In The Cage: Bounce-Back Predictors

Jan 31st 2013, 2:17pm EST

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, the Director of Goalie Scouting for McKeen's Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

Niklas Backstrom

In order to make better daily starting goalie decisions in this condensed and chaotic season, you need to be able to predict strong bounce-back efforts.

Bounce-backs are vital this season because coaches are more likely to have shorter leashes in goal by being less hesitant to use their backups. But beyond doing your daily homework on team matchups, how can you determine when a goalie is primed for a big bounce-back win?

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Unfortunately, because so much of this is tied to the mental side, there's no formula or fail-proof plan for predicting them. And while every starting goalie will be motivated to nip a losing streak in the bud in different ways, oftentimes the "bounce-back" takes place after they watch their counterpart play well.

Not only will most starters feel a higher sense of urgency when a bad outing is followed by the backup playing well, but the rest they receive is beneficial as well. They get to recharge the batteries a bit, while also pushing the mental "reset" button. For many goalies, that simple "fresh start" can do the trick.

Knowing that this might be one way to unravel the "bounce-back" riddle, below are a few recent examples where this dynamic successfully played out: