Big slate of games on Tuesday and with things quiet on the NBA front, it’s a great time to pick up some hockey. The Game Breakdown will get you ready with quick analysis of each contest as well as some of the top players to target in every game.
Ottawa Senators @ New York Rangers
Vegas Line: NYR (-190), O/U 5.5
The New York Rangers find themselves battling for playoff position in the Metropolitan Division, so they should be very motivated to head into the All-Star break with two points tonight against the Senators at Madison Square Garden. These two teams matchup very evenly as far as Corsi is concerned, but Coach Vigneault will be able to utilize the last line change to get the Nash/Brassard/Zuccarello into plenty of optimal scoring situations.
Behind the other bench, Dave Cameron will be do all he can to keep his top scoring line of Ryan/Hoffman/Zibanejad away from Ryan McDonagh, but considering that McDonagh is logging nearly 23 minutes of ice-time per game lately, he likely won’t have much luck. Erik Karlsson is essentially an extra forward if you use him in one of your defensive spots and is a near lock for 25+ minutes of ice-time making him a nice “contrarian” option.
The Rangers own an impressive 19.7% power-play this season and the Senators enter the game as the 5th most penalized team in the NHL this season. Despite owning a respectable 83.2% penalty kill, all five guys on the NYR PP#1 are solid options in this one. In net, Henrik Lundqvist owns a 5-1-0 record with a 1.59 GAA and .951 SV% thus far in January and is a rock solid option if you’re willing to pay his $9,200 salary.
Players to Watch:
- Rick Nash, $8,000
- Derick Brassard, $4,200
- Henrik Lundqvist, $9,200
Edmonton Oilers @ Washington Capitals
Vegas Line: WAS (-240), O/U 5.5
With the worst record in the Western Conference, the Edmonton Oilers will enter the Verizon Center as heavy Vegas underdogs. Edmonton was able to defeat the Capitals in their only other meeting this season, but their poor play lately makes any of them a bit too risky for cash game consideration in my opinion. In that previous meeting, a 3-2 victory for the Oilers, Edmonton chose to match fire-power with fire-power, rolling out the Hall/Eberle/RNH line against Alexander Ovechkin. Washington likely won’t object to that idea here tonight, making those three acceptable GPP targets.
Washington players are going to be popular plays tonight, and it’s for good reason. The Oilers are allowing 3.45 goals per game this season on the road and have won just three of their 22 road games. Ovechkin has already racked up eight goals in just nine game this month and, with this game likely being played with very little attention to defense, should pay off his hefty price-tag. Washington’s power-play has been lethal (24.1%), making their PP#1 all terrific options against Edmonton’s subpar 79.8% penalty kill. In net, Braden Holtby will look to bounce back from his first poor outing in quite a while and is definitely a viable option.
Players to Watch:
- Alexander Ovechkin, $9,000
- Nicklas Backstrom, $6,200
- Mike Green, $4,800
Nashville Predators @ Montreal Canadiens
Vegas Line: No line yet
Nashville has been near the top of the class all season, but the loss of Pekka Rinne between the pipes suddenly makes them much more vulnerable. With that said, few teams in the NHL clog up the neutral zone and disrupt an opposing rush as well as the Predators do. This game doesn’t look to be a track meet by any means, so I wouldn’t get carried away with players from this game, but with Carter Hutton between the pipes, there are a few appealing options on the Montreal bench.
Max Pacioretty is the catalyst of this Montreal offense and thrives at the Bell Center. In 21 home games, he’s racked up 12 goals and 17 assists and enters tonight’s game with seven goals and three assists in just seven January games. Michel Therrien will use every trick in the book to keep Pacioretty away from Shea Weber’s suffocating defense, making Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec intriguing options here. The Predators have uncharacteristically struggled with their penalty kill recently, making P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov both viable options as well.
The Bell Centre is a tough environment for road teams and Nashville has been much less threatening away from the Music City, so I won’t be targeting them tonight. Carter Hutton has started six road games so far this season, and the Predators have lost each of them. I expect Nashville to try to slow things down and attempt to grind out a low-scoring and tightly checked win, but ultimately be unsuccessful.
Players to Watch:
- Max Pacioretty, $8,800
- Tomas Plekanec, $6,700
- Andrei Markov, $5,100
Minnesota Wild @ Detroit Red Wings
Vegas Line: DET (-180), O/U 5.5
Both of these teams are solid puck possession teams, but Detroit has several things going their way here. 1) Minnesota lost a tough battle against Columbus last night, 2) The Wings are rolling right now; winning four straight games and six of their last seven, and 3) Minnesota has failed to show up against playoff caliber teams this season, posting a 6-16 record against teams over .500.
Minnesota relies heavily on the Parise/Koivu/Pomminville line offensively, so it stands reasonable to believe that Mike Babcock will have them shadowed by Pavel Datsyuk and the speedy Darren Helm which really hurts their fantasy outlook. With that said, that line is too talented to be overlooked completely, but may be better served for GPP use. As for Detroit, with the Datsyuk line focused on the defensive end, I really like the new line of Zetterberg/Abdelkader/Pulkkinen tonight. Zetterberg and Abdelkader are known commodities and have been on fire lately. The minimum priced Pulkkinen, on the other hand, has only been with the big club for a week now after being summoned from Grand Rapids where he was fourth in the AHL in scoring (20 goals, 19 assists in just 33 games). All three of these guys see time on the wings power-play and, while they may see a large dose of Ryan Suter, should have success against Minnesota’s tired legs.
In net, I’m not too high on either option. Mrazek’s filled in nicely for the injured Jimmy Howard, but his performance against Buffalo on Sunday has simply made me gun-shy. Devan Dubnyk started for the Wild last night, meaning we’ll likely see Niklas Backstrom tonight. He’s allowed ten goals in his last two starts and the Wild have dropped eight straight games in which he started.
Players to Watch:
- Henrik Zetterberg, $7,400
- Nicklas Kronwall, $4,000
- Teemu Pulkkinen, $2,500
Vancouver Canucks @ Tampa Bay Lightning
Vegas Line: TBL (-180), O/U 5.5
Vancouver has been playing excellent hockey and have outscored their opponents 10-1 during their current three game winning streak. However, they’ll take a step up in competition tonight as they head to Tampa to take on the Atlantic Division leading Lightning. Corsi numbers suggest that Tampa Bay owns a distinct advantage here in puck possession, which could lead to trouble for a Vancouver team who was in action last night. Chasing the puck and playing on tired legs are usually a recipe for penalties and, despite Vancouver’s excellent penalty kill, I still want some exposure to the Bolts power-play.
Tampa Bay’s been absolutely dominant at home, sporting an 18-4-1 home record and outscoring their opponents 77-48. Anyone from their top two forward lines is a decent option tonight and Hedman and Stralman are both strong choices on the blue line. Ben Bishop isn’t cheap, but he has a nice chance at a “W” and sports a 16-3-1 record to go along with a 1.99 GAA and .927 SV% in his 20 home starts.
The Sedin/Sedin/Vrbata line is responsible for such a large percentage of the Vancouver offense that they’re really the only viable forward options tonight.
Players to Watch:
- Nikita Kucherov, $4,500
- Steven Stamkos, $8,500
- Ben Bishop, $8,000
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers
Vegas Line: PIT (-160), O/U 5.5
When these two cross-state rivals square off, goals usually follow. The Flyers skated to a 5-3 victory early in their only meeting thus far this season, but things have changed quite a bit since that October game. Patric Hornqvist’s injury leaves Evgeni Malkin on an island by himself on Pittsburgh’s second forward line, so it’ll be hard to invest the $8,600 asking price for him tonight. The Kunitz/Crosby/Perron line is lethal, and should have success tonight. Coach Berube will look to match that line with the physicality of the Umberger/Couturier/Read line as often as possible, but we’ve all seen that Crosby is matchup proof. The Flyers own the league’s worst penalty kill which could be shredded by the Penguins 5th ranked power-play if the Flyers can’t stay out of the box.
I expect Pittsburgh to win this game, but that doesn’t mean Philadelphia won’t be involved in the scoring. No duo in the NHL has hooked up for more goals than Claude Giroux and Jacub Voracek have this season (33 goals) and Voracek leads the NHL in multi-point games this season (17). With Pittsburgh likely content with just trying to outscore the Flyers, these two could be in for a big night. Mark Streit has scored goals in back-to-back games and now has nine points in ten games this month, making him a nice option on the blue-line.
Players to Watch:
- Sidney Crosby, $9,200
- David Perron, $5,800
- Jakub Voracek, $5,900
Boston Bruins @ Dallas Stars
Vegas Line: DAL (-110), O/U 5.5
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin combine to form one of the most dangerous offensive lines in the NHL, however, I won’t be willing to pay their steep asking prices tonight. Patrice Bergeron is one of the game’s best true “shut down” defensive forwards, and Boston will do everything in their power to get him on the ice against Dallas’ top line. Inevitably Dallas will find ways to evade Bergeron, but then you’re still stuck dealing with Zdeno Chara down low and Tuukka Rask in net. The absence of Brad Marchand is certainly a plus for Benn and Seguin, but they’ll still have their hands full.
Boston’s balanced scoring is nice from a real life hockey perspective, but it’s less than ideal in the daily fantasy world. However, Dallas is allowing 3.29 goals per game this season and are allowing 31 shots against per game, so they should have plenty of opportunities. With the Bergeron line on defensive duty, Krejci/Lucic will feel the weight of the offensive pressure. These two have had disappointing seasons by the standards so far, but are showing signs of life lately and are very reasonably priced. Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton are both very willing to jump into the play offensively and see plenty of run with the man advantage. They’re both nice targets tonight against Dallas’ poor 79.1% penalty kill.
Players to Watch:
- David Krejci, $5,000
- Torey Krug, $5,300
- Jason Spezza, $5,500
Arizona Coyotes @ Chicago Blackhawks
Vegas Line: CHI (-330), O/U 5.5
The Coyotes have dropped five straight games and should probably be completely ignored in daily fantasy hockey tonight. Not only are they huge underdogs by Vegas standards, but they’re completely outmatched by Corsi standards, as well. With Jonathon Toews and Marian Hossa combining to form one of the game’s best defensive forward lines, the Arizona forwards are in for some tough sledding. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle are always offensive threats, but with Arizona likely chasing the puck all night, their only real upside is limited to some potential damage on the power-play and the Blackhawks own the league’s best penalty kill.
Chicago players are going to be very, very popular tonight. Arizona is allowing 3.4 goals and 31.8 shots against per game on the road this season. The Coyotes enter the game sporting the league’s 5th worst penalty kill and it’s reasonable to expect them to find themselves shorthanded quite frequently. Picking the right Chicago forwards is going to be the tricky part, but there should be plenty of goals to go around here as Mike Smith is proving to be a very ineffective netminder. Defensively, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are the two defensemen who see regular time on the power-play and are both terrific options at rather reasonable price points. Corey Crawford should find himself between the pipes and clearly has a very high probability for the “W” which solidifies him as one of the top netminders to target.
Players to Target:
- Patrick Kane, $8,200
- Duncan Keith, $4,200
- Corey Crawford, $8,300
Best of luck tonight!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)