Tim Thomas heads NHL's top five goalies 

December, 3, 2010

Bad goaltending and a shaky defense could kill the Tampa Bay Lightning's playoff chances this season. I figured that the tandem of Mike Smith and Dan Ellis would be good enough. So far, they haven't been. In fact, neither guy has really distinguished himself. Ellis has a weak .888 save percentage, while Smith's SP is an even worse .872.

In their last 12 games, the Bolts have given up 49 goals. How bad is that? That's more than the Oilers, Islanders or Devils in that span.

Thinking about Tampa's goaltending problems got me thinking about which goalie I'd want starting for me in a big game tonight. Which stopper -- right now -- would be my go-to guy in an important situation? In today's Five for Friday, here are my top five goaltenders, based on their play in the first 20-plus games (a few just might surprise you):