Chris Mason has started six of nine games for the Thrashers. He hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of his past six games. Mason came in relief on Saturday for Ondrej Pavelec, and got a win for the Thrashers in overtime, even though they were trailing 3-0 on the road to the Flyers. Pavelec allowed three goals on only 12 shots in two periods of work. Despite the rough outing, Pavelec got the start Tuesday against the Devils. Pavelec played better, but was still on the wrong end of a 4-2 game. Atlanta has a pretty tough schedule from here on out, and isn’t likely to remain in the playoff picture for much longer. So despite Pavelec’s good stats this season, don’t expect a lot more victories from him the rest of the way.
Peter Budaj has started two of the past three for the Avs, who can’t seem to buy a win these days, having lost 18 of 19 games. I’ve never been a fan of Budaj – he’s had too many chances and never plays well consistently. A 3.19 GAA and .895 SV% aren’t numbers that you like to see from a goalie. In his past eight starts, he’s allowed three or more goals in all of them. Brian Elliott, acquired a month ago, has not won any of his five starts with Colorado, allowing 20 goals in less than five full games of work. I didn’t realize just how bad he was until I looked at the stats: 13 wins, 32 losses. Elliot has just ONE win in his past 20 starts. It doesn’t matter who they are starting these days, I wouldn’t touch either of these guys with a ten-foot pole.
Craig Anderson allowed four goals in 22 minutes in Sunday’s eventual 6-4 loss to the Sabres. He had sat the previous game against the Lightning, a 2-1 win in which Curtis McElhinney played brilliantly stopping 34 of 35 shots. McElhinney only allowed two goals in two periods of relief on Sunday. Despite playing well recently, McElhinney had allowed three or more goals in his previous six games- all with the Ducks. Anderson started Tuesday night against the Penguins and allowed five goals on 41 shots in a 5-1 loss. Anderson had only allowed four goals in back-to-back games one other time this season, and had allowed four goals in a game only once in his brief tenure with the Senators before this. The Sens are clearly a mess right now and I wouldn’t recommend starting or picking up either of these guys for the remainder of the season.
The NHL’s leading team in terms of wins and points, Vancouver has had brilliant play from their goaltenders all season long. Backup Cory Schneider is 13-3-2 with a 2.27 GAA and a .927 SV%. In five years with the team, Roberto Luongo has not gotten the Canucks to past the second round of the playoffs. He will be better rested this season, as Schneider will get half the starts in the final three weeks of the season. Schneider has started two of the past five games (both wins), and is one of the hottest backups in the league. He is definitely worth the pickup if he is around in your league.