Some food for thought after another week of fantasy hockey …
That's Nashville's save percentage entering Monday, fifth lowest in the league. It's only slightly better than New Jersey, who just recently demoted its $42-million former franchise goalie to the AHL, and Florida, whose $70-million starter backs up a 25-year-old journeyman. It seems like no one really understands the value of goaltending, and so Peter Laviolette has tossed Juuse Saros a bone and given him the chance to win the starting job after Pekka Rinne struggled with four consecutive losses.
The results, however, have been mixed; despite winning consecutive starts against the division rival Blues, Saros is 2-1-1 in his past four games with 11 goals allowed and a .899 save percentage. Rinne is 37 and doesn't seem capable of providing 50 solid starts a season anymore, and this is Nashville's chance to accelerate its succession plan. At this pace, expect Saros to play more than the 31 games he played last season, and they have a soft schedule coming up with dates against New Jersey, Buffalo, Ottawa and the Rangers. Saros is a required handcuff for Rinne, and there's an outside chance he becomes the full-time starter, but come playoff time expect Rinne to get first crack.
That's the Dead Things' goals against through 29 games this season, 22 more than the next team (Montreal) and on pace for 322 for the season. It will be the lowest total in the last 20 seasons, a dubious honor