This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
A pair of marquee matchups stands out in Tuesday's nine-game slate.
In the Eastern Conference, the two-second place clubs do battle as the Capitals host the Red Wings. The Caps have meshed attention to defensive detail with a vast array of firepower to rank among the top teams in the league, with the key being the rise of Braden Holtby to true elite status. But the Wings remain a top club as well – they continue to infuse their roster with younger talent, not missing a beat as they march toward yet another postseason berth.
In the Western Conference, the defending Cup champs host the team that won the Central Division last season. The 'Hawks and Preds remain formidable clubs, but it's notable that if the playoffs started Tuesday, they would hold the final two playoff spots in the West thanks to the depth of talent in their division.
Here are my recommendations for games on December 8, 2015:
C: Artem Anisimov, CHI vs. NAS ($4,650): In his first year with the 'Hawks, Anisimov has the plum assignment of centering the league's top scorer (Patrick Kane) and top rookie scorer (Artemi Panarin). The unit is clearly one of the most potent in the league, yet Anisimov, who has 18 points in 26 games, remains attractively priced.
C: Tyler Bozak, Tor vs. NJD ($4,350): Bozak struggled at the start of this season, but has become acclimatized to the new system in Toronto, responding with almost a point-per-game pace in November. He's playing with a renewed confidence and is a nice value play against the Devils.
W: Bobby Ryan, Ott at FLA ($5,250): Ryan has been on a long scoring tear, with 17 points in his last 16 games. He went scoreless in his last outing, but hasn't been kept of the scoresheet in consecutive games since the second week of this season. I say we ride this hot shooter.
W: Mike Cammalleri, NJ at TOR ($5,350): Cammalleri is scoring at better than a point-per-game pace, thriving in a Devils system that's more offensively focused than what we've gotten used to seeing. He visits his hometown team on a hot streak, having has recorded multi-point games in his last three starts.
W: Scott Hartnell, CBJ vs. LA ($4,750): Hartnell loves physical play more than most, and he ought to be fired up to face a willing foe in the Kings' heavy roster. These are the games he looks forward to, and you can count on him to bring that emotional charge and watch him thrive as a result. He's coming off a similar setting in his last game, a three-point effort against his old Flyers mates.
W: Tomas Tatar, DET at WSH ($4,750): Tatar is firmly entrenched as a new and key contributor among the Wings' top scoring lines. He has points in seven of his last eight games and still comes into Tuesday's game with a price tag under $5,000. That gives you roster flexibility while still being able to add this quality piece.
D: Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. NJD ($4,050): Rielly has been a key project for Leafs
Leafs coach Mike Babcock. He had been focused on defensive responsibilities early on, but has been getting more offensive-zone starts and top-unit power-play time in recent games. Rielly is Toronto's most gifted blue-line option, and that's been reflected in his recent rise in ice time.
D: Alex Goligoski, DAL vs. CAR ($4,300): Goligoski is one of the Stars' two offensive-minded defensemen, and he gets a favorable matchup against the Hurricanes, who rank 26th in team GAA. The Stars have to be licking their lips, hoping to pad their stats as the NHL's top-scoring team. Goligoski has played almost 25 minutes per game in each of his last three outings, so he figures to be involved in many of the offensive forays Tuesday.
G: Kari Lehtonen, DAL vs. CAR ($7,500): The Finn carries a 10-1 record into what looks like a mismatch between the league's top-scoring club and a Hurricanes squad that's not a standout either offensively nor defensively. He's only had one ineffective start out of 12 appearances this season and has not allowed more than three goals in any game.