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. The final three Saturdays are here and we will run down the entire 13 game slate this week, the 13 game barrage next Saturday, and finally the 15 game schedule the last day of the regular season. Now like Neo from “The Matrix”, come here and let’s roll!

We have a nice way to make some money in a GPP tonight for the players who like to spend a bit.

Enter the NHL $10,000 Face-Off – $27 Entry HERE

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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Nashville Predators @ Washington Capitals

Game Analysis

This is where we may find out if Nashville is getting back to that team we saw earlier in the year or if they are still mucking around. One could call the game the “Trade Bowl” in honor of the trade that sent Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat. Ultimately, Mike Ribeiro wound up in Nashville as well. It looks like at this moment, Pekka Rinne faces off against Braden Holtby in a crucial came for both teams. James Neal is out with an injury as he has been for almost the last two weeks. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are going to see tons of Roman Josi and Shea Weber. That left side one timer will be a big point of emphasis. Peter Laviolette remembers that play well as a former coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. Washington has be aware of Nashville’s overall team speed. It can burn you and quickly. This will be a fun chess match with a good amount of scoring chances for both sides. When you get right down to it, this game will have a playoff feel and yet have moments of total defensive hockey and times of high event hockey all in one contest. Expect the unexpected here!

Money Line: Capitals -130, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Filip Forsberg, RW, Preds ($5000)
  • Mike Ribeiro, C, Preds ($3800)
  • Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals ($9200)
  • Nicklas Backstrom, C, Capitals ($5400)

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Arizona Coyotes @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Game Analysis

This is Mike Smith’s ship I mean tank to steer. Arizona will probably start him, barring injury, for the rest of the season. Sidney Crosby will not be the focal point of attraction here as it will actually be Evgeni Malkin and his enticing $7500 price tag. Malkin was taking line rushes like he is playing so I suggest penciling him and waiting till the morning just to be sure. The same goes for Patric Hornqvist, who is only $6000. Does the return of these two players solidify the offense enough to help the defensive side of the equation. Hell a little confidence could help everyone in Pittsburgh. They really are in need of a good, solid game here. Marc-Andre Fleury or Thomas Greiss, who do you go with? Either way, it is a crap-shoot until the Penguins can show that the bad luck is not just a mirage or a big bump in the road. The bottom line is Arizona can score some goals and Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mark Arcobello were major headaches for Pittsburgh the last time in Arizona. The Penguins had better be ready for this and so should Sidney Crosby and company.

Money Line: NL, O/U 5 (Likely to change with heavy PIT favorite)

Players to Watch

  • Shane Doan, RW, Coyotes ($4000)
  • Mark Arcobello, C, Coyotes ($3700)
  • Evgeni Malkin?, C, Penguins ($7500)
  • Patric Hornqvist?, RW, Penguins ($6000)

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Anaheim Ducks @ New York Islanders

Game Analysis

The game looks to be a rather physical but fast paced for an afternoon game. It figures to be a war for both teams as the Islanders and Ducks are trying to lift themselves out of slumps. They have a lot of the same problems in a way. The goaltending has slumped. Timely goal scoring has seemingly disappeared although Anaheim did get a little help in Boston on Thursday as they stole two points from the Bruins in a game where Anaheim did not deserve to even force regulation to be honest. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry versus John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Now this is what we are talking about here! However, Tavares and Okposo each made a mistake that cost the Islanders dearly the last couple games. That is very unusual. Again this game will feature the defense jumping into the play a ton, mistakes all over, and lots of high event hockey type chances. Predicting an outcome will be a challenge as both teams can easily score or give up 5+ goals like it was taking candy from a baby. At the very least, expect a good bit of entertainment with several daily options from each side. Look at the kid line from the Isles and Sami Vatanen from the blue line for the Ducks along with their bottom six.

Money Line: New York Islanders -125, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Sami Vatanen, D, Ducks ($4400)
  • Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ducks ($7400)
  • Anders Lee, C, Isles ($4100)
  • Travis Hamonic, D, Isles ($4200)

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New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins

Game Analysis

Hey, do we finally see Henrik Lundqvist in an actual NHL game? After 7-8 weeks, the answer looks to be likely. Keep an eye for confirmations in the morning. Tuukka Rask is the probable for Boston but wow are the Bruins reeling after a tough loss to Anaheim where they had the game won in regulation then snatched away. By the way David Krejci on the wing still looks weird and every other shift in his first game back, he looked more like a center. It was almost funny to see the coaches yelling on the bench. Oops! Hey, these things do happen. Either way, Boston is a more potent team now but again the defense is still slower and more tired without Dougie Hamilton and the fatigue is getting worse. Maybe the adrenaline rush of playing the New York Rangers will do something for them. If it does not, then it is going to be a long afternoon. The Rangers are riding one hell of a PDO wave right now. Now if Lundqvist does play, maybe that gets both teams up? People are going to get hit all over the place. This will be a war!

Money Line: Bruins -115, O/U 5 (may tip to even)

Players to Watch

  • Derek Stepan, C, Rangers ($5600)
  • Keith Yandle, D, Rangers ($5400)
  • David Krejci, C, Bruins ($4300)
  • Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins ($8600)

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San Jose Sharks @ Philadelphia Flyers

Game Analysis

Two teams getting ready for the golf course still have a little unsettled business as these two teams could go up and down the ice. Defense? Well isn’t that cute? Both goaltenders will need to have their heads on a swivel as opportunities will come fast and furious at times. Antti Niemi and Steve Mason are your expected goalies. As San Jose is pretty much has almost every player playing for themselves, it might be a perfect time to have Philadelphia’s first line stacked. At the very least, they are going to get chances early and often. Mark Streit took out Wayne Simmonds with a shot for the season and that might hurt some but honestly little of that matters now. Philadelphia will get it going and so will San Jose. Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton against that defense? Okay get me some popcorn! This is just one that people will look forward to so watch it stats slow anyway. With all this potential, it becomes more of which games fail to hit expectations? This still has a slight chance of being one.

Money Line: Even, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Brent Burns, D, Sharks ($5900)
  • Patrick Marleau, LW, Sharks ($5600)
  • Claude Giroux, C, Flyers ($8700)
  • Steve Mason , G, Flyers ($8700)

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Tampa Bay Lightning @ Detroit Red Wings

Game Analysis

This game has potential to be a true study in insanity. Detroit has to have this game! So does Tampa Bay to be honest. They want to have a chance to finally catch Montreal in the standings. Petr Mrazek starts for Detroit in the front end of this back to back because Jimmy Howard is an .899 goalie since January 1st. That is not a misprint! Detroit’s goals allowed and shots allowed have almost progressed steadily upward since Thanksgiving. That does not sit well with Mike Babcock which has fueled those rumors of him leaving again. Do not count on Pavel Datsyuk either for Detroit so you can scratch that backup plan as well. The Red Wings are going to have to find a way to get ugly and just win. Tampa can do that on occasion when it has to even with the injuries they have left. Does Detroit have it in them if Tampa jumps out on them early? This is the problem when it comes to Detroit. They have overachieved so much all year that can they come out that one time and just fire away like they did against Pittsburgh? That is what everyone is waiting for.

Money Line: Red Wings -120, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Tyler Johnson, C, Bolts ($5400)
  • Ondrej Palat, LW, Bolts ($5300)
  • Nicklas Kronwall, D, Red Wings ($4600)
  • Tomas Tatar, LW, Red Wings ($4000)

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Florida Panthers @ Montreal Canadiens

Game Analysis

This is a battle of unknown uncertainty. Can anyone figure out which Montreal team will come out because that is anyone’s guess. By the way, Florida can score some goals and they like to push the tempo. This feeds a bit into Montreal’s hands but this is the only way the Panthers are going to win this. They have to create lots of movement at a fast pace near and around Carey Price. You have to find ways to get Price off his game and Florida has those weapons. They also have one of the hottest goal scorers in the league in Brandon Pirri (17 goals in his last 22 games). The key in this contest will be Montreal’s ability to attack Florida as they counter. Few do that better than Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher. It is actually a lot of fun to watch. Now just imagine if Montreal gets its secondary scoring going. They often do against teams like Florida and yes Boston. Florida is a bit thin on D to a point and Aaron Ekblad is about to get a lesson he soon not forget. It will serve him well in the future.

Money Line: Habs -170, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Brandon Pirri, C, Panthers ($5700)
  • Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Panthers ($5000)
  • Max Pacioretty, LW, Canadiens ($8000)
  • Brendan Gallagher, RW, Canadiens ($5900)

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New Jersey Devils @ Carolina Hurricanes

Game Analysis

Two teams who cannot score hardly worth a lick play each other and literally Devils killer Eric Staal comes in after a three point game where he joked he could have scored a half dozen goals. Keith Kinkaid will be in net for New Jersey and Cam Ward has been confirmed for Carolina. This is the type of game where one line could get hot and that will be enough to run with. That happened a couple years ago when the Jagr line got hot in Carolina then it was Eric Staal and Justin Faulk just firing at will and only Cory Schneider to stand and deliver. Could Keith Kinkaid take a 40 shot barrage? Something tells me that it is not all that likely. One never knows though. This is going to be a game of strange oddities. Alexander Semin, I believe, is still out also. New Jersey’s power play (top ten) versus a top three Carolina penalty kill will also be a fun little clash within the game. Carolina is a better team period at home. They possess the puck better and control the game their way.

Money Line: Canes -125, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Adam Henrique, C, Devils ($4300)
  • Steve Bernier, RW, Devils ($3600)
  • Justin Faulk, D, Canes ($5300)
  • Eric Staal, C, Canes ($5900)

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Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Game Analysis

Hey, the “Battle Of Ontario” is virtually a lock for higher scoring. These games almost always end up generating their own pace. We laughed that the over/under goes at least to 6.5 if the bookies really wanted it to. However, consider that Erik Karlsson has five points against the Maple Leafs in three meetings. Toronto just gives up goals in droves and consider that every team attacks the first line of Toronto and just think how scary that is. Phil Kessel is a -34 since January? That goes for the other linemates too. It is ugly after awhile when you look at that number. Toronto will start James Reimer and as for Ottawa, Andrew Hammond is definitely hurting so Chris Driedger could be the starter. Hammond is 14-1-1 on the season after the not so good play in the minors. Driedger is kind of one and the same. That is going to make this game a crazy one to gauge aside from goals and shots on goal being virtually certain. You can almost start the Ottawa top six and roll it with confidence. There you have it.

Money Line: Senators -190, O/U 5.5 (The spread is too damn high!)

Players to Watch

  • Mika Zibanejad, C, Sens ($4300)
  • Erik Karlsson, D, Sens ($8500)
  • Nazem Kadri, C, Leafs ($4200)
  • David Booth, LW, Leafs ($2700)

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Columbus Blue Jackets @ St. Louis Blues

Game Analysis

It is one of those games where the Blues will realize that Columbus is no easy one even on the back end of a back to back. The Blue Jackets can score goals. Just ask Chicago who gave up four of them in the first period alone on Friday night. St. Louis will start Brian Elliott while Columbus might still go with Sergei Bobrovsky. Wait on confirmations first before going in that direction. With the Blue Jackets somewhat healthy enough, they really can unleash a heck of an offense. That is why they have not surprisingly on a hot streak. Cam Atkinson was on fire against Chicago then again all the offense was blazing as they say. However, they can play a little defense err playing downhill. These St. Louis Blues though have a top nine that is likely better than even Columbus’s. Watching how the Blues power play attacks the Blue Jackets penalty kill will be a good match-up throughout the contest. If St. Louis can play physical all night, they should be able to wear down even the Blue Jackets. Stack the second line of St. Louis and hedge Alex Steen perhaps? It is a possibility.

Money Line: NL, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Ryan Johansen, C, Blue Jackets ($6100)
  • Kevin Connauton, D, Blue Jackets ($3200)
  • Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Blues ($7000)
  • Brian Elliott, G, Blues ($8100)

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Los Angeles Kings @ Minnesota Wild

Game Analysis

Could Devan Dubnyk play his 34th straight game? Well he won again over the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-2. This is just an amazing run that reminds me a little of Marc Andre Fleury’s run during the Penguins’ Stanley Cup run. The other side of the equation involves Jonathan Quick and the Kings. Can Los Angeles and Quick find a way to win a fourth straight game on this road trip. So far their best players have been their best players and Quick has come up with clutch saves late in each game. There are two goalies that have definitely been consistent. Yet both teams also can score goals often in small bunches. This is going to be some game but with lots of unknown. Minnesota will not have just Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik to stop but possibly Jeff Carter and  Drew Doughty and company. The Wild have lots of complementary players that can possees the puck well. If it feels like both teams are one and the same then it is true. Those mirror images are going to be fun to watch on Saturday night.

Money Line: Wild -120, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Anze Kopitar, C, Kings ($6100)
  • Drew Doughty, D, Kings ($5400)
  • Zach Parise, LW, Wild ($7800)
  • Devan Dubnyk?, G, Wild ($8700)

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Buffalo Sabres @ Colorado Avalanche

Game Analysis

It is one of those games where all the data tilts completely toward Colorado. There are plenty of stack options but the question is who do you play as far as the Colorado net? Do you play Varlamov? The risk is Buffalo and their ability to put shots on net. Shot volume is a very real issue but the Avalanche do give up shots. When you think about it, get used to the idea that Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, and Jarome Iginla could have quite a night against Buffalo. The problem is the Sabres have to block a lot of shots to stay in the game. The Avalanche have performed very well over the last 10-12 games in a too little, too late type of scenario. If you expect Buffalo to score even three goals here, that is not too likely but they could score a couple. If Reto Berra were to start, then all bets are off. Even Matt Duchene will be a pretty good play tonight and that is kind of rare honestly. This will be where a lot of DFS players go.

Money Line: Avs -320, O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Cody Hodgson, C, Sabres ($2900)
  • Matt Moulson, LW, Sabres ($4800)
  • Jarome Iginla, RW, Avs ($5900)
  • Semyon Varlamov?, G, Avs ($7700)

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Dallas Stars @ Vancouver Canucks

Game Analysis

The final game of the night is going to be another uncertain battle as Dallas will be on the back end of a back to back while Vancouver is having problems of their own as they play dangerously. No one likes to admit this but Eddie Lack and high danger shots are still not friends but at least Vancouver has managed to suppress those chances in most games. Dallas is the type of team that could push that envelope though. The game figures to see maybe Kari Lehtonen getting a rest perhaps? Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are obvious plays. Do you roll with just Radim Vrbata or do you try to go with the Sedin Twins as well? The over may come close here. Vancouver has every reason to dominate this game and yet the hesitation is clear. Just play it carefully and keep an eye on late slates who actually starts for Dallas. Also, consider maybe a value play or two from one of these teams as the bottom pairings can yield something here.

Money Line: NL, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Jamie Benn, LW, Stars ($9000)
  • Patrik Nemeth, D, Stars ($2700)
  • Radim Vrbata, RW, Canucks ($8100)
  • Eddie Lack?, G, Canucks ($7000)

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