Start or bench these goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury on the rise

Avs' winning OT goal goes off Valeri Nichushkin's face (0:49)

Nathan MacKinnon's slapper goes off a Canucks defenseman then off Valeri Nichushkin's face for the Avalanche's winning goal. (0:49)

It's crunch time. With only five short weeks remaining in the NHL regular season, it's more important than ever to take the "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" approach to assembling your nightly fantasy lineup. A philosophy that applies even more heavily to the goaltending position, where a swing into negative integers for a single outing can broker the difference between weekly victory or defeat. So never mind reputation, prominence, or sparkling goaltending resumes of weeks, months, or seasons gone by. What only matters at this stage in re-draft leagues, is who's getting the fantasy job done now.

Accordingly, if your current corps of fantasy goalies isn't performing to satisfaction, here's a look at several netminding figures on the apparent rise, other more popular characters who aren't currently executing to expectation, along with a few attractive streaming options for managers in leagues that allow for such flexibility.

Note: All Goals Saved Above Average values are compliments of Evolving-Hockey.

On the rise

Casey DeSmith, Vancouver Canucks (Available in 90% of ESPN.com leagues): First of all, DeSmith is hardly at fault for Wednesday's blown 3-0 lead to the Avalanche: the lack of group effort in the third deserving far more of the blame. Pitching a shutout through nearly two full periods, Vancouver's No. 1-right-now gave his squad a solid chance to beat a red-hot Colorado side. Which is promising, considering he's going to play a whole lot while Thatcher Demko remains out week-to-week.

The Canucks are playoff-bound. Coach Rick Tocchet insists his skaters are super fond of DeSmith (and players are more willing to block shots in front of guys they like than not - his words). The former Penguin managed well enough when starting eight-straight in Pittsburgh last year. All respectable reasons to give the veteran a look if unsatisfied without your existing fantasy assets between the pipes.

Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs (Available in 38% of ESPN.com leagues): While the Maple Leafs endeavor to clamber over the Bruins for second spot in the Atlantic - you never know - Samsonov appears to be Sheldon Keefe's top choice in net. And why not? Since his late-December unravelling, the Toronto goaltender has lost only two of 14 games, dating back to Jan. 21. Equally important, his renewed confidence appears on full display, between the pipes, and in off-ice discussion with the media.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Minnesota Wild (Available in 84% of ESPN.com leagues): The veteran netminder is winning games for a Wild team that's still battling to climb the Western Conference standings. Which goes to explain why, after emerging victorious in nine of his past 11, he's tapped to make his third-straight start (against the Ducks) Thursday. Take advantage of Fleury's fantasy value while he remains tuned in and Minnesota still harbors somewhat of a chance.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Buffalo Sabres (Available in 48% of ESPN.com leagues): Would it surprise you to know that Buffalo's No. 1 has more victories with nine - 9-3-1, .924 SV%, 2.12 GAA - than any other NHL netminder since Feb. 13? Only New York's Igor Shesterkin has more total fantasy points in ESPN's standard game over that same stretch. Five points out of a playoff spot, the Sabres don't fancy themselves out of this thing yet. As long as there's a fighting chance, and he remains fit, Luukkonen is going to play nearly every night.

See also: Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes (Rostered in 83% of ESPN.com leagues)

Reason for worry?

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning (Rostered in 95% of ESPN.com leagues) It almost feels silly to take such a doomy-gloomy view of one of the superlative goaltenders currently playing the game. However, Vasilevskiy isn't performing to the level of which we've become accustomed for a Lightning team that's barely clinging to a Wild Card spot in the East.

Alarmingly, Tampa's No. 1 has totalled -1.0 fantasy points in standard ESPN.com competition this past month, and that includes a boatload earned in a recent shutout win over the Flyers. His -6.27 GSAA accrued since the All-Star break only offers further cause for alarm. Unless Vasilevskiy, and the club as a whole, turns matters around fast, there's ample reason to re-shuffle another goaltending body into your active fantasy lineup down this important stretch.

Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (Rostered in 93% of ESPN.com leagues): The season-long numbers - .899 SV% and 2.98 GAA - are a worry, especially since, even at this later stage, they aren't trending in the right direction (-3.98 GSAA since Feb. 1). That backup Scott Wedgewood has been better over that same stretch (1.49 GSAA) is also a concern. As long as the rest of the Stars continue to outscore the opposition, as they do most games, Oettinger should keep his head above fantasy water. But maybe just barely.

Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames (Rostered in 67% of ESPN.com leagues): No question, Markstrom has answered the call in giving his club a competitive chance, night in and out, despite enduring the distraction of trade rumors - including substantial scuttlebutt concerning himself - all season long. But now, following earlier deals sending others elsewhere, both Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev are gone, leaving a new-look blueline behind to freshly figure it out. Seemingly deflated altogether, the Flames have been outscored 18-5 since Friday's deadline. Plus, he is now dealing with a lower-body issue. As solid as Markstrom has been, it's probably time for his contending fantasy managers to choose another course.

See also: Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins (Rostered in 83% of ESPN.com leagues)

Valuable streamers

Laurent Brossoit, Winnipeg Jets (Available in 95% of ESPN.com leagues): Apart from one shaky showing against the Flyers Feb. 8, Winnipeg's other netminder has been outstanding in relief since the end of November. Riding a 9-2-1 record, along with a ridiculous .940 SV% and 1.75 GAA, since the start of December, Brossoit has served as a valuable understudy for one of the strongest teams in the West. It would be in the Jets' best interest to offer their No. 2 a heftier handful of reps down the stretch, not only to rest Connor Hellebuyck, but to keep their backup limber just in case. Toss him out there if/when the matchup appears favorable enough. Which it will most often.

Calvin Pickard, Edmonton Oilers (Available in 97% of ESPN.com leagues): Whether he likes it or not, Stuart Skinner should enjoy a few more games off as the Oilers aspire to secure home ice in the first round. Edmonton has no fewer than four back-to-back sets before it all wraps up Apr. 18. Pickard is going to play. Hopefully as well as he has since Dec. 21: 8-2-0, .926 SV%, 2.01 GAA.

Justus Annunen, Colorado Avalanche (Available in 97% of ESPN.com leagues): That the fiercely contending Avalanche chose not to deal for another netminder ahead of the deadline speaks to their confidence in the up-and-comer. A string of three-straight victories - including two shutout wins over the Blackhawks - prematurely suggests the organization may have been correct in standing pat. No goalie aside from Juuse Saros has played more than Alexandar Georgiev this campaign. So, a few more opportunities should be in the offing for Annunen as Nathan MacKinnon's surging Avs charge towards the finish line.