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. Thursday features a robust 11 game schedule with lots of featured contests. Speaking of…

We have a nice way to make some money in a GPP tonight for the beginners.

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Injury Updates

The news is coming in, as always. Make sure you’re checking Twitter, and be sure to keep an eye out during warm-ups to make sure your player is not out for whatever reason.

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Anaheim Ducks @ Boston Bruins

Game Analysis

This is where Boston is in must win mode. Boston is actually a point behind Ottawa, and the Senators have a game in hand now. The Bruins almost have to view every game as two points or bust at this point in the season. Tuukka Rask is feeling the effects of playing over 60 games at this point, and really, this is a tired team. The problem is Anaheim is considerably fatigued too. They have been shelled for 12 goals over the last two games, and it doesn’t seem to matter who is in net for them. Team defenses have failed both Boston and Anaheim. Anaheim has been able to squeak out a few wins recently, but Boston is 0-3-2 in their last five games scoring less than two goals per game. Despite all this, Boston is the very slightest of favorites, but only because Anaheim may be a touch worse. Can the Patrice Bergeron line get it done, or will Bruce Boudreau finally let guys like Rickard Rakell play meaningful minutes? It is as if these two coaches cannot get out of each other’s way. I wish I was kidding, but we may be onto something. At least this should be pretty entertaining hockey.

Money Line: Bruins -120, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Corey Perry, RW, Ducks ($8300)
  • Ryan Kesler, C, Ducks ($5300)
  • David Pastrnak, RW, Bruins ($3900)
  • Ryan Spooner, C, Bruins ($4200)

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Arizona Coyotes @ Buffalo Sabres

Game Analysis

This is TANK WARS! That’s right. The two worst teams will battle it out here for the chance of possibly picking Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in June. Arizona has 52 points on the season and Buffalo has 47 points. By the way, neither team has a scoring leader near their season point total! Ouch! However, Anders Lindback has been very good for Buffalo facing the high volume shot loads nightly. Both teams are scoring less than two goals a game and giving up around three goals a game of late. No one should be surprised here that they are neck and neck in the standings, with Edmonton still lurking. This may be a night to stack Tyler Ennis and Matt Moulson with a little of Mark Arcobello. Maybe you even play Lindback in GPP formats. Either way this one is not for the faint of heart. These are not easy decisions, and no one really knows how wild or tame this game will actually be. It might be worth it to play a few players just because of the contrarian nature.

Money Line: Even, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Shane Doan, RW, Coyotes ($4000)
  • Mark Arcobello, C, Coyotes ($3600)
  • Tyler Ennis, C, Sabres ($5000)
  • Anders Lindback, G, Sabres ($7200)

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Los Angeles Kings @ New York Islanders

Game Analysis

The game looks to be a rather physical, in your face type of affair, as the Kings can score while playing their bruising style. They have seven goals so far during the first two games of this road trip, and Jonathan Quick figures to start yet again as at this point it is no retreat, no surrender for Los Angeles. The New York Islanders also need to get back on track, as they are 1-3-1 in their last five and the under has now hit in a whopping six straight contests. That is almost unheard of on Long Island. John Tavares has bounced back with points in two straight after a five game point drought. Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik have wreaked havoc over the last two games, and the Islanders may just be their next victim. When Los Angeles is playing their game, few teams can really come close to matching up with them. The Isles may be one of the very few if they can keep their heads on straight and play some powerful, disciplined hockey. Jaroslav Halak is the expected starter in net for the Islanders. He looked much better against Minnesota despite losing 2-1 in a shootout.

Money Line: New York Islanders -120, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Drew Doughty, D, Kings ($5400)
  • Anze Kopitar, C, Kings ($5700)
  • Anders Lee, C, Isles ($4200)
  • Travis Hamonic, D, Isles ($4300)

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New Jersey Devils @ Washington Capitals

Game Analysis

Hey, could this really be that ugly of a game? Yes – if Washington plays sloppy, this has the looks of being a real quiet snooze. Cory Schneider and Braden Holtby figure on dueling it out in sort of a Vezina Nomination knockout round. The problem is, the Devils cannot score worth a damn, and Washington has a 47-goal goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals seem to have just enough weapons to frustrate New Jersey all night. Both teams have only scored two goals a game over the last five games, though. Something has to kind of give here. The spreads are obvious, as Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom love to play against New Jersey when they are at home. The Devils have a tough road ahead of them with this one, and this is the start of three games in four nights for an old team. Do they pace themselves, or do they go full bore? New Jersey has a few weapons in Adam Henrique, Steve Bernier, and Jordin Tootoo. It is a weird gang over there, and they are outmatched. Washington’s depth is much better, and John Carlson and Mike Green will have an impact.

Money Line: Capitals -185, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Adam Henrique, C, Devils ($4500)
  • Adam Larsson, D, Devils ($3500)
  • Nicklas Backstrom, C, Caps ($5500)
  • Braden Holtby, G, Caps ($8300)

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Pittsburgh Penguins @ Carolina Hurricanes

Game Analysis

Rarely do we toss a value player into our players to watch, but Steve Downie is perfect for a potentially nasty game like this with lots of physical play. I am a bit surprised given Pittsburgh’s misfortunes that the bookies have this much faith in them, but they do. This has been a lot of fun to look at and pour over the numbers because, yes, the Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist for one more game. Carolina has lost four straight, and both Pittsburgh and Carolina have a goal differential of -6 in their last five games (only seven goals for). Pittsburgh usually does not get in droughts like this, though the Hurricanes do. Both teams are well entrenched in the top 10 as far as puck possession, but their PDO’s are in the chateau bow wow class of futility. Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Ward are your expected starters. One has to think there will be some sort of breakout, as far as goals scored. Sidney Crosby should be able to have a pretty good night against a defense that can give up goals in bunches.

Money Line: Pens -175, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Kris Letang, D, Pens ($5900)
  • Steve Downie, RW, Pens ($2900)
  • Eric Staal, C, Canes ($5300)
  • Cam Ward , G, Canes ($7000)

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Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Game Analysis

This game has potential to be a true study in insanity. Yes, God willing, Florida can keep both their goalies healthy this time because that did not go so well last time the two teams played. That is ultimately why Toronto won 3-2. Keep an eye on Nick Bjugstad, who was out Tuesday for Florida. We will hopefully have more information before warm-ups. Roberto Luongo will likely play as long as Florida is still alive in the playoff picture. The first line for the Panthers has created lots of chances but has been hit or miss when it comes to actually scoring. Toronto has not had much to crow about offensively or defensively. They have lost six straight games and have a goal differential of -14 in that span. Ouch! Does Phil Kessel’s line show up because this is not a playoff team? I wish I was kidding, but that is just how it is. Florida must win this game, or they are theoretically out of the playoffs. Toronto must lose this game to get a better pick. Yet, this is why they play the game!

Money Line: Panthers -160, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Roberto Luongo, G, Panthers ($7800)
  • Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Panthers ($4700)
  • Dion Phaneuf, D, Leafs ($4600)
  • James van Riemsdyk, LW, Leafs ($5400)

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New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators

Game Analysis

This is the game of the night for obvious reasons. Ottawa has won seven straight games and climbed into the second wildcard spot in the East. The Rangers are getting ready for Henrik Lundqvist’s return this weekend after a vascular injury (neck). Will the Rangers get caught looking ahead, or can they take advantage of Ottawa’s goalie, Andrew Hammond? Hammond is 14-0-1 in his first 15 decisions, while Cam Talbot has also had an excellent stint while keeping the starting goalie chair warm for Lundqvist. Both teams are starting to play in higher scoring games again. The Rangers have seen the over hit in their last two games, and the Senators have hit three times in a row. There is sort of an apex curve where this game could feature at least six goals combined. It will be fun to see how Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman handle another test against a top team. So far, the young wingers have held up rather well. Derek Stepan has looked a bit better of late, while Rick Nash is still missing in action. Keep an eye on Mika Zibanejad as he can light the lamp from almost anywhere. Did we mention Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson really like playing the Rangers? This will be good!

Money Line: Even, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Derek Stepan, C, Rangers ($5100)
  • Rick Nash, LW, Rangers ($3800)
  • Mike Hoffman, LW, Senators ($4900)
  • Mark Stone, RW, Senators ($4300)

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Nashville Predators @ Tampa Bay Lightning

Game Analysis

The Lightning and Predators are still, more or less, going in opposite directions. Nashville managed to sneak a win their last time out, while Tampa Bay rallied to score twice in the third to defeat Florida 4-3. The Preds have won two straight, while Tampa has now won four in a row and might finally get close to taking that Atlantic Division lead once more. The triplets should be able to avoid that pesky Josi-Weber pairing, but the speed of Steven Stamkos might be enough to cause even more match-up problems. Pekka Rinne and Ben Bishop figure to be the starters in this one, as both teams may take the first period or more to feel each other out. These top sixes can be fun watch (actually top nines), but Tampa turns theirs loose, while Nashville of late has been shy to gun the gas pedal. This is one Rinne will have to steal for Nashville because the Lightning are 30-7-1 at home, with a goal differential of +1.34. That is a big margin. If Nashville keeps the game close and can take advantage of chances then they might have this.

Money Line: Bolts -160, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Mike Fisher, C, Preds ($4500)
  • Filip Forsberg, RW, Preds ($5100)
  • Alex Killorn, LW, Bolts ($3900)
  • Tyler Johnson, C, Bolts ($5500)

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San Jose Sharks @ Detroit Red Wings

Game Analysis

Hey, this game should just be the “shut the hell up or golf” game! People have been clamoring for the demise of the San Jose Sharks for a long time. They might get their wish at long last. San Jose needs help and pretty much has to win out. They give up goals in bunches, and their penalty kill has just collapsed far too often. Detroit has the best power play unit in the league, by the way. Jimmy Howard has looked bad, and so has Antti Niemi of late, so goaltending is too volatile to really consider. You would think Howard, but his Goals Against Average is 3.03 and he has a sub .900 save percentage, with a .500 record over his last ten games played. Maybe Petr Mrazek gets another chance in a big spot. Who knows! Again Antti Niemi is just not that much better of an option either. His save percentage has been much better at .922, but he has a mere four wins in his last ten games. San Jose just gives up too many goals without scoring enough, but maybe Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski have one last great game for all to see. As for Detroit, keep an eye on Pavel Datsyuk. He might actually give it a go. Anyway, expect a few goals in this game.

Money Line: Red Wings -155, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Joe Pavelski, C, Sharks ($8800)
  • Brent Burns, D, Sharks ($6300)
  • Henrik Zetterberg, C, Red Wings ($6400)
  • Tomas Tatar, LW, Red Wings ($4600)

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Colorado Avalanche @ Vancouver Canucks

Game Analysis

It is one of those games where all the data tilts toward Vancouver. Yet for some reason, there is some doubt on the Canucks. Colorado has been playing great of late until that two game losing streak hit them straight in the gut. However, Vancouver has won four of five. Vancouver has scored over three goals a game in their last five games, while the Avalanche have just 11 goals for in that time frame. The problem is, with Colorado you never know what you may get from the Patrick Roy team. They can be excellent, or they can be the team to lose two in a row in ugly fashion. Overall, the Avalanche score only 2.28 goals per game on the road, and their power play is 13.5% on the year. That is just abysmal. You cannot make the playoffs, or beat a bubble/playoff caliber team, with those numbers. Semyon Varlamov (at least he is rested after being yanked) and Eddie Lack should be the goalies dueling it out here.

Money Line: Canucks -180, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Avs ($6500)
  • Tyson Barrie, D, Avs ($4400)
  • Alex Burrows, RW, Canucks ($3900)
  • Eddie Lack?, G, Canucks ($7700)

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Montreal Canadiens @ Winnipeg Jets

Game Analysis

Montreal lost a tough one in Nashville on Tuesday night, and a win could be useful here for them as they try to continue and hold off Tampa Bay. Both teams have only given up nine goals in their last five games. Ondrej Pavelec has really has found a way to tantalize DFS players one more time. Do you take him and take your chances? Hey, Winnipeg is an electric atmosphere, and as the Jets slowly smell a playoff berth, this is a really important game for them. Montreal is almost a dead even team on the road (-.05 goals per game differential). Carey Price goes into one hostile environment, and this is where he gets really tested. Can the Habs penalty kill do a better job than they did against Nashville? One sure hopes so! Will the Buff play? That is the question. Dustin Byfuglien would be a heck of an upgrade. Then again, so would Bryan Little. The Jets may have to wait a bit longer there, but stranger things have happened. This will be a fun game to watch no matter who plays. Get the Mark Scheifele line stack ready, just in case.

Money Line: Jets -140, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Max Pacioretty, LW, Habs ($8200)
  • P.K. Subban, D, Habs ($5600)
  • Michael Frolik, RW, Jets ($4500)
  • Ondrej Pavelec?, G, Jets ($8400)

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