#Betting101: NHL Goalies Falling Like Flies

Jason Lake

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 9:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2018 9:26 PM UTC

The most important position in hockey is under attack. Goaltenders just can’t seem to stay healthy these days, and it’s having a major impact on the NHL odds board.

Oh dear. Just when it looked like the Washington Capitals were out of the woods, somebody threw goaltender Philipp Grubauer off the roof of the Nakatomi building. OK, it’s just an undisclosed injury suffered during Monday’s game against the New York Rangers; Grubauer (.923 save percentage) “tweaked” something after taking a shot off his right arm. Former No. 1 Braden Holtby (.906 SV%) will take over between the pipes. Uh-oh.

The Capitals aren’t the only team with goalie issues. Injuries have become a widespread problem across the league at every position, including in net – and we can take advantage with our NHL picks. Betting on hockey is a lot like betting on baseball: The goalies run the show, as do the starting pitchers. Let’s take a look around the league and see where the gold is at.

Dallas Stars

Sometimes our plans go awry. We though Kari Lehtonen would do a fine job filling in for Ben Bishop earlier this month against the Nashville Predators, and he did – but Dallas (+166 away) lost 2-0. Then Bishop (.916 SV%) was shelved with a recurring knee injury, and Lehtonen (.912 SV%) turned to dust before our eyes; Dallas has won just two of his last 11 starts, falling out of playoff position in the Western Conference. Sheesh.

Philadelphia Flyers

On the other hand, we were on the right track with Petr Mrazek. He’s been awful since joining the Flyers, posting a .885 save percentage in 13 starts. Philadelphia is 5-5-3 behind Mrazek, so it hasn’t been a total disaster, but it’ll be very happy to get Michal Neuvirth (.915 SV%) back in action Wednesday. Of the four goalies the Flyers have used this year, Neuvirth is the only one with a positive Goals Saved Above Average at 1.36.

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Hot take: The Blackhawks miss Corey Crawford. Like, a fair amount.

— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 19, 2018

Chicago Blackhawks

Things went south for Chicago right about the same time Corey Crawford (.929 SV%) was put on injured reserve after the Christmas break. They kept a lid on it at the time, but we now know that Crawford suffered a head injury. Anton Forsberg (.908 SV%) hasn’t gotten the job done; the Hawks are 10-16-4 in his 30 starts entering Thursday.

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