This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
This last Tuesday of 2015 features a 10-game slate. The battle for supremacy in the Atlantic Division has intensified since the Canadiens lost starting goalie Carey Price and have fallen back to the pack. Ottawa and Boston have both closed to within three points of the top rung, and they meet Tuesday in the second leg of a home-and-home set. The Sens won in Ottawa by a 3-1 score Sunday.
Staying in the Atlantic, the Panthers host the reeling Canadiens, who are 2-8 in their last 10 outings, while the Florida's won six in a row and stunningly closed within a point of the Canadiens. Montreal gutted out a tough win in Tampa on Monday to snap an ugly six-game slide.
Here are my recommendations for games on December 29, 2015:
C: Anze Kopitar, LA at EDM ($4,900): Kopitar has put a slow start behind him and is back on his usual scoring pace, having put together nine points in the last seven games. He has a favorable opportunity to continue padding his stats with a matchup against the woeful Edmonton defense.
C: Nazem Kadri, TOR vs. NYI ($4,500): Under the watchful eye of new coach Mike Babcock, Kadri has shown real growth in his all-around game. The last piece in his development is to marry that growth with his offensive skills and become a player in the mold of Kadri's role model, John Tavares. Kadri has seven points in his last five games – his best stretch of the season.
W: Kyle Palmieri, NJ at CAR ($5,000): Palmieri has quietly emerged as the Devils' top goal-scorer (15, which is also a career high already) and has been most effective on the power play, with 13 points. He gets a good chance to rack up more man-advantage points in a matchup against Carolina's 28th-ranked penalty killers.
W: Justin Abdelkader, DET at WPG ($4,600): The big winger is entrenched as the resident physical presence among the Wings' top-six forwards and on the power play. As such, he gets to play alongside Detroit's vast array of skilled players, an arrangement that's got him tied for the club lead with five power-play markers
W: Tanner Pearson, LA at EDM ($4,400): Although his stay with the reunited That '70s Line was short-lived – Tyler Toffoli's moved up to the top line and Jeff Carter's hurting – Pearson is still in an opportune spot on the Kings' second line. He presents another affordable way to get a piece of the offense-friendly matchup in Edmonton.
W: Lee Stempniak, NJ at CAR ($4,400): Even though we don't think of Stempniak as a top-line player, he has held on to that role and thrived in New Jersey, playing over 19 minutes per game and producing 26 points in 36 games. He's tied for second on the club with nine points on the power play, too – that's pretty good value at this price.
D: Justin Faulk, CAR vs. NJ ($5,050): Faulk is tied for the lead in goals among NHL defensemen and is fourth in points, yet is only the 12th-most-expensive blueliner on Tuesday's schedule. That sounds like a nice opportunity for buyers of the impressive young defender, who leads the Hurricanes in scoring.
D: T.J. Brodie, CGY vs. ANA ($4,650): This looks like another very good value play on Tuesday, as Brodie has quietly accumulated 19 points in 26 games, tying him for the team lead in scoring by defensemen. That pace that would rank him among the league leaders if not for the time he missed to injury, yet he's the 19th-most-expensive blueliner on Tuesday's board.
G: Antti Niemi/Kari Lehtonen, DAL at CBJ ($7,500): In this battle of first versus worst, your only challenge is to make sure you have the correct starting goalie for the Stars. Niemi has been the workhorse, but Lehtonen is coming off a shutout. They're both priced at $7,500 against the sad-sack Jackets. Go after the easy goalie win.