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Winning the battle

By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Goaltending timeshares aren't the worst partnerships in fantasy sports -- closer and running back committees are much more frustrating -- but it's nice when controversies are settled early.

Fortunately, four of the major goalie committees already have a clear chairman.

The best of the bunch has been Toronto's Jonathan Bernier, who has gone 3-1-0 with an 0.84 GAA and a .974 SV% in his first four starts.

Bernier blanked the Predators in Nashville by stopping 36 shots in his most recent start Thursday.

His competition, James Reimer, gave up three goals in the season opener and was pulled after allowing four in 31 minutes in his second start last Saturday. He hasn't manned the crease since.

Reimer was already on thin ice after imploding in Game 7 of Toronto's first- round playoff series against Boston last May. The Maple Leafs had a 4-1 lead in the third period but allowed the Bruins to tie the game and win in overtime.

Reimer gave up 17 goals in Toronto's four losses during the series, prompting the team to deal for Bernier, who backed up Jonathan Quick with the Kings in 2012-13 and went 9-3-1 with a 1.87 GAA and a .922 SV%.

Like Reimer, Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback also started the season opener but has been stuck on the bench lately.

That's because Ben Bishop has gone 3-0-0 with a 1.93 GAA and a .928 SV% over the last three games.

The Lightning traded rookie Cory Conacher to the Ottawa Senators for Bishop at last season's trade deadline less than a year after acquiring Lindback from the Nashville Predators.

Lindback went 10-10-1 with a 2.90 GAA and a .902 SV% in 24 appearances last season, and after allowing three goals in a loss to the Bruins in his only start this season it doesn't look like he'll be getting his job back.

Anaheim Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller has been stuck in an even split with Viktor Fasth since last February, when Fasth started out 9-1-0 with a 1.92 GAA as a 30-year-old rookie.

However, Hiller may be putting Fasth in the rearview mirror.

The 31-year-old won his first start of the season 4-3 against the Minnesota Wild when the Ducks scored with five seconds left in overtime, and he earned another victory Thursday with a 34-save shutout of the New York Rangers.

Fasth started Anaheim's season opener but allowed six goals on 29 shots in a loss at Colorado. He was better four days later at Winnipeg, giving up two goals, but he faced just 17 shots in the game. His save percentage sits at .826 after two appearances.

Philadelphia's Steve Mason has put some distance between himself and backup Ray Emery by saving 87 of 93 shots (.936) in his first three starts while Emery gave up four goals in his lone outing.

Emery is coming off a season in which he went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 GAA and a .922 SV% as a backup for the Chicago Blackhawks, but that was mainly a product of having Chicago's stellar defense in front of him. Emery has a career 2.63 GAA and a .908 SV% in 229 games.

After winning the Calder Trophy in 2008-09 with 33 wins, a 2.29 GAA and 10 shutouts, Mason was a disaster the last three seasons with Columbus. However, he has a 1.94 GAA and a .942 SV% in 10 games since joining Philadelphia late last season.

The Flyers have no major commitment to Emery, financial or otherwise, so Mason should get every chance to be the man in the Philadelphia net.

It's a long season so these four situations are far from being set in stone yet, but the early favorites have planted their flags.

10/11 17:38:22 ET


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