The NHL Game Breakdown debuts 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.

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Injury Updates

The news is coming in as always but Cory Schneider has an upper body injury and is considered day to day. Trevor Daley is questionable to doubtful and so is Brett Ritchie. Matthieu Perreault may have a broken bone in his arm. Carey Price is day to day with an upper body injury and is likely out for Saturday’s game against the Islanders. Do we need to keep going here? There will be more injury updates on Twitter.

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Huricanes @ Senators

Game Analysis

The Hurricanes played last night and fired 27 shots on Canuck goalie Ryan Miller only to see none of them go in. Carolina also only gave up 17 shots but gave up ten scoring chances as Vancouver won 3-0 in a game where Carolina not only had no puck luck but gave up a shorthanded goal as well. Carolina has a Metropolitan worst 33 points and travels to Ottawa to face a team that is meandering around .500. What is worse at this point? Ottawa has some more firepower with the likes of Bobby Ryan playing much better. Erik Karlsson is still a threat from the blue line. Even Marc Methot returned in Ottawa’s last game as they need a big, bruising defenseman that can be physical. That is what Ottawa has sorely missed but even then the team defense is susceptible to too many odd man rushes and scoring chances. These two teams could play one strange game as Carolina likes to try to drive possession and Ottawa seems to love to be driven so to speak. Both teams can also give up three goals a game like it is no one’s business. Ottawa is capable of finishing a little better and Erik Karlsson will be a vital part to their game. Cam Ward or Anton Khudobin will have to be sharp in net as they will be tested.

Money Line: Senators -160, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Erik Karlsson, D, Sens ($6600)
  • Bobby Ryan, RW, Sens ($5700)
  • Eric Staal, C, Canes ($6400)
  • Justin Faulk, D, Canes ($4900)

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Blue Jackets @ Bruins

Game Analysis

The Bruins are rolling as they have gone 7-1-3 in their last 11 games including a 3-0 win over the previously hot New York Rangers. They welcome a tired Blue Jackets team who lost a tough home game 3-1 to those same Rangers. The one bright spot for Columbus was Ryan Johansen who scored again for Columbus and is on an NHL high 12 game point streak. No one expected the Blue Jackets to be this beset by bad luck and injuries but basically they are a .500 team going nowhere fast even with Sergei Bobrovsky in net. Will he start tomorrow? That be a decision made later in the day. Brandon Dubinsky was bumped down to the fourth line on Friday night. That should tell you how things are going for Columbus right now. As for Boston, things are turning better. Tuukka Rask had a 30 save shutout on Thursday and over the last month is slowly looking like that Vezina goalie of the last few seasons. Scoring is starting to pick up. Even David Pastrnak, the rookie, is making quite an impression contributing a couple goals this week. With David Krejci playing consistent, healthy minutes, and Patrice Bergeron being Patrice Bergeron, the wings are showing more consistency, and so is the team. Even Zdeno Chara has started to look like himself. Sometimes it just takes longer to recover from injury as you age.

Line: Bruins -220. O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins ($9100)
  • Dougie Hamilton, D, Bruins ($3800)
  • Ryan Johansen, C, Blue Jackets ($7000)
  • Nick Foligno, LW, Blue Jackets ($5800)

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Avalanche @ Lightning

Game Analysis

The Lightning come in not knowing if Victor Hedman will play. He missed two games with a lower body injury. If he does play that will be a huge lift to a team trying to hold off Montreal in the highly competitive Atlantic. Funny thing about Tampa is Tyler Johnson has arguably been their best player on a line with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. The “triplets” as they have been called have combined for an incredible amount of offense in the last month vaulting Johnson into the top five or six in scoring. Steven Stamkos has looked better of late too and has crept up to 26 goals on the season. As for Colorado, it has not been pretty but they have dragged themselves back into the West playoff conversation going 6-3-1 in their last ten contests. Even Matt Duchene and company have managed to score a little more while Calvin Pickard and particularly Semyon Varlamov have played better hockey. The Avalanche still have a ton of defensive breakdowns but they are less than they had been. Tampa counters with Ben Bishop in net. This could be an odd game.

Line: Lightning -200. O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Tyler Johnson, C, Lightning ($6100)
  • Ben Bishop, G, Lightning ($7400)
  • Matt Duchene, C, Avalanche ($5900)
  • Semyon Varlamov, G, Avalanche ($9500)

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Oilers @ Panthers

Game Analysis

Here come the Oilers! This is a team that just finds ways to lose. They have improved a little bit of late even winning three games recently. However, Ben Scrivens and particularly their team defense still gives up too many goals (152 goals in 45 games). That is way too many. Even with Todd Nelson as coach, goals allowed have only improved a little. Justin Schultz has never become the defenseman he should. Trade rumors suggest he, Nail Yakupov, even Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle could all go. No one really is untouchable it seems. They are in a long rebuild and despite getting better play by Benoit Pouillot, a few players just cannot make up for the bunch. Florida has come back to Earth a bit as well. Roberto Luongo has looked a bit human for a couple games now. Jonathan Huberdeau has looked better with 21 points in his last 27 games and Aaron Ekblad is taking the torch on defense from Brian Campbell. This is still a game that matches up well for Florida who beat the Oilers by two just a little over a week ago.

Line: Panthers -200, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Taylor Hall, LW, Oilers ($6200)
  • Jordan Eberle, RW, Oilers ($5500)
  • Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Panthers ($5100)
  • Roberto Luongo, G, Panthers ($7600)

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Islanders @ Canadiens

Game Analysis

I was looking forward to this game until it was revealed that Carey Price would be likely out with an upper body injury. That took the wind out of the sails of this one a bit but the Islanders are on fire. Kyle Okposo recorded a “pants trick” or four goals against Pittsburgh on Friday in a 6-3 win. John Tavares had three assists but the key thing is Okposo is just a Penguins killer with 11 career goals against the Pens. Josh Bailey really seems to work on that first line. If they stick, maybe that is finally the long awaited solution. The other lines can float back to what they are and a very very good team can get even better. Jaroslav Halak may be in net again but he will not see Carey Price like we said but probably Daniel Tokarski. Tokarski has not been bad as a backup by any stretch but he is not Price. Max Pacioretty is starting to flex is goal scoring muscles and is up to 20 goals. He always seems to kill the Islanders (he is a Long Island native). P.K. Subban scored a huge goal in the third period against Columbus the other night. That may finally light a spark there.

Line: Habs -140, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Kyle Okposo, RW, Isles ($6000)
  • John Tavares, C, Isles ($7800)
  • Max Pacioretty, LW, Habs ($9000)
  • P.K. Subban, D, Habs ($5500)

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Predators @ Red Wings

Game Analysis

Pekka Rinne is expected to miss 3-5 weeks with a sprained knee and Carter Hutton had some shaky moments in his start against Washington. However, James Neal scored twice including a late goal in the third for a stirring 4-3 comeback win. Nashville has the best record in the NHL for a reason. They never quit. Nashville has a wealth of forwards and two way defensemen that can score. They have won five straight and are 8-0-2 in their last ten. Detroit on the other hand is still a bit banged up themselves. They are without Johan Franzen and Jimmy Howard for starters but they found a way to scratch out a 3-2 overtime victory over St. Louis when Pavel Datsyuk did Datsyuk things with 2.8 seconds left in overtime. It was a good thing too as Detroit is an abysmal one for the season in the shootout. Obviously Tomas Tatar is near 20 goals and Niklas Kronwall is key on defense for the Red Wings but the real question is how will Petr Mrazek handle the attack of Nashville. That will make this a fun watch. Detroit is stingiest against forwards.

Line: Red Wings -140, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Carter Hutton, G, Preds ($6600)
  • James Neal, W, Preds ($6000)
  • Pavel Datsyuk, C, Red Wings ($5700)
  • Petr Mrazek, G, Red Wings ($7500)

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Flyers @ Sabres

Game Analysis

Here we go. This game is not for the faint of heart but Philadelphia scored seven times against the Tampa Bay Lightning of all teams then tossed up a double bagel. They have not scored in over 140 minutes. Buffalo gave up a touchdown and an extra point to a Minnesota Wild team that had to acquire a backup goalie from Arizona. How bad do you have to be here? Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek should be able to feast on Buffalo’s defense which has a goal differential of -75 in just 45 games and are losers of nine in a row. Does it really matter who is in Buffalo’s net as they are good for giving up at least three a game most every night or more? If someone from Buffalo needs to get out of a slump is Zemgus Girgensons who really has just two points in his last ten and gradually is shooting less and less and less. Tyler Myers has faded as well. Jhonas Enroth has too. The seams are busting and things could get worse. Chris Stewart had eight points in his last 14 games but he may be traded soon enough. Quite a few players may be in Buffalo.

Line: Flyers -175. O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Claude Giroux, C, Flyers ($7100)
  • Jakub Voracek, RW, Flyers ($6200)
  • Chris Stewart, RW, Sabres ($3100)
  • Zemgus Girgenons, C, Sabres ($3300)

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Maple Leafs @ Blues

Game Analysis

Toronto comes off getting completely humbled in California. Their prize is to face a St. Louis team that is just as good. That does not seem like a help but Jonathan Bernier will be in net, not that it has mattered much. Phil Kessel has gone cold. Dion Phaneuf’s defense has gone even colder which has sparked more trade rumors. Maybe Randy Carlyle was not the problem. Nazem Kadri has been banished back to the second line for now as Kessel wanted his binky, Tyler Bozak. As for St. Louis, things are much better. Brian Elliott and Jake Allen are the clear starter and backup once again. Alexander Steen is wreaking havoc along with David Backes and Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues can suppress shots better than anyone when they are on and Toronto is a team that can be easily out shot when dominated. All the signs point towards an easy win by St. Louis but with Toronto’s season almost on the line here. Do they come up with something out of left field? Elliott is the probable in this one but keep an eye on the Blues beat just to make sure. Either way, Toronto only wins if the Blues have breakdowns and lots of them.

Line: Blues -220. O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Phil Kessel, RW, Maple Leafs ($6900)
  • Tyler Bozak, C, Maple Leafs ($4500)
  • Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Blues ($7200)
  • Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Blues ($5500)

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Capitals @ Stars

Game Analysis

At first glance it looks a little strange that Dallas is not more of a favorite. Washington comes off a tough back to back loss and the bookies should note that. Yet, Dallas is only a -140 favorite here which suggests not a very strong like. They were stymied by Ondrej Pavelec of all goalies the other night. Could they make Justin Peters a world beater? I suppose anything is possible but that does not seem likely. It takes a lot for bookies to hit the six on over/under but this is a game that really could warrant it but likely the trigger is not pulled. Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the Nashville loss and Eric Fehr is likely out with a lower body injury. The moving depth parts for the Capitals are always interesting but with Nicklas Backstrom at the pivot, Ovechkin and company are always dangerous. Dallas has Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. When Benneguin’s is open, the Stars are electrifying but when it is not, Dallas struggles mightily. Special teams have been an issue for Dallas. Yes Seguin has 14 power play points but Benn has struggled with only six. Guys like Trevor Daley and John Klingberg have been more proficient at times on the man advantage. Scary thought! Oh and start your engines!

Line: Stars -140, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Alex Ovechkin, PF, Caps ($8700)
  • Justin Peters, G, Caps ($6500)
  • Tyler Seguin, C, Stars ($7400)
  • Jamie Benn, LW, Stars ($6000)

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Coyotes @ Wild

Game Analysis

Wow, this is easy and almost needs little or no explanation. Arizona is pretty much bad in many ways. They traded their backup goalie (Devan Dubnyk) to Minnesota and now they face him on Saturday. The Coyotes under new owner Andrew Barroway seem hellbent on just blowing the whole damn thing up. That is great for Wild fans as Mike Smith will be in net again for Arizona. That is always an adventure for  a guy who is 2-7-1 in his last ten with a GAA of over 4 and a save percentage worse than .865. Ouch! The Coyotes could easily be in the running for McDavid or Eichel. The Wild still have playoff aspirations though time is critical. They gained a much needed 7-0 win over Minnesota where their offense came alive. Their next five games, including Saturday, feature winnable games. Can Devan Dubnyk carry them through this stretch? So far, so good. Mike Yeo knows his best players must be his best players. Zach Parise and company should be able to take advantage of a demoralized Coyotes team. Up until this slump, Minnesota was a top five team in terms of puck possession. Once guys like Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville, and Mikko Koivu get going again, the depth should as well.

Line: Wild -185, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Keith Yandle, D, Coyotes ($4900)
  • Mike Smith, G, Coyotes ($6900)
  • Zach Parise, LW, Wild ($6800)
  • Devan Dubnyk, G, Wild ($7100)

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Ducks @ Kings

Game Analysis

The Freeway Faceoff features teams headed in opposite directions. Los Angeles has seen their goaltending collapse into a below average mess which was crowned by a 5-3 loss to New Jersey where both goalies were pulled. Whomever starts whether it is Jonathan Quick or Martin Jones will be in front of a team that suppresses shots pretty well but has multiple breakdowns in critical times too often. Eight times in their last 15 games they have given up three straight goals to a team. Anaheim has played much better in the last two games, hitting the over on their team total twice and only allowing 15 shots against New Jersey. When Ilya Bryzgalov can have an easy, confidence building night, that serves the Ducks well as the Kings are always a tough team no matter what slump they are in. Anaheim is 7-2-1 in their last ten games. They are also 21-0-6 in one goal games so if it is close, Anaheim gets at least a point. Los Angeles has just struggled period. Without Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, the Kings first line has had to carry a lot of the load. Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, and Jeff Carter can only do so much. Their depth guys will have to be better and Drew Doughty has to stop turning the puck over along with the rest of the defense. Can they? The season grows shorter.

Line: Kings -145. O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Corey Perry, RW, Ducks ($8200)
  • Frederik Andersen, G, Ducks ($8600)
  • Anze Kopitar, C, Kings ($6100)
  • Jonathan Quick, G, Kings ($7200)

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Flames @ Sharks

Game Analysis

Normally this would be top billing later in the season but the last game on the schedule could be either a low scoring weird goalie duel or fireworks on both ends of the ice. Calgary is a dashing, young, entertaining team. San Jose can play that way as well but still like to control the pace. The Flames top four defense lead the league in scoring. Their attack mostly derives from that thrust and of course Johnny Gaudreau plus Jiri Hudler. San Jose relies on their top six with Couture, Pavelski, Thornton, Burns, then their depth in Nieto and Wingels among others. Both teams have curious goaltending issues as Joni Ortio has had to come up and spell Jonas Hiller basically. The Sharks have Antti Niemi who even in wins creates an adventure onto itself. Calgary makes third periods entertaining as no lead is safe. San Jose can make everything a bit of a voyage. Sean Monahan could be a wild card here as slowly he is dragging himself up from his inconsistent season. The second half should be better for the pivot. Look out NHL. As for the defense, Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, and Dennis Wideman push things but also have to be pivotal for Calgary to win. It does not always have to be on the scoresheet however. This is going to be quite the exciting game.

Line: Sharks -170. O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Joe Thornton, C, Sharks ($4800)
  • Antti Niemi, G, Sharks ($7900)
  • Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Flames ($4800)
  • Sean Monahan, C, Flames ($4800)

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