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Sergei Bobrovsky, Panthers (Since March 1: 9-0-0, .894 Sv%, 2.96 GAA)
Bobrovsky has won nine consecutive decisions, believe it or not, even though he was shot twice a week and half ago against the Devils and Leafs (respectively) after allowing a combined 10 goals on just 39 shots in 62 minutes.
His performances are mercurial, but even at his best, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of confidence in Bobrovsky. It’s a good thing, then, that the Panthers play the Wings (twice), Isles, Sens and Habs in five of their remaining nine games because those should be easy wins. Fantasy managers just have to be aware that the wins will come with mediocre save percentages and the occasional high GAA. Keep Spencer Knight rostered because he’ll definitely play more, but the Panthers have been pretty stubborn about sticking with Bobrovsky.
Mike Smith, Oilers (April totals: 4-0-0, .932 Sv%, 2.24 GAA)
Perhaps the Oilers should’ve stuck with Smith, who won four straight games before ceding consecutive starts to Koskinen, who ended up losing both games. It’s been difficult to figure out the Oilers’ goaltending situation, but Koskinen’s 5-1 loss to the Wild on Tuesday likely means Smith will start next.
It’s a tough schedule ahead; there are three games against Central Division teams who are currently in playoff position, two more against Pacific Division rivals fighting for a playoff spot and a two-game road trip to Columbus and Pittsburgh. Fantasy managers should still have both goalies rostered, but there’s no question Smith has produced better results lately.
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Linus Ullmark, Bruins (April totals: 2-1-0, .928 Sv%, 1.97 GAA)
Ullmark has started five of the last nine games, slowly taking the bigger share of the pie once again. The Bruins have not committed to either Ullmark or jeremy swayman as their No. 1 all season, and it’s worked most of the time, but Swayman’s 4-2 loss to the Blues means Ullmark could start Thursday against the Sens. If he wins — and there’s a good chance he will — that means likely another start against the struggling Pens before facing the Blues and Pens again on the road. Ullmark’s definitely a candidate for a spot start due to favorable matchups in the coming days, though fantasy managers should ideally continue to roster both until one really stands out.
Samuel Montembeault, Canadiens (7-15-6, .896 Sv%, 3.59 GAA)
A season-ending injury to Jake Allen means Montembeault is back in the spotlight with Cayden Primeau backing him up. The Habs have lost six of their last eight with Montembeault losing consecutive games with seven goals allowed, but he’s still a better option than Primeau, who has struggled all season with a 1-7-1 record and .868 Sv%. He’s unlikely to see much action, especially with Carey Price now traveling with the team.
The franchise goalie is expected to make an appearance before the end of the season, and when he’s ready to go, he will automatically take back the starting job. His return date from him is still TBD, but until then, fantasy managers can at least deploy Montembeault to rack up saves.
Honorable Mention: Jacob Markstrom, Flames; Scott Wedgewood, Stars; Juuse Saros, Predators; Ville Husso, Blues; Thatcher Demko, Canucks
Jack Campbell, Erik Kallgren, Maple Leafs (April totals combined: 21 GA in 6 GP, .887 Sv%)
Kallgren got his second straight start after beating the Habs, 3-2, but then lost 5-2 against the Sabers. There are some very tough opponents remaining, including a three-game trip through Tampa, Florida and Washington, and then the season finale against the Bruins. How the rotation plays out the rest of the season is anyone’s guess, but neither Campbell nor Kallgren are reliable options at this point. The Leafs also have only one reliable defender in morgan riellyand unless Austin Matthews goes off, which is often but unfair to expect every game, there’s little chance either Leafs’ goalie can provide positive contributions in fantasy.
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Tristan Jarry, Casey DeSmith, Penguins (April totals combined: 1-4-1, .903 Sv%, 3.33 GAA)
It was an interesting decision to start DeSmith against the rival Isles on Tuesday. Mike Sullivan said the Pens were managing Jarry’s workload, but you can’t help but think that it was a wake-up call — only it backfired with DeSmith allowing four goals in an eventual shootout loss. It was the second straight start for DeSmith, who was victorious against the Preds in his last start.
But now that both goalies are struggling, it’s put the Pens in a bad position as they jostle for playoff seeding. Jarry will likely start next, also against the Isles, and he’s 9-1-0 in his career against them, but fantasy managers should really hold off on both. Even though the Pens’ remaining schedule doesn’t look difficult, note that two of the bottom feeders they will face, the Flyers and Jackets, often put up a good fight.
Dishonorable Mention: Karel Vejmelka and Harri Sateri, Coyotes; Jake Allen, Canadians; Carter Hart and Martin Jones, Flyers