This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
Among the eight games scheduled for Tuesday night, there are two tasty Western Conference matchups that offer the most intrigue.
First, the 'Hawks and Predators renew hostilities in one of the league's newer rivalries. The Predators will look for recently acquired front-line center Ryan Johansen to give them a new offensive spark against the Blackhawks, who are on a seven-game winning streak.
The Jets also welcome the Sharks to town in a game that pits the best road team against one of the league's top home teams. These are two big, physical clubs, which bodes well for viewers who like heavyweight matchups, and both clubs need these two points to close ground in the playoff hunt.
Here are my recommendations for games on January 12, 2015:
C: Sidney Crosby, PIT at CAR ($5,550): The face of the Penguins has been scoring at his normal point-per-game pace and playing with a familiar edge to his game over the last six weeks. He draws a matchup against a Carolina team that's been better lately, but is still among the league's bottom feeders. Even so, Crosby is only sixth-most-expensive option among centers on Tuesday – that's a bargain.
C: Carl Soderberg, COL vs. TB ($4,550): Soderberg took a while to get acclimatized with the Avalanche, but he has risen on the depth chart to the point where he's in the mix for top-six minutes and power-play time. He's taking full advantage of his playmaking skills and the chance to play with high-end wingers in what is looking like a career-best campaign, and they draw a matchup Tuesday against a Tampa club that likes to play at a high pace. That suits his game just fine.
W: Gabriel Landeskog, COL vs. TB ($5,100): After a sluggish end to 2015, it appears that Landeskog has entered the new year with a bit of fire in him, as he has collected points in four straight games. He gets a good chance to extend that streak against a Tampa squad that's been mired in controversy and underperformance of late, while the Avalanche are on a bit of a roll.
W: Joel Ward, SJ at WPG ($4,900): Ward has been a big part of the Sharks' road success because he's not intimidated by any setting or playing style. He has also been a fixture on a talented power-play unit. The veteran winger should relish the atmosphere in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
W: Brock Nelson, NYI vs. CLM ($4,500): Nelson has emerged as a great source of secondary scoring behind the Tavares line. He's not facing top-checking opposition or shutdown defenders, but has enjoyed success playing with skilled linemates in Mikhail Grabovski and Ryan Strome. The Isles have a favorable matchup against the most porous defense in the league in Columbus on Tuesday.
W: Shane Doan, ARI vs. EDM ($4,300): Doan has been rejuvenated by the infusion of the young skill forwards who have bolstered the Coyotes' offense. The captain is on quite a tear, with seven goals and an assist over his last six games. The Oilers don't offer much in the way of defensive structure, so he should get some scoring chances Tuesday.
D: Tyson Barrie, COL vs. TB ($4,500): Barrie has emerged as the top-scoring blueliner in Colorado. After a slow start, he's been a steady point producer since early December. He's playing big minutes and anchoring the power play – four of the six points he's put up in the last five games have come on the man advantage.
D: Seth Jones, CBJ at NYI ($4,150): The Jackets acquired Jones with the desire to see him grow into a scoring defenseman who will eventually be the lynchpin of their offensive flow. He wasn't getting that chance in Nashville, and that has slowed his development as a pro. In his first two starts, the Jackets have already given Jones four more minutes of playing time, on average, than he was seeing in Columbus. Meanwhile, the Isles are without two of their top defenders, so there should be some scoring chances for him in this one.
G: Brian Elliott, STL vs. NJ ($7,300): This matchup should be favorable because the Blues have a big size advantage and will try to dictate a physical game. The Devils are throwing backup goalie Kevin Kincaid into the fray, which should also be good news for the Blues. Elliott has allowed only three goals in his last two starts and should be motivated to build his case as the top goalie option while Jake Allen (lower body) is on the shelf.