This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
Two games jump off the page while looking at tonight's menu of eight contests. First, the Boston Bruins renew the NHL's greatest rivalry when they visit the Montreal Canadiens. Neither team is really rolling at the moment, but the Bruins can at least point to consecutive victories over two of the league's bottom feeders (Leafs and Sabres) as a positive trend. The Canadiens, on the other hand are 4-15-1 in their last 20 games, by far the worst mark in the league during that stretch. This is such a heated matchup under normal circumstances, but it takes on more importance tonight because these teams are in a battle for a playoff spot.
In a later game, the Dallas Stars visit the Los Angeles Kings in a battle of two top-ranking Western Conference clubs. The Kings have soared into a commanding lead in the Pacific Division with their consistent play over the past month. Meanwhile, after soaring out with the league's best record, the Stars have faded a bit, going only 3-5-2 in their last 10. They should be motivated to match up with the Kings, who are already looking like they are ready for another extended playoff run.
Claude Giroux, PHI vs. TOR ($5,350): Giroux is on a scoring tear with six points in his last five games. Much of the Flyers' power play flows through him and he faces a Leafs penalty kill unit that has not been very good lately.
Sean Monahan, CGY at NJ ($5,000): Monahan poses a size mismatch against a less-than-imposing Devils defense. He should have the ability to cause some trouble in front of the New Jersey goal.
Artemi Panarin, CHI at NSH ($5,050): This flashy rookie looks more and more like a Patrick Kane clone, flourishing while playing alongside the league's leading scorer. His seven points in the last seven games are indicative of a season-long scoring consistency. He already looks like a composed veteran instead of a rookie who's learning the ropes and is a legitimate scoring threat every night.
Milan Lucic, LA vs. DAL ($4,800): Lucic is going to pose a problem for a Dallas defense which relies on puck-moving skills as opposed to mixing things up physically. He should be able to create some havoc if he imposes himself on the forecheck and in front of the Stars' net.
Wayne Simmonds, PHI vs. TOR ($4,700): Simmonds is another example of a bad matchup for an opposing Leafs defense that will have trouble keeping him away from the scoring areas. Since he has moved up to play with Giroux he has produced at a shade less than a point-per-game pace, which is significantly higher than his season-long rate.
Andrew Shaw, CHI at NSH ($4,000): Shaw has seen an increase in ice time this month and has responded with his best offensive streak of the season, recording seven points and a plus-7 rating in his last five games. He is clearly benefitting from a first-line role with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
Jake Muzzin, LA vs. DAL ($4,300): Muzzin has emerged from Drew Doughty's shadow to prove that he has very good offensive skills, too. He enters Tuesday's game on a seven-game point streak. Despite moving off the top defense pairing, he is still playing two to three minutes per game on the power play.
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. PHI ($4,250): Rielly is regarded as the Leafs' top defenseman but only recently has he been getting regular playing time on the power play. He should get some opportunities against a Flyers team that spends a lot of time in the sin bin and only ranks 25th on the penalty kill.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at EDM ($7,550): Vasilevskiy is an easy pick because he gets the visiting Oilers, one of the league's worst clubs, on the second night of back-to-back games. They are also without two of their top offensive threats in Conor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.