Top NHL Goalies to Target for First Period Over/Under's

List of the 5 toughest goalies to score a goal on in the first period, and the 5 goalies that make scoring a goal look "less difficult" , shall we say?

Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

When it comes to wagering on first period Over/Unders in the NHL, the spotlight is on the goalie! In this final piece to this week's 3-part mini-series, I will list out for you those goalies that are difficult to score a goal against in the first period- and those that are less stingy about giving up first period goals.

In the first article, we looked at first period scoring from a "team" standpoint- which teams were scoring and which teams allowed goals. In the second piece, we looked at those teams that made scoring in the first period difficult for other teams and those that had their own difficulty finding the net in the first period. Today let's look at the "last line of defense", the goalies. Arguably the most important position when wagering on first period prop bets.

It is important to know that when looking at potential wagers to target on the first period, there is much more to know about a goalie than his win-loss record, save %, and Goal Against Average. Yes, all those are important criteria, but they do not give you the full image of a goalie's performance in the first period.

Christian Fischer, Frederik Andersen
Carolina Hurricanes / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

For example, Frederik Andersen of the Carolina Hurricanes has a 93.0% save rate and a 1.88 GAA. Both stats lead the NHL for goalies with more than 10 starts this year, those are undeniable, elite numbers! Yet, despite those numbers, Andersen has only held a team scoreless in the first period in 38% of his starts this year.

Top NHL Goalies for 1st Period UNDERs

Let's look at the Top 5 Goalies that make it difficult for the opposing teams to score in the first period. **NOTE: These lists are comprised of goalies with at least 10 starts this season.

1. Martin Jones- Toronto Maple Leafs

Martin Jones
Anaheim Ducks v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Martin Jones has started in 18 games this season and has not allowed a first period goal in 61% of those starts. His 90.8% save rate is slightly above the league average of 90.0%, which means that as the game wears on the defense begins to tire or Jones' concentration begins to wane- or a combination of both. Either way, with him in the crease to start a game, usually means that the opposition is not scoring in the first period.

2. Samuel Ersson- Philadelphia Flyers

Samuel Ersson
Philadelphia Flyers / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Ersson was forced into the Goalie #1 spot this year when Carter Hart took an indefinite leave from the team in January of this year and has Samuel stepped up. His slightly below-league-average save rate of 89.5% has not kept him from being a beast in the first period. Ersson has 42 starts this season and has kept teams scoreless in the first period in 60% of them.

3. Cayden Primeau- Montreal Canadiens

Cayden Primeau
Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Cayden Primeau has had 17 starts this year for the Canadiens and has kept the opposing team off the scoreboard in the first period in 59% of those starts. His fairly average save rate of 91.3% has not slowed him down either. He has logged a scoreless first period in four of his last five starts.

4. David Rittich - Los Angeles Kings

David Rittich
Los Angeles Kings / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Rittich has had 58% of his 19 starts this season seeing the opposing team scoreless at the end of the first period. A word of caution, however, most of those scoreless first periods occurred in his first 10 starts. He has given up goals in six of his last nine starts.

5. Connor Hellebuyck - Winnipeg Jets

Connor Hellebuyck
Winnipeg Jets / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

Connor Hellebuyck has been an absolute workhorse for the Winnipeg Jets this year. He has started in 53 games so far and has kept teams scoreless in the first in 57% of those starts. Hellebuyck was a vital piece in Jets incredible 34-game stretch holding the opposition to 3 goals or less. Impressive when you consider that Hellebuyck is currently third in the league for the most starts this year.

And there you have it- the goalies that make life difficult for opposing teams in the first period. What about the goalies that tend to allow goals to be scored in the first? Here they are:

Top NHL Goalies for 1st period OVERs

1. Daniel Vldar- Calgary Flames

Daniel Vladar
Calgary Flames / Derek Leung/GettyImages

Daniel Vldar has allowed a score in the first period in 89% of his 19 starts. He is currently on a five-game streak of allowing at least one goal in the first period. He has allowed multiple goals in six of those 19 starts as well.

2. Vitek Vanecek - San Jose Sharks

Vitek Vanecek
New Jersey Devils / Derek Cain/GettyImages

Vanecek was traded to the San Jose Sharks and immediately placed on IR. It has not yet been determined if he will return this season or not. On the off chance he does, he has earned a spot on this list. In his 29 starts on the year, he allowed a first period goal 76% of the time.

3. Darcy Kuemper- Washington Capitals

Juraj Slafkovsky, Darcy Kuemper
Washington Capitals / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Darcy Kuemper has started 29 games for the Washington Capitals and has allowed a first period goal in 72% of those starts. Unfortunately for Kuemper, those numbers have continued to decline with his current five-game streak of allowing first period goals. He has allowed multiple goals in the first period in 11 of those 29 starts as well.

T-4. Anton Forsberg- Ottawa Senators

Anton Forsberg, Nick Foligno
Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

Forsberg has started in 25 games this year for the Ottawa Senators and has allowed 32 first period goals. He allows one or more goals to be scored in the first period 73% of the time. In eight starts, he has allowed multiple first period goals- and has allowed 3-plus goals four times.

T-4. Arvid Soderblom - Chicago Blackhawks

Arvid Soderblom
Chicago Blackhawks / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Arvid Soderblom has had 25 starts for the Blackhawks this year and has allowed a first period goal in 73% of those starts. Soderblom however, is giving up multiple goals in first period in 40% of those starts. In his last eight starts, he has allowed the opposition to hit the first period over (1.5) at an alarming rate of 50%!

I hope you can use all the information, from all three articles, to help you target specific teams and goalies for your upcoming first period prop wagers. Best of luck!

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