The NHL Game Breakdown keeps on keeping on here on 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. The Thursday slate features nine contests in all and then understand there are some nice tournaments on the docket.

We have a nice way to make some money in a GPP tonight for the players who like to spend a bit. This is part of Championship Week on DraftKings. So if you saved a little on your bankroll, this would be a heck of a way to earn some $$$. $7500 first prize is a nice chunk of change.

Enter the NHL $50,000 Face-Off – $27 Entry HERE

Injury Updates

The news is coming in, as always. Make sure you’re checking Twitter, and be sure to keep an eye out during warm-ups to make sure your player is not out for whatever reason.

______________________________________________________________

New York Islanders @ Columbus Blue Jackets

Game Analysis

This is where we find out how far Columbus has come and how far the Islanders may need to go. It has all the makings of high pace and fast hockey. The game itself expects quite a few goals and the over to be in serious jeopardy. Now the penalty kill for both teams is under 80% so expect power plays that will be exploitative. There should be no beating around the bush on this one. The best part is that both top sixes are not only dangerous but the bottom sixes can be as well. Columbus is about as healthy as they can get and have won seven in a row as their tear through the end of the season should offer hope for next season. They are scoring at around four goals a game during the streak. Oddly enough, the Islanders torched Detroit for three power play goals on Sunday. Again it looks like Jaroslav Halak in goal versus Sergei Bobrovsky in net. With all this firepower, you may just want to get the popcorn ready. It almost has that Columbus-Pittsburgh type of feel and no one should be surprised if the snarl develops before too long. Again just make your offensive stacks here err at least one. It may be profitable to do so.

Money Line: Islanders -125, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

** Kyle Okposo, RW, Isles ($6200)*
* Anders Lee, C, Isles ($3900)
* Nick Foligno, LW, Blue Jackets ($5200)
* Ryan Johansen, C, Blue Jackets ($7800)

______________________________________________________________

Boston Bruins @ Detroit Red Wings

Game Analysis

This is huge for Boston as they try to put distance between themselves and Ottawa. They may be able to put a team or two in between them as well. Boston has won three straight while Detroit has only won once in their last five games and there you have the possibility of Boston doing the unthinkable. Does Pavel Datsyuk play for Detroit? There are four Red Wings that are questionable/game time decisions here. Also, who starts for Detroit? While Petr Mrazek was a hard luck loser for Detroit against Ottawa. He has looked better than Jimmy Howard and Howard just does not look engaged in the game right now. Mentally, something is off. The Red Wings have been allowing around three goals a game in the second half of the season. Yikes! Boston will obviously ride or die with Tuukka Rask and do note that it looks like David Krejci is being slotted back into a second line center role which means he is fully healthy. Boston’s new top six is paying dividends. Now only if they could get Dougie Hamilton back because the defense is compromised some. That is something Detroit can possibly exploit and a chance for them to get a few past Rask.

Players to Watch

  • David Pastrnak, RW, Bruins ($4500)
  • David Krejci, C, Bruins ($4100)
  • Pavel Datsyuk?, C, Red Wings ($5200)
  • Gustav Nyquist, RW, Red Wings ($5200)

______________________________________________________________

Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers

Game Analysis

The game looks to be an old homage to the Southeast Division games. It shapes up to be a 3-2 game with lots of back and forth action, some pucks that should go in, and one turning point no one sees coming. Wait, do I have that right? Either way, Florida is almost poised to just play out to string to see what happens after a stunning loss to Boston where they were so close to winning. The Jaromir Jagr line has been excellent as we all know but that Nick Bjugstad season ender really hurt. That being said, Florida has fought undaunted and even has upped their power play percentage since the trade deadline. The key is how does Carolina play this one on the road with little to play for other than maybe a slightly better draft pick. Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin have both had their moments but they also have been shaky despite a strong team penalty kill. Florida should have Roberto Luongo in net and that is where the advantage should lie. If you are really thinking about this too much then you really are. 5 on 5 wise Florida is just better period and that should translate well here for once.

Money Line: Panthers -170, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Justin Faulk, D, Canes ($5400)
  • Eric Staal, C, Canes ($8600)
  • Brandon Pirri, C, Panthers ($5100)
  • Jaromir Jagr, RW, Panthers ($4800)

______________________________________________________________

Tampa Bay Lighting @ Ottawa Senators

Game Analysis

Hey, this is a game that both teams need as Ottawa is in a fight for their playoff lives and Tampa has to try and atone for that stinker against Toronto where they fired 40+ shots on James Reimer only to see one puck go in. That is the thing. The mounting injuries when you look at it have not slowed Tampa down. Cedric Paquette, Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman are just to name a few and yet this team just finds ways to keep shooting and generating chances. That is what makes them dangerous but also could make the opposing goalie a good play on a night like this. It’s a high GPP risk but do you play an Andrew Hammond in this spot? You may consider it. Tampa can score a ton but are 2-3 in their last five while Ottawa is only .500 in that span. This again is vital for both teams. Neither team is particularly proficient on the power play yet both can be dangerous at times. That is the scary part. Is it a time to duo stack Ryan Callahan and Steven Stamkos? It might. However, remember to keep an eye on how Dave Cameron puts together the lines for Thursday night. That lineup blender can be a scary experience. Should Mike Hoffman see more 5 on 5 team? Absolutely and yet……

Money Line: Even, O/U 5.5  (may tip to be honest)

Players to Watch

  • Steven Stamkos, C, Bolts ($8700)
  • Anton Stralman, D, Bolts ($3500)
  • Kyle Turris, C, Sens ($5200)
  • Mika Zibinejad, C, Sens ($4100)

______________________________________________________________

Washington Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens

Game Analysis

Two teams gearing up for the playoffs in different ways yet sort of the same means. Washington is trying to hold off Boston and maybe even Detroit at this point. Alex Ovechkin is partially why this game is at a 5.5 over/under. Yes he has 50 goals on the season but can Carey Price find a way to light a fire into his own team? It could help. They are going up against a top power play unit that converts at nearly 25%. Price will have to be at his best while Montreal has to play better defense and really a better two way game. Montreal is a very good home team because of that but does it combat Washington’s firepower enough. Basically Washington needs to avoid taking long breaks in this game. The closer to a 60 minute effort will be the closer they get to a win. This is the game that offers the most intrigue because people forget about Braden Holtby. He is far from a slouch in net and that is the thing here. When you get right down to it, maybe this 5.5 over/under is a little in haste by the bookies? We will soon find out because both teams can generate shots in bunches when engaged.

Money Line: Canadiens -135,  O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • John Carlson, D, Caps ($5500)
  • Alex Ovechkin, LW, Caps ($9200)
  • Max Pacioretty, LW, Habs ($8800)
  • Carey Price , G, Habs ($9500)

______________________________________________________________

Calgary Flames @ St. Louis Blues

Game Analysis

This game will be a study in pure crazy and pain! The Blues have suddenly felt the wrath of injuries as Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko are both day to day right now. One thing is for sure, none of that may matter to Calgary who is just on a goal scoring binge of late. They have 18 goals in their last five games and could have easily had 20+. It is uncanny how they just get a ridiculous amount of scoring chances despite not always having the most amount of shots. Simply to stop the bleeding, the Blues must get a whale of a performance by Brian Elliott. If they try to keep up with Calgary then they will get burned by them. St. Louis cannot really keep the pace but for small bursts they could. That is the key. The Blues ironically have the more dangerous power play but let’s just with the injuries bumps St. Louis down a couple notches. However, they are still dangerous. Can Calgary get some quality goaltending? The way they have rotated the goalies in their little mini runs has been quite successful so wait till confirmation before pulling the trigger.

Money Line: NL, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Sean Monahan, C, Flames ($5300)
  • Kris Russell, D, Flames ($5500)
  • Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Blues ($5200)
  • Jaden Schwartz, LW, Blues ($5300)

______________________________________________________________

New York Rangers @ Minnesota Wild

Game Analysis

This is a fun game between two teams that can score goals but can also shut it down defensively. The home advantage in Minnesota has been electric ever since Devan Dubnyk took over in net. He just keeps on playing and my god, he just keeps on producing. Those pesky Wild have won five straight while the Rangers have kind of traded wins and losses. Again, they are giving up more goals of late and part of that has to do with the return of Henrik Lundqvist. He has split his first two starts but even in the win there were concerns. As for Dubnyk, you wonder when the run ends but Minnesota is about to clinch at least a playoff berth. This is going to be a fun study in contrasts because Minnesota excels in possessing the puck while the Rangers succeed on capitalizing on opportunities. Both teams have stout penalty kills so this is likely to be decided at even strength. Get ready to see something of the unexpected as the Nash and Parise lines will be the difference one way or the other. Both goalies will be plays depending on how lineups are constructed. I wouldn’t unless it was Dubnyk and even then.

Money Line: Wild -130, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Derick Brassard, C, Rangers ($4700)
  • Rick Nash, LW, Rangers ($8100)
  • Zach Parise, LW, Wild ($8700)
  • Jason Pominville, RW, Wild ($5000)

______________________________________________________________

Vancouver Canucks @ Chicago Blackhawks

Game Analysis

Two teams who cannot stand each other play each other in a game where it could really go in a multitude of directions. When you get down to the Sedin twins often get mesmerized at times by Chicago’s top six and sometimes it goes the other way. Eddie Lack and not Ryan Miller is in net and that does add something to the game as far as the fact that the Blackhawks will take heart by the fact that Lack is not even in the top 40 when it comes to high danger save percentage. That has to be very concerning. Chicago and Vancouver have weirdly identical offensive numbers but Chicago is far better defensively. Their home/road defensive splits are about the same defensively. Few teams feed off their crowd like Chicago and ride the wave even when adversity presents itself. This is going to be a lot of fun to see how Vancouver combats Chicago’s possession game and then again there is one caveat. The Canucks could get under Chicago’s skin at times every so often. The first 20 minutes will tell you what kind of game this really will be.

Money Line: Blackhawks -160, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Eddie Lack, G, Canucks ($7700)
  • Daniel Sedin, LW, Canucks ($5500)
  • Marian Hossa, RW, Hawks ($6800)
  • Jonathan Toews, C, Hawks ($6300)

______________________________________________________________

Edmonton Oilers @ Los Angeles Kings

Game Analysis

Hey, the Oilers are not that bad folks to deserve this kind of crooked money line but here we are. I guess urgency inflates a line somewhat but yes Los Angeles needs this game as a must win. The Kings have won three of their last five games but have had middling to even numbers in their last five or six games. The Oilers are still suspect on the penalty kill (among the bottom five) but can the Kings even capitalize? What do they have left in the tank? That Edmonton team is on the back end of back to back so the grind it down style of Los Angeles should be enough to gradually tire out their opposition. Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik should be a fun combination to try once more but a contrarian duo stack could involved Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter or a trio of Kings players could be tried. Edmonton has a few options too but can they score enough goals on Jonathan Quick, who is typically very stingy at home this time of year. Shot suppression for LA could be an issue at times as Edmonton can bring a gear at times few can match. Edmonton has nothing to lose and LA has everything to lose. Strange things can happen.

Money Line: Kings -330, O/U 5  (The spread is too damn high!)

Players to Watch

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Oilers ($5700)
  • Jordan Eberle, RW, Oilers ($5600)
  • Anze Kopitar, C, Kings ($5900)
  • Jonathan Quick, G, Kings ($8600)

______________________________________________________________