The twelve matchups on Thursday are punctuated by the Vancouver Canucks visiting the Minnesota Wild in a game that few would have predicted features the worst and fourth-worst teams for goals-allowed per game in the second week. Of the 24 teams in action, only the Winnipeg Jets are playing in a back-to-back set, having beaten the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
All times Eastern.
Favorable scoring match-ups
7 p.m., TD Garden, Watch live on ESPN+
The Ducks road trip continues with another tough stop in Boston. Linus Ullmark will draw in for the Bruins goalie rotation, and he’s been the better of the two with respectable ratios. Perhaps a product of circumstance given their long-distance start to the season, but the Ducks sit second-last in the league with 5.25 goals allowed per game. Start your Bruins offense, this especially includes Jake DeBrusk, who is getting some power-play run in favor of Taylor Hall of late. Adam Henrique is a stream option for Anaheim, as it looks like he’ll play with Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras on the top line for this one.
7 p.m., Canadian Tire Centre, Watch live on ESPN+
And the Capitals offense gets thinner. The loss of Connor Brown for several weeks now makes it four top-six forwards on the sideline for this one (Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson on injured reserve, Evgeny Kuznetsov suspended a game). Opportunity looks to abound for Lars Eller and Conor Sheary, whose third line will be elevated to first line by the presence of Alex Ovechkin. But also keep an eye on Connor McMichael here, who will get his first game of the season and may be the best longer-term option to replace Brown. If the scoring hits the over, Jake Sanderson for the Senators and Dmitry Orlov for the Capitals could be depth defense options. Sanderson quarterbacks a pretty-darn good second power-play unit and Orlov has been moved to be John Carlson‘s partner as the Caps look for a spark.
9:30 p.m., Scotiabank Saddledome, Watch live on ESPN+
Eric Comrie‘s over-the-top effort against the Oilers was worthy of praise, but lost in the revelry of the 46-save win is perhaps the fact that the Sabres allowed 48 shots on goal. Whether it’s Comrie or Craig Anderson in the crease for Buffalo, it’s doubtful that horseshoe-level luck holds. Pile on your Flames scorers here.
Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild
8 p.m., Xcel Energy Center, Watch live on ESPN+
One of these teams has to break their defensive funk, right? If not, look for this to soar past the over — and rain down fantasy points from all corners. Take note of the Wild practising with Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy on a third line with Frederick Gaudreau, as well as the return of Jordan Greenway to his line with Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno (all of this per The Athletic’s Michael Russo). It’s arguably the top three lines that fans who view the league through a fantasy lens wanted to see from the get-go. Ilya Mikheyev probably gets another run with J.T. Miller and Vasily Podkolzin was last spotted with Elias Pettersson, if you are looking for deeper options from the Canucks side. I’m not touching Thatcher Demko or Marc-Andre Fleury here — and definitely not Spencer Martin or Filip Gustavsson.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
Nico Hischier, C, New Jersey Devils (73.6%): The Devils are flashing the prospect of a top line with Hischier, veteran Ondrej Palat and rookie Alexander Holtz (per NewJerseyDevils.com’s Amanda Stein) that is very appealing on paper. This team has all the pieces for a dangerous top six, but just needs to figure out how to arrange them. The Islanders aren’t the best opponent for offense to shine, but this combo has big potential that should be monitored.
Gabriel Vilardi scores in the shootout to give the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Sean Monahan, C, Montreal Canadiens (2.3%): Emerging as a veteran linemate for Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, Monahan could turn into a pleasant fantasy surprise this season as he speeds the development of the pair. His overtime-winning pass to Caufield on Monday was exactly the kind of puck distribution these youngsters need.
Nicholas Robertson, W, Toronto Maple Leafs (2.4%): A prospect on the rise likely to get a chance with John Tavares and William Nylander for a few games. Maybe he doesn’t click in this one against the stone wall Jake Oettinger, but soon.
Oliver Wahlstrom, W, New York Islanders (6.7%): Moved to the wing with Anders Lee and Brock Nelson partway through the Islanders last game, the line went on to score three goals together with Wahlstrom finishing on two of them. We have to assume this new line combination sticks and offers this talented young winger a long-awaited opportunity for more offense.
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Neal Pionk, D, Winnipeg Jets (63.8%): There aren’t a lot of non-universally rostered defensemen that have anything special about their matchup. That said, I’ll point out that Pionk is coming off a big Wednesday in which he won the game in overtime and seemed to have a connection with new top-line winger Mason Appleton (who is filling in for an injured Nikolaj Ehlers).
Jets defeat Avalanche with Neal Pionk’s slick goal in overtime.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen
Hampus Lindholm, D, Boston Bruins (21.2%): An easy highlight until further notice, Lindholm hasn’t broken out on the power play, but he’s still getting the minutes. And his base line of stats from other categories makes him worthy of the roster spot while we wait for the special teams play to catch up.
Calen Addison, D, Minnesota Wild (8.0%)
Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators (14.0%)
Dmitry Orlov, D, Washington Capitals (16.2%)
Jake Allen, G, Montreal Canadiens (12.5%): He missed Monday’s game on parental leave, but Jake Allen is back for this one and is definitely a streaming option against the Arizona Coyotes. Even with Monday’s embarrassment of the Leafs, this Arizona team still has a paltry 35.55% Corsi for at five-on-five. And even if the Coyotes do get on the advantage, Montreal has killed 11 of 12 so far.
David Rittich, G, Winnipeg Jets (0.3%): If there’s one goaltender in the league who can easily handle the workload of an early-season back-to-back set, it’s Connor Hellebuyck. But if the Jets opt to give Rittich a look here, it’s not the worst matchup he could draw. At the very least, he is available and a possible starter if you are desperate for cheaper goaltender.
Edmonton Oilers: I mean, you can’t bench Connor McDavid but, well, you can’t bench him. Still, did you know the Carolina Hurricanes are the only team in the NHL (other than the Oilers, obviously), that McDavid doesn’t have at least a point per game against? One goal and eight points in nine contests keeps him from the point-per-game mark he’s achieved against all 30 other franchises.The point is, the Hurricanes play a style that can at least slow down the Oilers offense, so I don’t know that I go deeper than McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for my starters.