This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
There are 12 games on tap for the first night after the All-Star break, but I'll be focused on two of them.
The reeling Canadiens visit the Flyers in a matchup of teams heading in opposite directions. The Habs are in freefall, with the league's worst record in the past two months, while the Flyers have closed the gap on a playoff spot recently, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
A heated rivalry between the Rangers and Devils should offer an intense atmosphere coming out of the break as well. Few observers expected New Jersey to be a playoff threat, while the Broadway Blueshirts were widely regarded as a playoff cinch. Surprisingly, only four points separate the two teams as they face off Tuesday. The Rangers will be without Rick Nash (leg), while the Devils will be missing Mike Cammalleri (upper body) from their own top six.
Here are my recommendations for games on February 2, 2016:
C: Anze Kopitar, LA at ARI ($5,450): Kopitar has produced at a point-per-game pace over the eight games since he signed his new long-term deal. He and his Kings
teammates traditionally gear up offensively after the All-Star break, so I'm look for the big Slovenian to make a statement Tuesday.
C: Artem Anisimov, CHI at COL ($4,650): With Jonathan Toews out of the lineup. Anisimov and his linemates will be the offensive focal point for the Blackhawks' offense in Colorado. While Kane and Panarin have earned most of the accolades this year, don't sleep on Anisimov, who has 17 goals to date.
W: Jakub Voracek, PHI vs. MON ($4,900): Voracek and his linemates, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, should enjoy a big edge in this one as they bring their physical style of play and strong cycle game against a smallish Montreal team. Voracek is also on a scoring tear, having ripped off 10 points in his last seven games.
W: Nikolai Ehlers, WPG vs. DAL($4,450): The flashy Danish rookie has been on fire recently, displaying a vast arsenal of offensive skills that has resulted in six goals and eight points over his last seven games. This streak has seen him move up on the Jets' depth chart, as he's now playing first-line minutes alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
W: Carl Hagelin, PIT vs. OTT ($4,400): >: The speedy Swede has found his offensive groove, netting four assists in five games as a Penguin. He's looked particularly comfortable while playing with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, who both like to push the pace on the ice – a good situation for the speedy Hagelin. He gets a good matchup Tuesday against an Ottawa squad that's allowed more shots per game (33.1) than any other team.
W: Teuvo Teravainen, CHI at COL ($4,300): Teravainen should also move up on the depth chart while Toews sits this one out. That change will be most evident when the Blackhawks go on the power play, where Teravainen should draw in on the second unit in addition to enjoying second-line minutes.
D: Kris Letang, PIT vs. OTT ($4,900): The turnaround in Pittsburgh's fortunes has been led by a torrid scoring pace from their top defenseman, who is once again among the league leaders. He has an incredible 17 points in his last 11 games, yet only ranks 21st on Tuesday's board, making Letang a great value pick.
D: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJ at ANA ($4,300): With six points in his last seven games, Vlasic is rapidly approaching a career-best offensive season. He's been one of the bigger beneficiaries of the Sharks' new offensive scheme, which emphasizes the activation of mobile defenseman in the attack.
G: Tuukka Rask, BOS vs. TOR ($7,600): Rask has already claimed three wins against the visiting (and reeling) Maple Leafs this season. His dominance against Toronto is a career-long staple, and those results make this an easy pick. That's particularly true when you consider that there are eight more expensive choices in goal than Rask despite his tasty matchup.