The NHL Game Breakdown has five games on the night slate 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 Nikita Zadorov will be back from his suspension. Evgeni Malkin is out for Pittsburgh. There will be more information coming via Twitter. In the meantime, it’s time for the breakdown!
Penguins @ Devils
The Penguins are 1-3-2 in their last six games. It has not been pretty and Sidney Crosby looked horrible in Wednesday night’s 4-0 blanking by Washington. He even resorted to “Psycho Sid” by throwing a cheap shot at former teammate Brooks Orpik. Pittsburgh often has problems with New Jersey in New Jersey. Cory Schneider is quietly having a rather good season despite the lack of goal support. He has faced more shots but still is around a .920 save percentage. Considering how bad New Jersey really is, that is impressive. Pittsburgh is still dangerous and the Steve Downie factor has to always be considered. He is an offensive threat on this team. Marc-Andre Fleury should be in net for this one though he has given up three or more goals in four of his last five games. Travis Zajac will see lots of ice time against Sidney Crosby as he often annoys the number one player in the NHL better than most. New Jersey must get production up and down the lineup. This is not Toronto after all and the Penguins will come in very hungry. Expect a bit more entertaining game with a few more goals than what was seen at The Rock on Wednesday.
Money Line: Penguins -135, O/U 5
Players to Watch
- Sidney Crosby, C, Pens ($8800)
- Steve Downie, RW, Pens ($3200)
- Cory Schneider, G, Devils ($8500)
- Jaromir Jagr, RW, Devils ($4800)
Blues @ Hurricanes
The Blues are coming off a rough and tumble game against Nashville and will be starting Jake Allen for what feels like forever. With Martin Brodeur now retired, maybe we see more of the Jake Allen from early in the year before the Brian Elliott injury. It will be intriguing to see a Carolina team that is 7-2-1 in their last ten does with a tired St. Louis squad. Eric and Jordan Staal have driven opponents crazy the past couple weeks as well. Cam Ward is the likely probable one would have to think. If something changes, we will let you know. Justin Faulk and Andrej Sekera have been playing better from the blueline of late too. Is this just a temporary uptick or something Carolina can ride in the second half? St. Louis is a pretty solid test. Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo are two of the best in the game and will challenge Carolina forwards early and often. Tampa Bay had statistical domination in possession last game out and the Blues can play similarly while suppressing shots even better. Both teams have their work cut out for them. This could be rather low scoring. Just an update….Anton Khudobin will be the likely starter and not Cam Ward.
Line: Blues (-145). O/U 5. (Expect late movement).
Players to Watch
- Alex Steen, LW, Blues ($8500)
- Jake Allen, G, Blues ($7600)
- Anton Khudobin, G, Canes ($7900)
- Andrej Sekera, D, Canes ($3700)
Predators @ Avalanche
This will not be low scoring as Nashville and Colorado hit the over relatively easily the last game against each other. This time Carter Hutton is in for the Preds again and expect more of the same in Colorado. Team defense is often very iffy in Colorado when they play the upper echelon of Central Division foes. This game should see Semyon Varlamov in net again as Calvin Pickard was assigned back to Lake Erie. The key comes down in this one to who basically scores last. I wish I was kidding. Nashville is going to fire lots of shots but the last shot really could be the game winner. Shea Weber and Roman Josi have been scary good of late but do not forget Mike Fisher, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, and you get the idea. Nashville has lots of depth. Colorado has their under performing trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Matt Duchene. They really have to get going and soon! Have we mentioned Filip Forsberg and James Neal yet? You get the idea. This is going to be a high event game and probably the highest one of the night.
Line: Even. O/U 5.5 (There WILL be movement!).
Players to Watch
- James Neal, LW, Preds ($7100)
- Carter Hutton, G, Preds ($6900)
- Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Avs ($5300)
- Semyon Varlamov, G, Avs ($8200)
Blackhawks @ Ducks
Everything about this game screams low scoring. The last two meetings in Anaheim have seen a total of five goals. Yes that is inspiring, I know. The star power is massive. Patrick Kane has an insane amount of points in the last month as he and Patrick Sharp have wreaked havoc. Corey Crawford lost a tough one to Los Angeles on Wednesday but always seems to play well against the Ducks. Frederik Andersen is no slouch either as he figures to get the start but again just keep an eye on the beat writers, just in case. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are the main threats but Rickard Rakell has been on a pretty good streak lately and Patrick Maroon always seems to do something in these type of games. Both sides have tons of depth to go around and yet they struggle mightily at times on the man advantage. It is an odd and strange cocktail that two rather high scoring teams tend to produce rather low scoring yet mid-high event games. One has the feeling someone’s bottom six breaks through and that ultimately decides this game. It will be quite the chess match.
Line: NL, O/U 5.
Players to Watch
- Patrick Kane, RW, Blackhawks ($8600)
- Patrick Sharp, LW, Blackhawks ($3900)
- Rickard Rakell, C, Ducks ($2700)
- Frederik Andersen, G, Ducks ($9200)
Sabres @ Canucks
If we could spotlight all four players from the Canucks, we would seriously consider it for this game. Buffalo has lost 12 games in a row and really have only been in a couple of those games. The Sedin Twins should be able to hop all over Jhonas Enroth in this along with Radim Vrbata and the usual cast of characters. Ryan Miller will face some shots but how many. That is always the question when facing Buffalo. Do you risk playing the opposition netminder? That is definitely an easier answer than normal. It is worth a shot as Miller is 4-4 with a .939 save percentage in January with two shutouts. This could even be an Alex Burrows kind of game too. As for Buffalo, if it isn’t Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, Chris Stewart or Zemgus Girgensons, it might be nothing. Buffalo is going to have to muck it up majorly to even make this a game. That is the problem. No one can really see that happening but if they can get a soft one or two past Miller early, maybe they have a snowball’s chance. The Sedin line with Vrbata has the major points potential here obviously.
Line: Canucks -330, O/U 5. (Movement likely!)
Players to Watch
- Zemgus Girgensons, C, Sabres ($4100)
- Tyler Ennis, C, Sabres ($5300)
- Radim Vrbata, RW, Canucks ($5300)
- Ryan Miller, G, Canucks ($8900)