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. Saturday offers up a ten game slate with several different options to choose from.

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Injury Updates

The news is coming in as always but there will be updates on Twitter because of the nature of this Saturday slate. Injuries just keep happening and happening it seems and now the flu seems to be making its way back. Just ask Tuukka Rask about that.

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Sabres @ Panthers

Game Analysis

This is a game where you can mix and match a little as Florida trots out Jaromir Jagr and hopefully has a better start than they did against Chicago where they stumbled around for about 25 minutes before picking up the pace a bit. Florida must get shots on Neuvirth early and often. There is no sleeping around here. Buffalo can be dangerous even though they just keep losing players via trade or injury. Do watch your lineups and that goes for all games today. Luongo is the only starter with a high confidence for the afternoon slate at this time. Now where does Jaromir Jagr fit into all of this? This is the age old question. More than likely he winds up on the first unit power play and gets eased into a top six role of sorts. Is he going to play 20 minutes? No. However, the right winger will play more than 12 minutes. In theory, Florida should be able to tinker with its lines because they have the speed advantage and need to find a right fit for their new acquisition. Also, did we mention this is a must win game for the Panthers. Exactly! The Florida power play rides the wave at the expense of the Buffalo penalty kill.

Money Line: Florida -225, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Chris Stewart, RW, Sabres ($3900)
  • Michal Neuvirth, G, Sabres ($8000)
  • Roberto Luongo, G, Panthers ($7900)
  • Jaromir Jagr, RW, Panthers ($3700)

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Red Wings @ Predators

Game Analysis

These teams can go up and down the ice. This is where you wish Henrik Zetterberg was healthy. Detroit is undaunted however and still can strike fear in the hearts of Nashville with Pavel Datsyuk. The Red Wings still have a good amount of depth and have really played better without Johan Franzen. Jimmy Howard has been pretty good since his return from a groin injury and he will face Pekka Rinne who has looked like a Vezina candidate once again. There is lots of offensive punch even from the blue line in this one. Roman Josi and Shea Weber get the accolades but Seth Jones and Matthias Ekholm are not too shabby either. Niklas Kronwall can tee a shot up as well. Detroit has kind of their young guns line with Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, and Gustav Nyquist. They do not go to it often but only when they need a spark. Nashville can mix and match its top nine all around in many ways to take advantage of match-ups. The Preds have the last line change and that may just make a difference in an even game. Filip Forsberg’s line must make a difference early.

Line: Preds -160. O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Tomas Tatar, LW, Wings ($5000)
  • Pavel Datsyuk, C, Wings ($8700)
  • Colin Wilson, C, Preds ($4000)
  • Craig Smith, C, Preds ($5600)

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Hurricanes @ Islanders

Game Analysis

The game has an odd feel because both teams come off solid wins. The Islanders did have to hold on late and they did get a bit complacent against Calgary but two points is two points. They have to face a pesky Carolina team that can give a pace team like the Islanders some trouble. That Canes penalty kill is fun to watch and it clicks at an amazing 88%. New York will need lots of misdirection if they want to score on the man advantage. They will get their chances but conversions or even one must occur. Carolina uses the Staal Brothers line very well but Jeff Skinner has been the one popping some goals lately. The Hurricanes still have difficulty scoring on the road and their combined goals for and goals against in the last five is a mere 4.00. They are definitely keeping the score downward. One has to think Cam Ward and Jaroslav Halak are the probables but check the local beat writers anyway. Special teams is going to set the tone for this game and whomever wins this battle has a major leg up in this game.

Line: Isles -200 . O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Justin Faulk, D, Canes ($5400)
  • Alex Semin, RW, Canes ($4100)
  • Anders Lee, C, Isles ($3500)
  • Travis Hamonic, D, Isles ($4100)

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Devils @ Blue Jackets

Game Analysis

Hey the Devils got manhandled in the first 20 minutes but did play better at least after that display against Boston. This is something they cannot do against a Columbus team that still has dangerous weapons. Sergei Bobrovsky may also make a return, although news on that will probably not be available till later in the day. At even strength Columbus is getting killed with possession and scoring chances. However, the Ryan Johansen line with Nick Foligno and Scotty Hartnell is doing a hair better as far as driving the SAT as they call it now. It will be interesting to see if New Jersey plays Cory Schneider anyway and that looks like the start from the New Jersey side of things. For some Devils and Blue Jackets players, this may be their last game in their respective uniforms. Lots of scouts are expected in Columbus. Defensively both teams yield over 30 shots per 60. The lineup omissions will be a key cog in this one too. However, we are focusing more on the game impact from them. If the special teams of Columbus takes over then this one could end quickly.

Line: NL, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Adam Henrique, C, Devils ($4200)
  • Marek Zidlicky, D, Devils ($3400)
  • Nick Foligno, LW, Blue Jackets ($5100)
  • David Clarkson, RW, Blackhawks ($2500)

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Coyotes @ Bruins

Game Analysis

I was looking at this and this becomes start your goal scoring! Arizona cannot kill penalties at all and their power play gives up quite a few shorthanded chances. It may not matter who is in Boston feeling sick to their stomach because Arizona’s goalie situations are just a mess. The over has hit twice in a row and in five of the last eight contests. Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak had several scoring chances against New Jersey and even the bottom six was engaged. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle have to run the offense through them basically with a little help from Shane Doan and Sam Gagner. Antoine Vermette may be traded by press time but to where? That is the question. Arizona typically has to score to win as they give up 3.31 goals a game on the year. Mike Smith’s save percentage hovers around .900 like an empty stomach growling uncontrollably. The Bruins power play unit should be licking their chops right now. Oddly enough, the Devils and Rangers did not have the conversion rate most were expecting. Arizona has lost eight straight and will be ecstatic when this is done.

Line: Bruins -240, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Antoine Vermette, C, Coyotes ($8500)
  • Sam Gagner, C, Coyotes ($4300)
  • Milan Lucic, LW, Bruins ($4100)
  • David Pastrnak, RW, Bruins ($3600)

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Maple Leafs @ Canadiens

Game Analysis

This “Original Six” rivalry has lost a bit of its luster since the Toronto Maple Leafs went into the tank. Toronto has stabilized a bit in the last few games but no one knows if or when they may nosedive again. The team does drive possession better than they used to but the difference is they do not score the timely goals like Montreal does. While Toronto has a better power play, Carey Price buoys a penalty kill that is almost 86%. Price has around a .950 save percentage over the last two months. I don’t think Jonathan Bernier has even come close to that in any extended stretch in his career. Phil Kessel is starting to wake up slowly but surely although the rest of the Leafs are still a bit groggy at times. It is a slow process whereas Montreal just scores timely goals especially lately. It is why their record is as good as it is. Everyone knows their PDO is among the top five in the league and that usually is not very sustainable. However, it is steady as she goes when Price lets up two goals or less. That happens way, way too much if you are a Toronto fan when playing Montreal. The Max Pacioretty line will have to be accounted for by Toronto at all times.

Line: Habs -240, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Phil Kessel, RW, Leafs ($7100)
  • Jonathan Bernier, G, Leafs ($7700)
  • P.K. Subban, D, Habs ($7600)
  • Tomas Plekanec, C, Habs ($5300)

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Rangers @ Flyers

Game Analysis

These teams can go up and down the ice. However, they can also play this plodding style where the goalies have to at times stand on their heads for periods of a time. New York knows they have to attack Philadelphia’s awful penalty kill but lately the Rangers have been a little vulnerable themselves. The Flyers do have a man advantage that clicks at just over 23% for example. Steve Mason is likely but check the beat writers and websites to make sure and Cam Talbot will be in net for New York. After all, Talbot loves playing the Flyers and has shutouts in each of the last two games he has faced them. Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds seem to have a real chemistry going while Jakub Voracek looks a little lost out there at times. These things happen when you have changes like this. Chris Kreider and Martin St. Louis are starting to score again for a team where the well was starting run dry. The Rangers just keep on winning and not giving up a lot of goals. The first twenty minutes or sooner is when Philadelphia will need to set the tone. If they do not, it will be a long night.

Line: Rangers -135. O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Chris Kreider, LW, Rangers ($4500)
  • Derek Stepan, C, Rangers ($5500)
  • Claude Giroux, C, Flyers ($8600)
  • Wayne Simmonds, RW, Flyers ($8900)

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Wild @ Avalanche

Game Analysis

The game has that feeling of almost being like the Stars-Avs tilt from Friday night where goals seemed to be coming from everywhere. Part of that is just the fact that it is Dallas. However, the Avalanche are still part of the reason why it keeps happening too. This could be low or high scoring to be honest. It really has been tough to get a good, solid read on this one but it will be intense. The teams and especially coaches despise each other and the goaltending is pretty solid. Devan Dubnyk has been on fire in his last 15 starts and Semyon Varlamov is far from a slouch to say the least. This comes down to can Colorado’s top six ride the wave. They can score but can they score enough. It has been an issue all year whereas the Wild found their stride for better or for worse. Over the last five games both teams are scoring significantly higher than their season averages. The reason why Minnesota is favored as high as they are on the road is partially because of the game Colorado played last night and simply the Wild are a better defensive team. That sounds cold to say but overall by a 0.23 margin, it is true.

Line: Wild -150 . O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Marco Scandella, D, Wild ($3800)
  • Zach Parise, LW, Wild ($7700)
  • Jarome Iginla, RW, Avs ($5200)
  • Tyson Barrie, D, Avs ($5300)

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Blues @ Oilers

Game Analysis

Hey here come the Oilers! Edmonton probably looks over the St. Louis roster goes yes we wish we had that, that, that, that and you get the idea. The Blues have advantages in all three phases but actually Edmonton comes in with a slightly better record over the last five games. St. Louis has been a bit guilty of not playing in phase. The chemistry has been on the fritz at times and the normally sound shot suppression has been lacking. Results have been mixed to say the least and that has Ken Hitchcock and company worried before the trade deadline. For Edmonton, it is just a question of which pieces will go and if they can stay in the McDavid lottery. The team has played better since the Taylor Hall injury oddly enough but talent wise it is tough to go toe to toe with the top teams in the West on a nightly basis. Every so often they can pull a performance off though. Ben Scrivens has had a .900 save percentage or better in four of his last five starts. It is baby steps but progress nonetheless. As for the Blues, their goaltending has tailed off a little. Maybe Edmonton and Benoit Pouillot have caught St. Louis at the right time? Stay tuned! This could be more fun than people think.

Line: Blues -235, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Jori Lehtera, C, Blues ($3100)
  • Alex Pietrangelo, D, Blues ($5700)
  • Jordan Eberle, RW, Oilers ($5700)
  • Ben Scrivens, G, Oilers ($6800)

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Sens @ Sharks

Game Analysis

I was looking at this and thought Andrew Hammond will not get a shutout. This just will not happen again. He has two in a row on this road trip already and San Jose is one of those teams that will make sure they do not get shut out or they will die trying to avoid it as they say. Antti Niemi should get the start for the Sharks as they need wins with the playoffs slowly fading away if they are not careful. The Sharks are functionally a .500 team even though they are six over .500. Their home record is near .500, their GF and GA at home is even and their overall goals for and goals against is right about level. Ottawa has enough team speed to make life miserable for San Jose and this could be a high event game if Ottawa chooses to press the pace because San Jose almost inevitably will. The Sharks still seem stuck in this old versus young struggle and yet offensively they produce well enough but defensively it can be frustrating. In some ways, Ottawa is kind of similar but their goaltending is a little bit better. That makes all the difference. Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture have to lead the way and at least score three for the Sharks to walk away a winner tonight.

Line: Sharks -155, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Mike Hoffman, LW, Sens ($4600)
  • Kyle Turris, C, Sens ($5800)
  • Patrick Marleau, LW, Sharks ($5600)
  • Tommy Wingels, RW, Sharks ($4300)

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