save shutout in a 5-0 win over the Capitals. Starting three different goalies three games in a row is something that has not happened in New Jersey in a very long time. But Hedberg will be the starter until Brodeur gets back. This is the reason they signed an experienced netminder in the offseason: to give Brodeur a rest, or to have someone capable in case he got hurt. Fantasy owners “may” be flocking the waiver wires this week to look for Hedberg, but keep in mind that he entered Monday with a not-so-hot 4.53 GAA and a .855 SV% in six games this season.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Despite the teams fast start, neither goalie has been playing well. Mike Smith has won three in a row, but he has allowed three or more goals in eight of twelve appearances. Dan Ellis is coming off of one of the worst starts by any goalie this season, allowing four goals on ten shots in 15 minutes of an eventual 8-7 win over the Flyers in a crazy game last week. For now, Smith looks like the guy, as has allowed just one goal in each of his past two games, including a 3-1 win over Boston on Monday.
Other situations to monitor
Colorado Avalanche: With Craig Anderson back, will Peter Budaj see some more starts as Anderson eased back into action?
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier have alternated starts the past five games, although Quick looks like the better option right now.
New York Rangers: Although Martin Biron received his second consecutive start Monday, Rangers coach John Tortorella said that Henrik Lundqvist would be back between the pipes Wednesday.
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