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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Best ones able to bounce back

by Justin Goldman

Every Thursday during the season, fantasy hockey correspondent Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top-30 rankings to trending players and more, Goldman will be your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.


No matter where you go, goalie coaches around the NHL are of similar opinion. The best goaltenders in the world rarely have two bad games in a row.


The 2014-15 NHL season is in full swing, so has you covered with weekly fantasy hockey positional rankings, real-time spin updates and waiver wire advice.

Considering how often we have documented the rise of talent over the past three years, now more than ever, goalies simply can't expect to remain fantasy-relevant amidst a losing streak.

A perfect example recently transpired with the Colorado Avalanche.

Reto Berra stopped 123 of 132 shots in four preseason games (a .932 save percentage) as well as 104 of 112 shots (a .929 save percentage) through his first four regular-season games (2-0-1). But after suffering consecutive home losses against the Toronto Maple Leafs (Nov. 6) and Washington Capitals two weeks later (Nov. 20), the hot start had started to wear off. Then things suddenly changed.

On Nov. 22, Berra gave up three goals on 10 shots in the first 16:50 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Then on Nov. 25, he gave up three goals on his first eight shots to the Arizona Coyotes. Some of those goals came through heavy traffic or shots off his own teammates, but regardless of fault or shot quality, after that game against Arizona, it was the Calvin Pickard show in Colorado for a stretch until Pickard was returned to the American Hockey League earlier this week.

This proves expectations are so high for NHL goalies that even two bad starts can damage their reputation as a reliable asset. Backups have an even tougher time posting quality starts following a loss, because they not only play less frequently, but they often play on the tail end of a back-to-back set.

Ultimately, it comes as no surprise that the top two goalies in our latest top-30 fantasy rankings have the best bounce-back stats (performances following a regulation or overtime loss) so far this season.

The Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne is a perfect 4-0-0 in games following a loss with a near-flawless .972 save percentage, stopping 104 of 107 shots including a 31-save shutout on Oct. 17. That's more fuel to his Vezina Trophy fire, especially when you consider his comeback from injury woes last season.

Marc-Andre Fleury
RECORD: 14-4-1
GAA: 2.08 | SVP: .928
The Pittsburgh Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury now has a perfect 5-0-0 record in games after a loss. He has stopped 144 of 149 shots in those games (.966 save percentage), including two shutouts.

Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins is 5-1-1 in seven games following a loss with a .923 save percentage. Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings is 5-3-1 with a .934 save percentage. Neither has lost more than two games in a row in regulation this season. The other top-five goalie, Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is 4-1-0 in five games with a .949 save percentage, and like Crawford, he too has not allowed more than two goals against in games directly following a loss.

The Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford may feel embarrassed about his recent off-ice injury, but not his bounce-back skills. He's 5-1-0 in six games with a .951 save percentage and one shutout. More importantly, he has not allowed more than two goals in any of the six games following a loss.

Jimmy Howard
RECORD: 11-5-4
GAA: 2.23 | SVP: .916
The Detroit Red Wings' Jimmy Howard is 5-1-1 in seven bounce-back games with a .940 save percentage and one shutout. He has not lost consecutive games in regulation yet this season.

However, not every fantasy-relevant goalie is having success in this situation. Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens is 4-2-0 in six games following a loss, but with an .899 save percentage. Jaroslav Halak of the New York Islanders is 1-3-0 with an .881 save percentage in games following a loss. Ryan Miller of the Vancouver Canucks is 4-0-0 following a loss, but has a .903 save percentage, allowing three or more goals in three of those games.

Regardless of how they happen, losses kill. They can wreck your weekly matchups and they can turn your Sunday Fun-day into a miserable Monday. But if you know who is more likely to bounce back from those losses, you'll have more confidence making those tricky lineup decisions when the situation arises.

Jhonas Enroth
RECORD: 6-9-1
GAA: 2.96 | SVP: .916

Jhonas Enroth, Buffalo Sabres

During his current three game winning streak (5-1-0 in his past six games), he has allowed just five goals on 102 shots. He went nearly 300 minutes without allowing an even-strength goal and his .936 even-strength save percentage is sixth among goalies playing 10 games or more.


Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators

Allowing three or more goals in six straight games, Anderson is now 0-3-1 in his past four, allowing 14 goals on 142 shots for a .901 save percentage.


Ilya Bryzgalov, UFA

With Jason LaBarbera on injured reserve, Bryzgalov has been invited to try out with the team that selected him 44th in the 2000 NHL Draft. He hasn't played since May 13, but could still provide solid relief for Frederik Andersen, who has now started 13 consecutive games.


These modified re-rankings are a projection of a goalie's fantasy output for the entire season. Our ranks are based on volume categories like games played, wins, saves, goals-against average (GAA) and save percentage (SV%). The plus or minus for each player is movement based on our most recent rankings from last week (NR means not ranked in previous rankings). It is important to note that our rankings reflect sheer fantasy value, not talent. A less-talented goalie could be ranked higher due to their team's strong defense and offense.

1 Pekka Rinne, NSH (SAME) 16 Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ (-3)
2 Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT (+1) 17 Frederik Andersen, ANA (+5)
3 Jonathan Quick, LAK (-1) 18 Kari Lehtonen, DAL (-6)
4 Ben Bishop, TBL (SAME) 19 Darcy Kuemper, MIN (+1)
5 Tuukka Rask, BOS (SAME) 20 Jake Allen, STL (+1)
6 Carey Price, MTL (SAME) 21 Braden Holtby, WSH (-2)
7 Jaroslav Halak, NYI (+2) 22 Semyon Varlamov, COL (NR - IR)
8 Jimmy Howard, DET (+2) 23 Jonas Hiller, CGY (SAME)
9 Craig Anderson, OTT (-2) 24 Robin Lehner, OTT (+1)
10 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (-2) 25 Ondrej Pavelec, WPG (-1)
11 Ryan Miller, VAN (SAME) 26 Karri Ramo, CGY (NEW)
12 Cory Schneider, NJD (+2) 27 Cam Ward, CAR (-1)
13 Antti Niemi, SJS (+2) 28 Michael Hutchinson, WPG (+1)
14 Jonathan Bernier, TOR (+2) 29 Devan Dubnyk, ARI (-1)
15 Roberto Luongo, FLA (+2) 30 Jhonas Enroth, BUF (NEW)

Dropped out: Mike Smith, Michal Neuvirth

Key injuries: Corey Crawford, Brian Elliott, John Gibson, Jonas Gustavsson, Jason LaBarbera

NR - IR: Not ranked last week because of injury

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