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Darryl's Dispatch: Staying Patient

Darryl Houston Smith

Darryl is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and in 2011-12 won the CBSSports.com Experts Fantasy Hockey League title. Find more of his work at ProHockeyWeekly.com or BlogTalkRadio. Follow him on Twitter at @dhoustonsmith.


Last week the Wild played a pair of crazy improbable games. On October 27th, they traveled to New York for a game against the Rangers and then would head off to Boston to complete about as tough a pair of back-to-back road games as you're going to see this season. The Ranger game featured Henrik Lundqvist and Darcy Kuemper while the Bruins game featured Tuukka Rask and Niklas Backstrom. Four pretty good goalies, eh? Well, in just 24 hours the splendid four all had games to forget: Henrik Lundqvist: four goals on 30 shots; Darcy Kuemper: five goals on just 20 shots; Tuukka Rask: four goals on 42 shots; and Niklas Backstrom: three goals on 28 shots. WTF!? After totally out playing the Rangers for two periods the Wild led 3-0. In the third period, things got quickly out of hand and the Wild lost that first game 5-4. This was a classic example of a team – in this case, the Wild – losing control of a game after they stopped being aggressive and setting the pace. Note that Minnesota plays a particularly strong two man fore-check and, when the will is there, this aspect of the Wild can give anyone fits.

The next night in Boston, the Wild fell behind 3-1 after two periods but in the third their two-man fore check was reenergized and the Wild fed off that energy and stormed back to win 4-3. "I think a lot of it started in the second period," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We started playing on our heels, we stopped playing on our toes and being first to the puck, or at least create the battle. We should have been the fresher team tonight. That should have been the case. We knew they were going to compete hard; that's the way that team plays all the time. It was up to us to push the pace all night long and we didn't do that. Wild coach Michael Yeo added. "The way the back-to-back games all worked out, I'm not too disappointed," Yeo went on to say. "We learned a couple lessons on the trip. We learned that we can't take our foot off the gas when you have the lead and we learned that we can come back if we stay with it."

Just a couple of lessons indeed. For the fantasy manager, these kind of nights will happen from time to time. My simple message to you is that you can't afford to get caught up in the moment of last night's game good or bad because, when you do, you set yourself up to make rash mistakes. A veteran fantasy manager would stick to the script and if they had both, they would have played both Wild goalies. How many people didn't start Backstrom after the Wild loss in New York the night before? Inexperienced fantasy managers are often guilty of just such a maneuver. Avoid the temptation of over-managing. Remember, things in the NHL have a way of balancing out over the long haul, so play your key goalies each night and you will be sitting pretty when the pendulum swings back your way.

Goalie Recall Strategy

The Devils placed goaltender Scott Clemmensen on waivers this past Monday. If he clears waivers (and he should), Clemmensen will be sent to Albany. With Corey Schneider starting all 11 games so far, the need for a backup has been limited. Clemmensen has made just two relief appearances this season, and sports an ugly 6.49 goals-against average to match a dismal .765 save percentage. So the move makes total sense. For now Keith Kinkaid is likely to be recalled. But, stranger things have happened. If you have the roster space AND have both Devil goalies (Schneider and Clemmensen) it makes sense to add Kinkaid short term but only if you use them as your first pair since Clemmensen's stay in Albany is likely to be brief. Everyone else should pass.

The Ducks have temporarily, at least, lost John Gibson who incurred a lower-body injury during the pregame warmups against Colorado this past weekend. Jason LaBarbera will replace Gibson for now as he did earlier this season. The win over Colorado left the Ducks at 3-1-0 on the road trip. With Frederik Andersen at less than100% the Ducks have been forced to juggle their goalies a bit. They even briefly suited up goaltending consultant Dwayne Roloson, just in case. But, the 45-year-old former NHL goalie did not enter the game.

Goalie Injuries Strategy

Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is headed to the IR (fractured finger). Curtis McElhinney will be called upon to replace him short term (likely 2 weeks). The Blue Jackets have also recalled Anton Forsberg. With Columbus slumping as of late (losers of five straight contests), it would be wise to exercise a little caution before deploying McElhinney. If you own both Bobrovsky and McElhinney as your first tandem, then it's perfectly acceptable to roll with McElhinney and add Forsberg if you have the room on your bench. It will be a tough couple of weeks but likely no worse than it has been lately for you. All other owners should stay clear of McElhinney and Forsberg for the time being.

Goalie Forecast Strategy

A quick reminder of the color key: Tier I is green. Tier II is yellow, Tier III is blue and Tier IV is red. To help you find your first goalie's backup a little quicker, you will find that all backups share the same color as their team's starter. (For example, since Rask is green all other Boston goalies will be green as well.)  Here are the 40 goalies that have had the biggest impact so far.

Goalie Stats to Date:

RANK PLAYER TEAM GP WINS SO 1W+2SO
1 Marc-Andre Fleury PIT 9 7 3 13
2 Darcy Kuemper MIN 8 6 3 12
3 Ryan Miller VAN 9 8 1 10
4 Pekka Rinne NSH 10 7 1 9
5 Frederik Andersen ANA 8 7 1 9
6 Jonathan Quick LAK 10 5 2 9
7 Henrik Lundqvist NYR 9 5 2 9
8 Antti Niemi SJS 9 6 1 8
9 Carey Price MON 10 7 0 7
10 Ben Bishop TBL 10 7 0 7
11 Jonas Hiller CGY 8 5 1 7
12 Ondrej Pavelec WPG 11 5 1 7
13 Brian Elliott STL 8 5 1 7
14 Cory Schneider NJD 11 6 0 6
15 Ben Scrivens EDM 10 4 1 6
16 Roberto Luongo FLA 8 4 1 6
17 Tuukka Rask BOS 9 5 0 5
18 Jimmy Howard DET 9 5 0 5
19 Jonathan Bernier TOR 8 3 1 5
20 Braden Holtby WAS 8 3 1 5
21 Ray Emery PHI 6 4 0 4
22 Kari Lehtonen DAL 9 4 0 4
23 Sergei Bobrovsky CBJ 8 4 0 4
24 Jake Allen STL 3 2 1 4
25 Jaroslav Halak NYI 7 3 0 3
26 Robin Lehner OTT 5 3 0 3
27 Corey Crawford CHI 6 3 0 3
28 Chad Johnson NYI 5 3 0 3
29 James Reimer TOR 5 3 0 3
30 Devan Dubnyk ARI 4 2 0 2


Here is a forecast of the games for the early part of November. This chart goes pretty far out so remember to use the watch list feature of your RotoWire subscription to track the day-to-day changes that will no doubt occur. (As part of your membership you can have updates sent directly from RotoWire to your email.) This tool is critical for those in daily leagues but, as the season continues, you will find that this handy forecast will be pretty accurate. In the coming weeks, more detailed goalie analysis will be added to the forecast but this is what you need for now. Until then, remember watch those out-of-town broadcasts. You can be certain that your league's leaders are.

DATE AWAY AWAY GOALIE HOME HOME GOALIE EDGE
WED NOV 5, 2014 MONTRÉAL Carey Price BUFFALO Jhonas Enroth Carey Price
WED NOV 5, 2014 DETROIT Jonas Gustavsson NY RANGERS Henrik Lundqvist Henrik Lundqvist
WED NOV 5, 2014 NY ISLANDERS Jaroslav Halak ANAHEIM Jason LaBarbera Jason LaBarbera
THU NOV 6, 2014 EDMONTON Viktor Fasth BOSTON Tuukka Rask Tuukka Rask
THU NOV 6, 2014 FLORIDA Roberto Luongo PHILADELPHIA Steve Mason Roberto Luongo
THU NOV 6, 2014 MINNESOTA Darcy Kuemper OTTAWA Craig Anderson Darcy Kuemper
THU NOV 6, 2014 CALGARY Jonas Hiller TAMPA BAY Ben Bishop Ben Bishop
THU NOV 6, 2014 NEW JERSEY Cory Schneider ST. LOUIS Brian Elliott Brian Elliott
THU NOV 6, 2014 PITTSBURGH Marc-Andre Fleury WINNIPEG Ondrej Pavelec Marc-Andre Fleury
THU NOV 6, 2014 NASHVILLE Pekka Rinne DALLAS Kari Lehtonen Kari Lehtonen
THU NOV 6, 2014 TORONTO Jonathan Bernier COLORADO Semyon Varlamov Semyon Varlamov
THU NOV 6, 2014 NY ISLANDERS Chad Johnson LOS ANGELES Jonathan Quick Jonathan Quick
THU NOV 6, 2014 VANCOUVER Ryan Miller SAN JOSE Antti Niemi Antti Niemi
FRI NOV 7, 2014 EDMONTON Ben Scrivens BUFFALO Michal Neuvirth Michal Neuvirth
FRI NOV 7, 2014 COLUMBUS Curtis McElhinney CAROLINA Cam Ward Cam Ward
FRI NOV 7, 2014 NEW JERSEY Keith Kinkaid DETROIT Jimmy Howard Jimmy Howard
FRI NOV 7, 2014 WASHINGTON Braden Holtby CHICAGO Corey Crawford Corey Crawford
FRI NOV 7, 2014 ARIZONA Mike Smith ANAHEIM Frederik Andersen Frederik Andersen
SAT NOV 8, 2014 CALGARY Jonas Hiller FLORIDA Roberto Luongo Roberto Luongo
SAT NOV 8, 2014 PITTSBURGH Marc-Andre Fleury BUFFALO Jhonas Enroth Marc-Andre Fleury
SAT NOV 8, 2014 NY RANGERS Henrik Lundqvist TORONTO James Reimer Henrik Lundqvist
SAT NOV 8, 2014 MINNESOTA Darcy Kuemper MONTRÉAL Carey Price Carey Price
SAT NOV 8, 2014 WINNIPEG Ondrej Pavelec OTTAWA Craig Anderson Craig Anderson
SAT NOV 8, 2014 COLORADO Semyon Varlamov PHILADELPHIA Ray Emery Ray Emery
SAT NOV 8, 2014 TAMPA BAY Evgeni Nabokov COLUMBUS Anton Forsberg Evgeni Nabokov
SAT NOV 8, 2014 CAROLINA Anton Khudobin WASHINGTON Justin Peters Justin Peters
SAT NOV 8, 2014 NASHVILLE Pekka Rinne ST. LOUIS Brian Elliott Brian Elliott
SAT NOV 8, 2014 SAN JOSE Alex Stalock DALLAS Kari Lehtonen Kari Lehtonen
SAT NOV 8, 2014 NY ISLANDERS Jaroslav Halak ARIZONA Devan Dubnyk Jaroslav Halak
SAT NOV 8, 2014 VANCOUVER Ryan Miller LOS ANGELES Jonathan Quick Jonathan Quick
SUN NOV 9, 2014 TORONTO Jonathan Bernier OTTAWA Robin Lehner Robin Lehner
SUN NOV 9, 2014 TAMPA BAY Ben Bishop DETROIT Jimmy Howard Jimmy Howard
SUN NOV 9, 2014 EDMONTON Viktor Fasth NY RANGERS Cam Talbot Cam Talbot
SUN NOV 9, 2014 SAN JOSE Antti Niemi CHICAGO Corey Crawford Corey Crawford
SUN NOV 9, 2014 VANCOUVER Ryan Miller ANAHEIM Frederik Andersen Frederik Andersen
MON NOV 10, 2014 NEW JERSEY Cory Schneider BOSTON Tuukka Rask Tuukka Rask
MON NOV 10, 2014 CALGARY Jonas Hiller CAROLINA Cam Ward Cam Ward
TUE NOV 11, 2014 MINNESOTA Darcy Kuemper NEW JERSEY Cory Schneider Cory Schneider
TUE NOV 11, 2014 COLORADO Semyon Varlamov NY ISLANDERS Jaroslav Halak Jaroslav Halak