This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
There are 10 games to pick apart, including a marquee matchup between the Lightning and the Maple Leafs. After years of dominance, the Leafs have gained the edge, winning three straight meetings although all of them were decided by just one goal.
As we approach the winter months, when travel gets more difficult, injuries pile up and the schedule gets a little tighter with the Olympics still looming, look for some teams to just try to stay afloat. The Predators have missed Juuse Saros and will face the Islanders, who just snapped their 11-game losing streak, the Ducks and Blue Jackets have plenty of young talent to showcase, and the Pacific Division will see a lot of movement with six teams playing.
Mikko Koskinen, EDM vs. BOS ($8,400): Koskinen's play has not been good at all, but the Oilers should have such a big edge that it *almost* justifies the price tag. It might be a high-scoring game yet again – they combined for eight goals last time – but the Oilers should still have the edge despite losing three straight and scoring just five goals. Linus Ullmark is expected to start and he's been slightly less effective than Jeremy Swayman, who lost Wednesday in Vancouver.
Ilya Sorokin, NYI vs. NSH ($8,300): The Isles usually rotate their goalies, but seeing how Sorokin just helped them snap an ugly losing streak, he'll likely get his second straight start. What's really going for the Isles in this matchup is that Saros may not play; that's going to make scoring goals a lot easier for the Isles, but the Preds offense has been surprisingly good, too. There's definitely some risk in this play, but the Isles shouldn't be as bad as their record suggests.
Cam Talbot, MIN at SJ ($8,200): A 39-save win against the Oilers following a 39-save against the Leafs was seriously impressive. That's now five straight wins for Talbot against tough competition, so beating the Sharks shouldn't be so bad. The Wild are 8-4-1 on the road, one of the better records in the league.
Elvis Merzlikins, CBJ vs. ANH ($7,900): Putting aside the enthusiasm for the Ducks' young forwards, the Jackets are very tough to beat at home with a 9-3-0 record and the Ducks have lost six of their past 10. Merzlikins hasn't been sharp, but his home record – 9-1-0, .935 Sv%, 2.20 GAA – demands respect.
Alex Nedeljkovic, DET at STL ($7,200): There's the odd blow-up game, and it's not always his fault, but Nedeljkovic has been very good all season. The Blues may be forced to start third-string Charlie Lindgren and a short roster due to cap constraints following an injury to Robert Thomas, and that should still give the Wings the edge even without Tyler Bertuzzi. Nedeljkovic was victorious in their last meeting on Nov. 24 with a 4-2 win.
Marc-Andre Fleury, CHI at MON ($7,100): Including Shea Weber and Carey Price, you'll need more than two hands to count the number of injuries to the Habs' roster. They weren't very well put together to begin with, so what we have is a snowball effect into a bottomless pit. Other than a bad showing against the Rangers, Fleury has allowed more than two goals just once since Nov. 9, while the Habs have scored more than two goals just twice in their past six games.
Michael Bunting, TOR vs. TB ($5,700): It's getting harder and harder to justify Bunting as a value play, but playing alongside Auston Matthews means he's going to get better chances than most sidekicks in the league. Bunting has not gone consecutive games without a point since Nov. 12.
Kirby Dach, CHI at MON ($4,700): Dach's scored two points in his past four games, including his fourth goal of the season against the Rangers, which is four more than Jonathan Toews, the other top-six center the Blackhawks deploy. With the Habs possibly missing Christian Dvorak, look for Dach and Toews to have a big advantage over Nick Suzuki, though Dach's offensive upside is obviously higher.
Mathieu Joseph, TB at TOR ($4,200): Joseph was held off the score sheet last game but finished with three shots and continues to skate on the top line with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat. Gabriel Fortier ($3,300), playing on the second line, and the Syracuse line of Ross Colton ($4,300) between Taylor Raddysh ($3,700) and Boris Katchouk ($3,500) are also value plays worth considering.
Jonathan Dahlen, SJ vs. MIN ($4,000): That's now three assists in four games for Dahlen, who is skating on the top line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier, who is having an excellent season. Dahlen doesn't get to play as much, but he's definitely a key offensive cog on that team. The Wild are winning a lot of games but they're far from being an elite defensive team, so even if the Sharks offense is just average, there still should be some scoring opportunities. Their past 10 matchups have all featured at least five goals.
Ducks at Blue Jackets
If it hasn't been abundantly obvious, this line has been unbelievable for the Ducks this season. Even if it's a low-scoring game, this line represents the Ducks' best chance to score goals, and their creativity alone makes it hard to believe that any defense can contain them. Milano's an excellent value play on his own at this salary.
Blues vs. Red Wings
This is a very heavy line that can score goals, and the Wings defense might have their hands full if Moritz Seider is unavailable. Buchnevich has six goals in his past seven games and Saad has scored in three straight. With the Blues potentially shorthanded, look for this line to log a ton of minutes. O'Reilly and Buchnevich both played more than 20 last game.
Seth Jones, CHI at MON ($6,900): He's a huge minutes eater and one of the few home runs the Blackhawks hit over the summer. The worry is that the game gets out of hand early and Jones doesn't play as much as he usually does, but the Habs should be an easy opponent.
Evan Bouchard, EDM vs. BOS ($5,800): It's Bouchard's time now, not Tyson Barrie's. With the Bruins playing the second half of a back-to-back, having played in extra time against the Canucks on Wednesday plus travel, this should be a good matchup for Bouchard to get back on track. He hasn't scored a point in two games, but he's definitely been better than Barrie ($5,600) and accordingly worth the small premium.
Scott Perunovich, STL vs. DET ($4,000): His ice time remains limited but the upside is there. He was held a point in two games against the Panthers but scored three points in the previous two games against the Lightning. He's a bit hit-or-miss, but note the Wings PK ranks 26th in the league.