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. Saturday offers up a ten game slate as we focus on the nine night games.

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Injury Updates

The news is coming in as always but there will be updates on Twitter because of the nature of this Saturday slate. Injuries just keep happening and happening it seems and now the flu seems to be making its way back. Just ask the Florida Panthers about that.

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Islanders @ Panthers

Game Analysis

This is a game where you can mix and match a little as Florida hopes Jaromir Jagr (flu) will be able to play tonight at Sunrise. Florida has three players that we know of that have the flu and practice was canceled on Friday to try and keep it from spreading worse. The flu does not help their injuries as Roberto Luongo will miss another game and that means Dan Ellis will get at least one more start. You can expect goals to be scored as the New York Islanders are in town. Do not worry, they will give up a few too. The Tavares line will likely be the one to play as Florida usually has trouble with them but look any line is going to give Florida fits right now. They are very vulnerable to say the least. Sometimes one player really makes a difference and that is the case with the Panthers. Notice how calm everything was when Roberto Luongo was in net on Tuesday. I rest my case. How will the second lines perform against each other? That may be the biggest question in this game.

Money Line: Isles -150, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • John Tavares, C, Isles ($8800)
  • Jaroslav Halak, G, Isles ($8400)
  • Dan Ellis, G, Panthers ($6700)
  • Jaromir Jagr, RW, Panthers ($4300)

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Sabres @ Capitals

Game Analysis

These teams can play ugly hockey but first off, what is the status of Alex Ovechkin? Simply right now he is questionable so call it a game time decision. This will go right to the last minute so have a few contingencies in place in case he cannot play. If he goes, Washington has a much easier time against Buffalo. If not, this could be an ugly 2-1 type of game that tests the patience of everyone. The Sabres have the worst penalty kill in the league at 74.8% and the Capitals do have a pretty good power play at home even without Ovechkin. It will be a challenge for the Sabres to stay in this game as it will be for the Capitals to keep their focus. That is often what happens in these games. Washington loses their train of thought and then the game just meanders into a slow crawl. Obviously, that would be a pace that benefits Buffalo immensely and all but kills any daily value this game could offer. Just check on this one periodically and hopefully more information comes soon. Evidently the bettors out there think Ovechkin is playing.

Line: Caps -425. O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Matt Moulson, LW, Sabres ($4800)
  • Anders Lindback?, G, Sabres ($6600)
  • Nicklas Backstrom, C, Caps ($5400)
  • Braden Holtby, G, Caps ($9000)

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Avalanche @ Blue Jackets

Game Analysis

The game has an odd feel because the Avalanche start life without Nathan MacKinnon and the Blue Jackets won last night in New Jersey but come right back and play at home this time around. Colorado usually does not travel well and the last few games along with the injuries have made the specter of missing the playoffs a more likely reality. Columbus has been long gone when it comes to a playoff spot and those very same injuries just keep shuffling the deck of a line-up. The last time the Blue Jackets were healthy might have been the last ice again and then you might be half kidding. Sergei Bobrovsky might just get the start again and we know Semyon Varlamov will. These two teams can push it up and down the ice and give up goals fast. Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno are the power duo for Columbus while the Avalanche are going to be a bit more balanced they hope. This is the type of game where you can see some unexpected results and goal scorers. Check the bottom sixes for both teams and mine for value.

Line: Avs -115 . O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Tyson Barrie, D, Avs ($5400)
  • Matt Duchene, C, Avs ($4100)
  • Ryan Johansen, C, Blue Jackets ($3500)
  • David Savard, D, Blue Jackets ($4100)

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Stars @ Lightning

Game Analysis

Hey the Stars are playing which means the chances for offense just went up. Defensively, Dallas has been a little better of late but not by all that much. Giving up three goals a game feels a little better than four per but not by much. Jamie Benn has been a one man wrecking crew for Dallas and he could definitely cause Tampa some considerable problems tonight. If you think about it, the options get less and less after that. John Klingberg and Alex Goligoski can bring the puck rushing ability from the blue line and that will trouble Tampa some also. Tampa Bay, though, has three lines that can drive Dallas out of their minds. Between the Stamkos line then the triplets line (Palat, Johnson, and Kucherov), this could be a very long night for a Stars team that does not really a part of that. Can you feel the over hitting tonight? It is looking more and more likely by the second. Stacking is an okay option but just choose wisely.

Line: Bolts -200 , O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Jason Spezza, C, Stars ($5600)
  • Alex Goligoski, D, Stars ($4600)
  • Alex Killorn, LW, Lightning ($4200)
  • Nikita Kucherov, RW, Lightning ($5100)

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Canadiens @ Coyotes

Game Analysis

I was looking at this and this has potential to see some goals also! Arizona is porous when it comes to defense, especially their special teams at times. They have lost 10 of their last 11 games and have score less than two goals in seven of those contests. Montreal does have trouble scoring too as they are still mired in the bottom third of the league. However, they score timely goals and have the best goaltender in the world right now in Carey Price. When you goalie leads the league in all major categories, that is a luxury which allows a team usually only to worry about scoring two or three goals a night most times. Montreal’s power play is well…it is a power play we believe. If there is a night the offense should break out, it is this one. However, Arizona did score three times up in Montreal the last time out. Watch for Max Pacioretty because with open space he should get a lot of wide open looks. Kyle Chipchura may be on the first line again if you are looking for value.

Line: Canadiens -220, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Coyotes ($4700)
  • Sam Gagner, C, Coyotes ($4500)
  • Max Pacioretty, LW, Habs ($8400)
  • Carey Price , G, Habs ($9500)

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Blues @ Maple Leafs

Game Analysis

This game has a little bit of everything including the questionable goaltending. Offenses are struggling for both teams also and the prices are insane. Vladimir Tarasenko is only $6000 and yes he has dropped off a bit but not. St. Louis stacks are at pretty reasonable price points for the most part. Instead of them costing you 40-45% of your cap, they are around 30-33% or so. Toronto has to see a breakout at some point from James van Riemsdyk or even Phil Kessel. Kessel has shown signs of warming up but that breakout game never quite hits. The Blues miss Kevin Shattenkirk badly on special teams. There are few players like him to just have a knack of being at the right place at the right time in all situations. If you are really desperate, Dion Phaneuf might be had at a decent price and he will still block shots and toss some at the goalie. It is not much but hey, the option is there. That is the key on a night like this. Weather the games that could possibly end up crashing score wise and this really is one of them.

Line: Blues -170, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Phil Kessel, RW, Leafs ($7100)
  • Jonathan Bernier, G, Leafs ($8500)
  • Alex Pietrangelo, D, Blues ($5400)
  • Alexander Steen, LW, Blues ($5400)

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Jets @ Predators

Game Analysis

These teams can really disappoint sometimes. Nashville has now lost five straight games and really have to right this ship quickly. Winnipeg just lost Dustin Byfuglien for 2-4 weeks as if they did not have enough problems with their patchwork defense. There are lots of middle values in this game to play with on both sides. However, that injury news and the questionable nature of Bryan Little has dropped the over/under to 5 which means bookies are skittish about there being a lot of scoring in this one. With Pekka Rinne angrily wanting to have a shutdown game, the writing might be on the wall for offense here. However, both teams are rather good 5 on 5. The power plays can be a different story. Nashville has had problems all year while Winnipeg has had a few of late. Michael Hutchinson should get the start for Winnipeg. Any time I see lots of red for opposition ranks, I get a little pensive thinking this could really be a game that is defense and goalie ready. The key will be the first ten minutes in this one.

Line: Preds -175. O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Andrew Ladd, LW, Jets ($5800)
  • Michael Frolik, RW, Jets ($5200)
  • Craig Smith, C, Preds ($5400)
  • Filip Forsberg, RW, Preds ($4800)

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Penguins @ Kings

Game Analysis

The game is a study of contrasts. The Kings can just bludgeon you to death while Pittsburgh can strike quick like a cheetah. It is not to say they can be physical but their game is to avoid a reasonable amount of that type of play. Los Angeles will have to turn up the heat like they did for most of the game against Montreal. The problem with the Kings is that they can play 40 minutes of near perfect hockey and have two breakdowns. Those two breakdowns will end up in the back of the net. It has happened far too many times this year to count. Sidney Crosby tends to not play as well against Los Angeles but Evgeni Malkin fares a little better. That is not a surprise considering their playing styles. Los Angeles has that refurbished 70’s Line along with the Kopitar-Gaborik duo. Pittsburgh might not tinker with their lineup much since the game in Anaheim last night went so well. Though Steve Downie needs to be in a game like this. I wonder if that will happen as Downie is a nice fantasy option on nights like tonight. This late game shapes up to be a fun one.

Line: Kings -130 . O/U 5

Players to Watch

  • Kris Letang, D, Pens ($5800)
  • Patric Hornqvist, RW, Pens ($8100)
  • Marian Gaborik, RW, Kings ($4900)
  • Drew Doughty, D, Kings ($5200)

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Canucks @ Sharks

Game Analysis

Hey here come the Sharks and Canucks in a game of the evenly matched. This game likely turns on the first mistake and then it will go back and forth till one team survives. At least it has a feeling of that is how it may go. These two teams hate each other and both are on the playoff bubble and in need of wins so the intensity is going to be that much higher. Joe Pavelski has to be the most vital cog in the Sharks offense as his presence on the power play is especially huge in games like this. Who plays well with the Sedin Twins may be what drives Vancouver in this one. Will Zack Kassian, Alex Burrows, or even Radim Vrbata be flanked on their side? Will all three be there at some point. The Canucks really are not sure how that is going to go. Again San Jose’s weakness is the penalty kill but can Vancouver take advantage of it. They have been just below 15% on the power play on the road for quite some time. Antti Niemi faces Eddie Lack and let us just say both of these goalies can have “Adventures In Goaltending” at any time. This might be a game where a small stack from each time might actually work.

Line: Sharks -155, O/U 5.5

Players to Watch

  • Henrik Sedin, C, Canucks ($4700)
  • Alex Burrows, LW, Canucks ($3600)
  • Joe Pavelski, C, Sharks ($8000)
  • Antti Niemi, G, Sharks ($8500)

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