The NHL Game Breakdown rolls on here at DraftKings. We take an in-depth look at all of the games on the schedule each day in terms of expected pace of play, Vegas lines, and defense vs. position match ups.
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The news is coming in as always but Matthieu Perreault does not have broken bones but will miss some games. There will be more injury updates on Twitter.
Rangers @ Penguins
The Rangers and Penguins both come in rested. Pittsburgh got blown out the building in the third period on Long Island while Henrik Lundqvist held the fort down as Columbus could not find the equalizer. Sidney Crosby did find the back of the net twice for what felt like the first time in months as he may be finally putting it together after a kind of slump by his standards. The question becomes how will Marc-Andre Fleury bounce back from his time on the island. Pittsburgh also must contend with the Rangers top six which has given them problems in the past. However, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonough do have their issues with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Then again, who doesn’t? Steve Downie and Tanner Glass could be real detriments to their teams well if you believe their fans anyway. Either way, this figures to be a spirited affair straight out of last year’s playoffs. Everyone remembers what happened then. Chris Kreider was the big difference and could be again on Sunday. Pittsburgh either runs with this and their stars shine or the Rangers grind and slug it out. However, you never quite know with two fairly evenly matched teams.
Money Line: Penguins -140, O/U 5.5
Players to Watch
- Sidney Crosby, C, Pens (N/A)
- Steve Downie, RW, Pens (N/A)
- Henrik Lundqvist, G, Rangers (N/A)
- Derek Stepan, C, Rangers (N/A)
Stars @ Blackhawks
If the Stars and Blackhawks are anything like the game several Sundays back then this shapes up to be a fun track meet up and down the ice. Both goalies will be tested as Dallas is scoring in bunches over Washington and Chicago won that game over Dallas by scoring, you guessed it, five times. Chicago’s depth is what killed the Stars last time and the defensive breakdowns. Much of the same could happen again as Dallas faced a tough Washington team on Saturday night and expended a ton of energy. Tyler Seguin is always a threat but Chicago has more guns and unfortunately Dallas still has a little too much butter. Corey Crawford on rest versus any Dallas goalie is pretty much a mismatch to a point as Dallas can compete with the team from the Windy City but can they actually beat them? That will be a tough chore. Expect Patrick Kane to do his little bit of damage but watch out again for Brad Richards. Richards seemed to be a real catalyst in their last meeting. Then of course there are the Ben Smith’s and Marcus Kruger’s of the world who always seem to come up just big enough in these Sunday night affairs. The Blackhawks really have too many advantages here to lose again at home.
Line: Blackhawks -250. O/U 5.5
Players to Watch
- Tyler Seguin, C, Stars ($8200)
- Colton Sceviour, C, Stars ($3200)
- Corey Crawford, G, Blackhawks ($8900)
- Patrick Sharp, LW, Blackhawks ($6000)
Coyotes @ Jets
The Coyotes come in limping worse than almost any team aside from the Buffalo Sabres. It is ugly. They cannot seem to find the back of the net. Line juggling is not working at all and as a matter of fact, it only seems to be making things worse. Team morale is shot. Players are almost waiting to be traded out the door. Poor play from their team defense to their goaltending is just a clear sign that they will be blown up starting near the trade deadline. Arizona does have some weapons like Michael Boedeker and Antoine Vermette but after that it is the two defenseman. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is having a slightly better year defensively even though Keith Yandle has more assists and power play points. The problem comes down to the fact that the Coyotes are a sinking ship and now everyone knows it. They did battle hard against Minnesota at least. Winnipeg comes in after beating Chicago for a third time at United Center and that just does not happen often. It has been eight years plus actually. Do not buy Dustin Byfuglien as he is almost $9,000. That will be just about a sixth of your cap and that can be used elsewhere on a short slate like this. Using the top line with Ladd, Little, and Wheeler may be pretty good but watch Evander Kane’s line in a game like this. Paul Maurice will mix and match a bit with the Perreault injury so see who he uses in line rushes just in case. Winnipeg has a little wiggle room facing a ragged Arizona team but the Jets can lay eggs in this position. They have twice in the last few weeks where their bad habits could not be bailed out by Michael Hutchinson.
Line: Jets -230. O/U 5.5
Players to Watch
- Antoine Vermette, C, Coyotes ($3900)
- Tobias Rieder, G, Coyotes ($2800)
- Evander Kane, LW, Jets ($5300)
- Michael Hutchinson, G, Jets ($8400)
Sabres @ Red Wings
Here come the Sabres! Hey, they did score three times though and that is significant. Zemgus Girgensons had two goals in their 4-3 loss to Philadelphia but again they gave up four goals. At least it was better than the seven against Minnesota. Offensive options are few between and so are defensive options that can block shots and rack up shots on goal. I suppose Tyler Myers might get you some points but then again he is probably waiting for a trade himself. Girgensons line is really the only viable threat with Matt Moulson and whomever they stick on the other wing. It depends lately. Buffalo keeps on losing (ten straight and counting). Detroit still keeps finding ways to win even when it is not pretty. Last night they scored three times quickly, chasing Carter Hutton of Nashville and then cruised to a 5-2 win. The duo of Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar looked very good with multiple point nights and there is no reason why they cannot do it again. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg had points in the last meeting also but Jimmy Howard’s injury casts a small shadow. Petr Mrazek is probable for the game going up against possibly Jhonas Enroth. Expect Detroit to have some trouble here but score just enough.
Line: Red Wings -330, O/U 5
Players to Watch
- Zemgus Girgensons, C, Sabres ($3300)
- Tyler Myers, D, Sabres ($3000)
- Gustav Nyquist, RW, Red Wings ($5200)
- Tomas Tatar, LW, Red Wings ($4800)