This article is part of our Crashing the Crease series.
The season is about a month old and it's still unwise to overreact to early successes or struggles, but trends are emerging. Below are goaltenders who are heating up the ice, and others were are cold, cold, cold.
Pheonix Copley, Capitals - We'll forgive the funny spelling of his first name because he's been very impressive taking over the net for Braden Holtby. He's allowed just six goals in his last three games, two of which were back-to-back. It must give Todd Reirden comfort knowing his backup is capable, considering Copley's unassuming rise to the NHL as a 26-year-old rookie with no major individual or team awards to his name. Holtby is day-to-day, but the Caps won't push it with Copley's strong play, which means more gametime for him.
Carter Hutton, Linus Ullmark, Sabres - It's been more Hutton than Ullmark lately, but the Sabres are cutting up their opponents with a five-game winning streak. All have been one-goal games, so be wary of this hot streak crashing like a meteor, but the list of victims is impressive: Minnesota, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay. Last season, both Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson finished with GAA's above 3.00 and save percentages below .910; this season, both Hutton and Ullmark are on pace for numbers better than the league average (2.82, .910). Hutton will continue to get the bulk of the starts but the Sabres have back-to-backs on Nov. 23 and 24.
Keith Kinkaid, Devils -