The NHL Game Breakdown has six games on the night slate for a Monday 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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The news is coming in as always but Cory Schneider will play on Monday against San Jose. Since the other injuries are not overly significant. Let’s get to work. There will be more injury updates on Twitter.
Huricanes @ Maple Leafs
The Hurricanes play much worse away from home and even against Toronto, no one is really sure what will happen. Anton Khudobin had to be great on Saturday as he stopped all but two in the 3- 2 win in Ottawa. Cam Ward should be up against Jonathan Bernier in this one as Toronto looks to get in the goal column a few times (one goal in their last four games). Something has to break here and the feeling is it actually might. The Maple Leafs have hit six posts in their previous three contests. Phil Kessel’s price has dipped enough that maybe he responds with a couple points. Kessel is only shooting at around 6% in the last dozen. Ouch! This is a theme from too many Leafs where their shooting percentages have taken some precipitous dips. Carolina has lived that most of the season. Can Eric Staal and Justin Faulk key the Hurricanes to victory or will Toronto finally be rewarded for some nasty luck. This could be a snoozer or a wild one depending on the start.
Money Line: Maple Leafs -160, O/U 5.5
Players to Watch
- Jonathan Bernier, G, Leafs ($7100)
- Phil Kessel, RW, Leafs ($7300)
- Eric Staal, C, Canes ($5600)
- Justin Faulk, D, Canes ($5300)
Canucks @ Panthers
The Panthers have lost three straight but a pretty even match via the Canucks come to town. For Vancouver, Radim Vrbata is re-united with the Sedin Twins which should make all of their owners happy. It just did not really work with Alex Burrows. The Canucks have two wins in their last five, both shutouts by Ryan Miller. Vancouver has been a better road team this year but yet still score 2.91 goals a game away from home. That is rather good. After the top six in Vancouver, scoring kind of becomes an adventure at times. As for Florida, they are still searching for that top, elite forward but they have Jonathan Huberdeau who has 21 points in his last 28 games, Nick Bjugstag who could score 30 goals, and Aaron Ekblad who is establishing himself as a possible Calder candidate. Then there is Jimmy Hayes, who is a bit of a wild card but has power forward talent. Naturally Roberto Luongo is in net which helps. This is a game that Florida really needs as they are still pretty close to a playoff berth and to give them some confidence as the All Star Break nears.
Line: Canucks -115. O/U 5
Players to Watch
- Radim Vrbata, RW, Canucks ($5200)
- Ryan Miller, G, Canucks ($9200)
- Aaron Ekblad, D, Panthers ($4400)
- Roberto Luongo, G, Panthers ($8200)
Blue Jackets @ Wild
Columbus is a hurting team that is demoralized and needs a win in the worst way. Minnesota was that team up until the middle of last week. It is strange how the NHL works but Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno need some help in Columbus. The defense gives up far too much. Sergei Bobrovsky has not quite been himself. This is a residue of all those injuries from the early part of the season. No one is really in sync. That sounds crazy but it is true. Certain players step up but no one does consistently. Minnesota had an outburst last week against Buffalo with seven goals then followed it up with a nice, albeit tight effort against the Coyotes. This should be a hard fought game probably with someone from Zach Parise’s line scoring or maybe Jason Pominville or even Thomas Vanek. The Blue Jackets have the under in three straight and weirdly have lost four of their last five despite playing well enough to win for long stretches. It usually comes down to one play and with Ryan Suter back and probably reinvigorated, Minnesota has more options and yes, Devan Dubnyk helps too.
Line: Wild -160. O/U 5.5
Players to Watch
- Ryan Johansen, C, Blue Jackets ($7400)
- Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Blue Jackets ($7800)
- Zach Parise, LW, Wild ($7800)
- Ryan Suter, D, Wild ($4600)
Avalanche @ Blues
Colorado will have a few more than 16 shots this time. Since the Avs last left St. Louis, they have played little better. They fired 40 shots on Ben Bishop and probably deserved two points instead of one. However, sometimes things do not pan out. Finally, the best players are playing. Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon finally are looking like the guys we thought they were. However, the team defense has been so-so. They have given up only 11 goals in the last week and a half but the shots and scoring chances are still being allowed. They are playing more lunch pail but the horses are not quite always consistent. St. Louis has all guns blazing with a 4-0-1 record of late and David Backes centering a line with Alex Steen and T.J. Oshie although occasionally on power plays you will see Vladimir Tarasenko or even Paul Stastny. St. Louis has an embarrassment of depth while Colorado does not. The Blues can suppress shots while the Avalanche cannot. This is why you have to look at Blues to at least stack or play in Cash options especially. For GPP’s do not consider Brian Elliott this time around.
Line: Blues -200, O/U 5.5
Players to Watch
- Erik Johnson, D, Avalanche ($5500)
- Semyon Varlamov, G, Avalanche ($8800)
- Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Blues ($6000)
- Alex Steen, LW, Blues ($8400)
Flames @ Kings
I am really interested in this game because how does Los Angeles respond after playing better without getting the second point? Calgary seems to be able to get that second point, like they did via Sean Monahan against San Jose. Johnny Gaudreau of the Flames skating against Drew Doughty alone might be worth the price of admission but for daily. Jonathan Quick will be in the pipes and for the first time in weeks looked like Jonathan Quick. Joni Ortio is probable for Calgary but check back on Twitter to see if there is a change. Calgary’s top four defensemen can definitely put a bit of fear into Los Angeles. Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie are the top pairing that could stretch LA’s puck possession at least a little bit. Jiri Hudler is the closest player next to Giordano as far as points per game. As for LA, Alex Kopitar and Marian Gaborik have found the spark again with 12 points each in their last ten games. Can LA build on their success from the Anaheim game? Will Calgary pull off another surprise? This game features possibilities to pick a little from each side.
Line: Kings -170, O/U 5.5
Players to Watch
- Sean Monahan, C, Isles ($5100)
- Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Isles ($4400)
- Alex Kopitar, C, Habs ($6500)
- Marian Gaborik, RW, Habs ($5700)
Devils @ Sharks
New Jersey had 15 shots against Anaheim on Friday night. That was it. We have seen these performances before. The Devils go into weird funks like this and the worst team they could play is another squad that can play up tempo. The Sharks can dominate possession which will send New Jersey chasing. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski had two points each in the last meeting, a 4-2 win in New Jersey. There is no reason not to expect something close to that again. Patrick Marleau has points in his last two games and even Joe Thornton chipped in with a goal against Calgary. Travis Zajac has points in four of his last six games. Andy Greene has no goals for New Jersey and single digits in points after many expected over 30 points this season. Cory Schneider stopped 14 of 15 shots before getting injured off a shot. He is back in the lineup though maybe a little rest could have been more prudent. How Schneider comes out to play may just tell us how close the Devils can keep this game. If he cannot, this could get ugly quick.
Line: Sharks N/A, O/U (likely 5).
Players to Watch
- Patrik Elias, LW, Devils ($4500)
- Cory Schneider, G, Devils ($8500)
- Joe Pavelski, C, Sharks ($6700)
- Alex Stalock, G, Sharks ($6800)