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Shots on Goal: Flame Getting Torched

Peter Maingot

Peter Maingot

Peter has been covering fantasy sports for Rotowire for over 10 years. He's covered hockey, football and basketball over the past decade but now focuses strictly on the frozen game. From the Great White North, Peter is a strong proponent of physical, up tempo hockey.

Shots on Goal: Points of Interest
by Peter Maingot, RotoWire Writer

In this week's edition of SOG we're going to take a look at every team where there's either a time-share in nets, a possible goalie change in store, or simply other factors affecting what's transpiring between the pipes.

Boston:

Tim Thomas had two shutouts in eight days and also chalked up a 3-2 win after the second shutout. The defense is starting to heal with Mark Stuart back in the lineup and Andrew Ference day-to-day. Injuries on defense can usually do one of two things: either expose a lack of depth within the organization or allow youngsters an opportunity to prove they belong in the NHL as top-six D-men. It would appear that the latter scenario has occurred with the Bruins, as both Canadian stay-at-home defender Adam McQuaid (who's not afraid of dropping the gloves with 64 PIMs in 33 games and a plus-14) and American offensive defenseman Steve Kampfer (four points in his last four games/an average of 3:27 on the PP) have played beyond expectations. With Kampfer's prowess on the power play it will be a difficult choice as to who to drop from the lineup for head coach Claude Julien once all the rearguards are healthy.

Calgary:

The New Year has not been very kind to Miikka Kiprusoff, who's allowed four goals or more in four of his seven starts this calendar year. Not surprisingly, he's been pulled in two of those seven starts. Kipper's 3.83 GAA in 2011 is frightening for his owners. There also has to be some concern among his owners over playing time going forward. Henrik Karlsson, the highly regarded 27-year-old rookie, has had two starts in 2011 (he's 1-1 with a 3.03 GAA) and he may begin to see a larger share of the starts. While Calgary is just eight points out of a playoff spot, there are five teams between them and eighth place Chicago. It's time to blow it up and rebuild.

Chicago:

Corey Crawford is 4-2-1 in 2011 with a 1.70 GAA and two shutouts while Marty Turco is 1-0 in 2011 with a 3.02 GAA. That was only Turco's second win since Nov. 17. Turco has allowed three goals or more in seven of his past eight starts. Meanwhile Crawford has allowed less than three goals in eight of his last 10 starts. The numbers don't lie and explain why the pendulum has swung strongly in Crawford's favor.

Colorado:

Craig Anderson, who's won his last two starts, is 2-2-1 in 2011 with a 2.19 GAA. Peter Budaj, though 2-1 in 2011, can't seem to allow less than three goals in any game. It has been 13 starts in a row now that Budaj has allowed three or more goals per game. Not since Nov.12, a 5-1 win at Columbus, that Budaj has allowed less than three goals in a game. Anderson need not worry about Budaj but should be worried somewhat about the amount of shots that Anderson is facing each game. The Avs have allowed an average of 33 shots per game in Anderson starts in 2011.

Columbus:

Steve Mason is 2-2-1 in 2011. Unfortunately for his owners he's posted a save percentage of .846 or lower in three of those five starts. Mathieu Garon, who is winless in his last six starts, last won a game Dec. 21. He is 0-3-1 with a 3.75 GAA in his four starts in 2011. Bottom line: expecting anything substantial for your fantasy team from any Columbus goalie these days would be foolhardy.

Detroit:

The Wings continue to play without Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Stuart, and Daniel Cleary. The good news is that Jimmy Howard is expected back in the lineup Thursday at St. Louis. Howard's record thus far in 2011 is less than impressive (2-1-0 record, 4.27 GAA and .885 SV%), but given the sample size we're not overly concerned. Certainly his peripherals for the season - 2.83 GAA and .906 SV % -- are less than what was expected of him when owners made an early-round investment on him. That being said, Howie's 22-7-3 mark is certainly helping in the wins category.

Edmonton:

The Oilers are 2-7 in 2011. They've just lost their best offensive player, Ales Hemsky, to a concussion. That's after their best player this season - defenseman Ryan Whitney - was lost for the season after undergoing ankle surgery. It's been a trying season to be sure. Nikolai Khabibulin is 0-6 in 2011 with a 3.85 GAA. In five of his six starts he's posted a save percentage below .894. Not all the news in the Oil patch is bad, however. Devan Dubnyk is 2-1 in 2011 with a 2.33 GAA, stopping 89 of 96 shots. No. 1 center Shawn Horcoff , who missed 21 games with a knee injury, is set to return to the lineup while promising rookie Jordan Eberle (ankle, appendectomy) and top-nine forward Gilbert Brule (upper body) are both day-to-day.

Florida:

Tomas Vokoun is 2-2-1 in 2011 with a 2.87 GAA and one shutout. Backup Scott Clemmensen is 3-1-1 in five starts in 2011 with a 2.39 GAA. Clemmensen also saw action in one other game, Jan. 5 vs. Atlanta when Vokoun was pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots in 26 minutes. The Panthers have a chance to get back significant assets in any trade deadline deal involving Vokoun. Were Vokoun traded, Clemmensen would be a serviceable No. 3 or 4 fantasy goalie keeping the spot warm for the Panthers' anticipated eventual successor Jacob Markstrom (taken 31st overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft).

Los Angeles:

Jonathan Quick is 1-5 in 2011 with a 2.85 GAA. In only two of those six starts did Quick manage to register a save percentage higher than .893. Quick owners can be encouraged by the fact that he's picked up his play in the last three games allowing only a total of eight goals. The problem has been the offense lately, as they'd scored just four goals total in their last three contests. Backup Jonathan Bernier is 1-2 in 2011 with a 3.32 GAA.

Minnesota:

Niklas Backstrom shut out Calgary 6-0 on Wednesday in his first game back after missing time with a hip injury. Backup Jose Theodore missed out on a great opportunity by being injured himself (hip) during the latter stages of Backstrom's absence. Thus No. 3 goalie Anton Khudobin was given three starts and went 2-1 with a 1.59 GAA and .940 SV %. Khudobin's most impressive feat was his shutout win over Vancouver. Amazingly, the Wild are just one point out of a playoff spot. Perhaps even more incredible is the fact that leading scorer Martin Havlat has played in all 47 games for the Wild.

New Jersey:

Martin Brodeur began the year terribly - getting pulled after three goals in just eight minutes of play at Carolina. The numbers were brutal, a 22.50 GAA and .571 SV %. The good news for Brodeur owners is that he has righted the ship since. Brodeur has posted a 3-1 record with a 2.49 GAA in four starts since the Carolina implosion. Brodeur may be worth a roto roster spot after all and worthy of use as a No. 3 guy for contending squads. Backup Johan Hedberg has one win in 10 appearances since Nov. 27.

NY Islanders:

Rick DiPietro, who has won his last four starts, is 2-0 with a GAA under 2.70 in just 86 minutes of hockey in 2011. Kevin Poulin is 1-1-1 in four starts in 2011 with a 2.87 GAA. The Islanders are playing for jobs and they're 3-4-1 in 2011. Still, you'd have to be pretty desperate to rely on either DiPietro or Poulin for steady production for your fantasy team. 

Ottawa:

Brian Elliott has lost his last nine starts and been abandoned by the Senators offense, or lack thereof. The Sens have potted a mere 11 goals in Elliott's last nine games. Meanwhile, Pascal Leclaire (lower-body injury) has missed the past 13 games and there's no end in sight. Sens fans are looking forward to clearing Leclaire's $3.8 million annual salary off of their books next season. Swedish rookie goalie Robin Lehner, drafted 46th overall in 2009, won in his first NHL start stopping 30 of 34 shots against the Islanders. Lehner is a name to remember for the future but the Sens would be wise to use him sparingly during this lost season.

Philadelphia:

Sergei Bobrovsky is 3-0 in 2011 and he's posted a save percentage of .920 or higher in each start while allowing exactly two goals in each game. Brian Boucher is 4-1 in 2011 with a 2.61 GAA. They will continue to share the goalie starts in Philly until the team trades for a proven bona fide No. 1 NHL goalie. Though both goalies are performing admirably this Flyers team has an excellent chance at winning the Stanley Cup and it would seem foolish of them not to try and acquire a top-notch goalie by the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

San Jose:

The Sharks may have shaken their losing spell but owners of Antero Niittymaki continue to suffer, as he's 0-3 in his last three starts with a 4.01 GAA. Moreover, he's only played two games in 2011, both losses of course. Antti Niemi may only be 3-4 in 2011 but he's posted a 1.98 GAA over that time frame. More importantly, he's won his last two games stopping 62 of 66 shots. Thursday's game at Vancouver will be a big litmus test for both Niemi and the rest of the Sharks as they attempt to get back into the playoff picture currently sitting three points out of a playoff spot.

Tampa Bay:

Dwayne Roloson is 4-3 since his trade from the Islanders. Rollie's play has fluctuated quite a bit in that seven-game span. He's had two shutouts yet he's also been pulled from two starts and he's allowed four goals or more in three of his seven starts. That makes him pretty hard to spot start. You just have to plug him in nightly and hope for the best!

Toronto:

The Leafs are who we thought they were - a dreadful hockey team with a blowhard GM who loves to see his name in the papers every day. Brian Burke has made some terrible acquisitions over the last few years, especially on defense. Dion Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin have all been gross disappointments. The Leafs' asking price for any of them must be reduced, especially if anyone saw their performance in the Leafs' 7-0 drubbing by the Rangers on Wednesday. Jonas Gustavsson is now 6-13-2 with a 3.28 GAA and a .890 SV %. Perhaps they should send Gustavsson down to the minors to rebuild his confidence. That would allow them to bring James Reimer back up. Reimer is 4-2 in six starts with Toronto this season posting a 2.27 GAA and .930 SV%. They may also want to showcase Jean-Sebastien Giguere for a trade. Giguere, who missed 11 games with a groin injury, stopped 31 of 32 in his first start since his return. Thursday's match with Anaheim will be his first start against the Ducks since getting traded by them nearly a year ago.

Washington:

Both No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov and No.1A Michal Neuvirth are day-to-day with undisclosed lower-body injuries. Neither goalie is expected to be out for more than a few days. The Caps have called up Braden Holtby. Holtby has played five games for Washington posting a record of 2-2-1 with a 3.84 GAA and .845 SV%. At this point the Caps have to be concerned over how injury prone each of their 22-year-old goalies are. The two Caps goalies have combined to be absent for at least parts of 33 games due to either injury or illness (source: Katie Carrera, Washington Post). Rarely has Washington had both of their two top goalies healthy at the same time, roughly in just a third of their games thus far this season.