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.

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Injury Updates

The news is coming in as always but Michael Raffl has an illness and is considered day to day. Dion Phaneuf is week to week with a hand injury and Florida is healthy for the first time all season. Do we need to keep going here? There will be more injury updates on Twitter.

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Huricanes @ Rangers

Game Analysis

The Hurricanes played last night and were jumped on by the Blues early. However, they stabilized and tied the game before ultimately losing in the shootout. Justin Faulk lit the lamp again for Carolina and he has to be considered their number one threat from the blueline. Cam Ward came in relief to make 29 saves. He might see the start on Saturday anyway but check for goalie confirmation first, anyway. The Staal brothers reunion will be fun as Eric and Jordan often get the best of their brother Marc but lately the Rangers have taken the past few games. Rick Nash is criminally undervalued tonight at just $6400. Henrik Lundqvist will start for the team from Gotham and even Kevin Klein is valued at DraftKings minimum. You could do worse, right? Keep an eye on Derek Stepan as well. The dormant New York offense may just get a big boost thanks to their friends from Carolina. The Rangers are also big favorites in this game which should not be a surprise. Carolina has Elias Lindholm, Riley Nash, and Jiri Tlusty which may surprise the team from New York. However, something tells me the Rangers are not looking ahead here. This is a game where the Rangers simply need the two points in the worst way. The first ten minutes should give everyone an idea of how this may go.

Money Line: Rangers -220, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Rick Nash, LW, Rangers ($6400)
  • Henrik Lundqvist, G, Rangers ($9000)
  • Eric Staal, C, Canes ($6100)
  • Justin Faulk, D, Canes ($5500)

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Stars @ Jets

Game Analysis

These two teams met just recently and Ondrej Pavelec made 46 saves in a 2-1 Winnipeg win. Uh oh! Since Michael Hutchinson had a not so good start, something tells us that Paul Maurice goes with Pavelec once more. There are lots of players to look at. Obviously Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are going to lead the way for Dallas even if they are producing about six or seven points per ten games of late. Kari Lehtonen unfortunately is probably not the answer here as both teams figure they will score some goals. The cold winds will be blowing plenty in Winnipeg but the ice is going to heat up as both teams are quite capable of firing some pucks in the net. Winnipeg has had a bit of a wild ride and they do have a tendency to play a little run and gun, especially against wide open teams. Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien are rather dynamic threats from the Jets blueline and Dallas will have a hard time stopping them. Then again Dallas has that second line with Jason Spezza that nearly gave Winnipeg all it could handle the last time out. Does anyone think this is going to be a 2-1 game again? Honestly, no one really sees that happening. Do not forget the Ladd-Little-Wheeler connection in GPP’s either.

Line: Jets -135. O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Kari Lehtonen, G, Stars ($7000)
  • Jason Spezza, C, Stars ($5600)
  • Jacob Trouba, D, Jets ($4800)
  • Matthieu Perreault, C, Jets ($4500)

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Panthers @ Devils

Game Analysis

The Devils will be on their third game in four nights and after they put up a 14 shot stinker against Pittsburgh, expectations are kind of low against Florida. Florida actually beat the Jets 3-2 in their last game as Roberto Luongo had 30 saves. Aaron Ekblad had an excellent game and the rebirth of Aleksander Barkov continued. Florida has a bunch of young players that are just starting to believe in themselves. They had a period of struggle but this is a winnable road game against a Jersey team that can look almost Buffalo bad from time to time. Cory Schneider will not be starting on Saturday after getting peppered with 43 shots from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Keith Kinkaid will be manning the nets for the Devils and has looked a bit uneven in his last couple appearances. Where do you look for offense from the New Jersey squad? Eric Gelinas was a healthy scratch on Friday and so was Michael Ryder (though Ryder cannot do much of anything right lately). They also had a 5 on 3 power play for a full two minutes early and did nothing with it at all. Florida’s power play has been pretty good and they control the puck to the point of frustration at times. New Jersey will have their hands full. Maybe Jaromir Jagr’s line finds a way. Someone needs to.

Line: NL . O/U 5.

Players to Watch

  • Aleksander Barkov, C, Panthers ($4800)
  • Aaron Ekblad, D, Panthers ($4700)
  • Jaromir Jagr, C, Devils ($4800)
  • Keith Kinkaid, G, Devils ($6600)

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Kings @ Bruins

Game Analysis

Here come the Kings! They got up for a team and were finally rewarded as they beat Chicago. Now, they embark on a trip out East where they first face the Boston Bruins who are playing the best they have all season. Jake Muzzin scored the game winner and has looked great playing with Drew Doughty. Often Doughty will make a player look better but Muzzin has more than held his own and brought different aspects of his game up a notch. Jonathan Quick was very good when he had to be but did give up three goals once again. Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik will probably go up against the Patrice Bergeron line so they may just neutralize each other. Tuukka Rask stopped 43 of 45 shots against the New York Islanders the other night and is ready for a Kings onslaught if he sees it. David Pastrnak has been fun to watch. See if he floats up to power play time again as he often does during games. David Krejci and Milan Lucic looked quite good against the Islanders as Lucic had a three point game. Boston has only lost once in regulation in the last ten games. This will be a tall order for Los Angeles.

Line: Bruins -140, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Jeff Carter, C, Kings ($5700)
  • Jake Muzzin, D, Kings ($4700)
  • Zdeno Chara, D, Bruins ($4500)
  • Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins ($9300)

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Maple Leafs @ Flyers

Game Analysis

I was looking forward to this game just because both Toronto and Philadelphia can have their absolute streaks of insanity in a very bad way. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek have only been lukewarm of late but Toronto has been dead cold as they are losers of eight straight. However, they have combined for 14 power play points over their last ten games. Steve Mason has a .929 save percentage in his last six appearances. Defensively, Philadelphia has looked much better but they still have a long hill to climb. Toronto is getting closer to winning but that shootout loss to New Jersey and then the awful loss to Arizona definitely stung in a very painful way. The return of Joffrey Lupul may take a couple games to take full effect but Lupul tends to perform pretty well against Philadelphia. This game has a little of everything. Both teams have a below average penalty kill with good power plays. They also have driven their management completely mad. It will be a game where if the Flyers score first, that will immediately put Toronto on their heels. That might even be enough to almost insure a win. Philadelphia’s bottom six is probably better than Toronto’s. Then again everything is now at the moment.

Line: Flyers -165, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • Joffrey Lupul, RW, Maple Leafs ($4600)
  • Jonathan Bernier, G, Maple Leafs ($7000)
  • Claude Giroux, C, Flyers ($8200)
  • Chris VandeVelde, C, Flyers ($3100)

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Blue Jackets @ Lightning

Game Analysis

Tampa Bay is 20-4-1 at home. They need outscore their opponents by almost a goal and a half per game. Ben Bishop stopped 27 of 28 shots in a 5-1 win over Detroit while Cedric Paquette had an unexpected hat trick. That probably will not happen against Columbus but Steven Stamkos definitely could light the lamp a few times. Will Tampa’s triplets wake up? Nikita Kucherov, in particular, has a four game points drought going. Victor Hedman has to get it going for Tampa Bay along with Anton Stralman especially when it comes to the back end of the team’s power play unit. Why should anyone be surprised that Columbus may look into starting Anton Forsberg. Check Aaron Portzline and the Columbus beat just in case that actually happens. Columbus does have a power play that can be lethal with Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno leading the way along with their defensive corps. Tampa Bay has the advantage in almost every aspect except with the man advantage. The Blue Jackets connect at a 23.3% rate. Ben Bishop will have to be on his game, especially early.

Line: Lightning -225, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • David Savard, D, Blue Jackets ($2700)
  • Cam Atkinson, RW, Blue Jackets ($4800)
  • Steven Stamkos, C, Lightning ($7100)
  • Ben Bishop, G, Lightning ($8600)

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Oilers @ Flames

Game Analysis

Here we go. The Battle Of Alberta has been dominated by Calgary this year and even with Jonas Hiller in net, Edmonton still cannot counter with consistent goaltending even though that aspect has been better. Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler are still wreaking havoc but Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie have looked very humor over the last three or four games. Yes Ben Scrivens was able to beat Buffalo but against Calgary, that is a different story. Hiller definitely has an advantage and is in Edmonton’s head a little bit. When you look at this game, everything screams mismatch but Todd Nelson does have this Edmonton team playing better and it might translate into something. No one said it would be easy. Taylor Hall will be out again which will leave a void in the top six that the Oilers cannot replace. Sean Monahan should draw a favorable pairing against Edmonton’s second or third defensive pairing which are both shaky at best. Please realize the cheap option in net for Calgary means a lot of help. Alberta is still bleeding red and not blue and orange.

Line: Flames -210. O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Jordan Eberle, RW, Oilers ($5000)
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Oilers ($5500)
  • Jiri Hudler, RW, Flames ($4400)
  • Sean Monahan, C, Flames ($5200)

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Blackhawks @ Sharks

Game Analysis

So how much energy does Chicago have left in the tank after a big 4-1 win in Anaheim? That is the question. Antti Niemi should face Antti Raanta or at least that would be the expected goalie probables. San Jose has hit the over in four straight games and six of their last eight. Chicago is more than capable of scoring their fair share of goals. Ideally this combines to be an over type of game. Brent Burns fetches quite a bit of value in this game while Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are more of a gamble. Do you think about Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau? Marleau has eight points in his last nine games. People are finally seeing the Marleau that everyone remembers. It may be an adventure for Antti Niemi at times to be perfectly honest but even if he gives up a couple goals, that may just be okay for San Jose. Which bottom six guys step up for either team? That may just be the team that more likely wins. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp will have a say about that.

Line: Even. O/U 5 1/2 (Expect late movement!)

Players to Watch

  • Patrick Kane, RW, Hawks ($7600)
  • Patrick Sharp, C, Hawks ($6800)
  • Patrick Marleau, RW, Sharks ($7200)
  • Brent Burns, D, Sharks ($5100)

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EARLY SLATE

Capitals @ Canadiens

Game Analysis

At first glance it looks like Montreal would just have an easy time here as it is a routine Saturday afternoon game but Alex Ovechkin has ten goals in exactly his last ten games. Carey Price counters with two wins this week giving up only two goals and has a road shutout against the Rangers to boot. Braden Holtby was hot for almost a month but cooled off around the All Star Break. He will have to keep things close and Washington may have to play it closer to the vest than they usually do. This is the kind of game where the Troy Brouwer’s and Jay Beagle’s of the world have to play big. Everyone knows that Nicklas Backstrom will be there but Montreal can just counter with a little more fire power from their depth as well. Max Pacioretty loves playing at home and so do the Habs with a 16-5-2 record. Washington has their work cut out for them.

Line: Habs -135, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Alex Ovechkin, PF, Caps ($9500)
  • Mike Green, D, Caps ($5600)
  • Tomas Plekanec, C, Habs ($5700)
  • Carey Price, G, Habs ($9600)

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Islanders @ Red Wings

Game Analysis

Wow, this could be a real head scratching experience. Jaroslav Halak can look so good against the New York Rangers and then completely just not have enough in the tank for Boston? That kind of goes for the entire Islanders team. They seem to expend so much mental energy against the Rangers that they have little or no energy against their next opponent. It is better known as the “Rangers Hangover”. Now that is out of the way, maybe the Islanders focus on the matter at hand more as they face a Red Wings team that is a good bit better without Johan Franzen (out — head). Detroit knows they might have to score one or two more goals than usual with Mrazek in net at times. The Islanders, even without Kyle Okposo, are quite dangerous because they have four lines of depth. Someday people will realize that Detroit can score their fair share and that Islanders penalty kill is still an abysmal 73.5%. The more you look at this game the more the over seems to creep into the conversation. Does the Stephen Weiss line surprise the Islanders? That’s a great question!

Line: Red Wings -130, O/U 5 1/2

Players to Watch

  • John Tavares, C, Islanders ($9200)
  • Mikhail Grabovski, RW, Islanders ($3900)
  • Pavel Datsyuk, C, Red Wings ($5400)
  • Petr Mrazek, G, Red Wings ($7300)

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Coyotes @ Senators

Game Analysis

This is just a game where everything is heading into Ottawa’s realm. Mike Smith figures to face Robin Lehner and both goalies normally give up three goals in a game like taking candy from a baby. The Bobby Ryan line has kind of been equaled lately by the Mika Zibanejad line. Part of that is the emergence of Mike Hoffman but partly because that second line draws better defensive pairings to pick on. Arizona’s man advantage is probably top five in the league when it is on its game but Arizona’s penalty kill is in the bottom third at 76.1%. Ottawa still is hovering around .500 and that is no good. They just cannot put streaks together. That has to do with the lack of a consistent power play and consistency from all phases, period! IF you are Arizona, Mike Smith has to stand on his way while Arizona has to use their defensemen to their advantage. Dave Tippett knows moves are coming but right now, his job is still quite a difficult one.

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

Players to Watch

  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Coyotes ($5800)
  • Keith Yandle, D, Coyotes ($5600)
  • Mike Hoffman, LW, Sens ($4000)
  • Erik Karlsson, D, Sens ($8000)

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This is going to be a crazy set of slates. Good luck and on Twitter, we will have more breakdowns and statistics.