This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
A battle of two highly touted teams – the Bruins and the Lightning – headlines this nine-game slate. The Atlantic Division studs have both fallen behind the Buffalo Sabres to start the year. The Sabres can maintain their grasp on the division lead with a win against the lowly Kings.
The Blues just finished their three-game road trip, and all they'll bring home is a win over the Senators. The Notes will kick off a four-game home stand against the Canucks, who may be without Jacob Markstrom (personal) for a second straight game.
The long-awaited matchup between Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko has marinated long enough – it's time to fire it up. The Rangers will travel to New Jersey for a bout between the first and second overall picks. Their legacies won't be decided tonight, but it's quite convenient that Hughes is slated for a first-line upgrade in this contest.
The premier matchup in this slate features two Vezina-caliber goaltenders: Tuukka Rask ($9,100) and Andrei Vasilevskiy ($8,700). Either netminder can take over a game, but Rask had trouble with this foe last year, as he posted an .860 save percentage and 1-3-0 record against the Bolts. Although Vasilevskiy will be in the road crease in a hostile environment, he's handled Toronto and Montreal crowds over the last week to the tune of a .935 save percentage, so it's tough to bet against him.
In a season where he knows there will be competition from the backup, Carter Hutton ($8,500) hasn't flinched. He's won four straight out of the gate with a .931 save percentage, and the Kings' stagnant offense shouldn't break his mojo.
Carey Price's ($8,000) cost is deservedly low, as he registered an .884 save percentage over his last four games. Considering that included matchups against Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Toronto, however, his performance is understandable. The Wild aren't anywhere near that caliber, as they have scored exactly two goals in five of six games so far. This is a "get right" game for Price.
The Devils can't figure out a way to win, as they've lost six games to start the season, including their latest demerit when they blew a 4-1 lead to the Panthers. Alexandar Georgiev ($7,700) gets the next crack at this dysfunction, and he has a .930 save percentage over his last 17 games dating back to last year.
Marc-Andre Fleury ($8,900) is on pace to start 70 games this year, but at least he only has to face the Senators on Thursday. Ottawa is 1-4-0 with 2.4 goals per game, and they'll start Anders Nilsson ($7,100), who is no fun for anyone.
Paul Byron ($3,500) is on clearance after five straight pointless games, but coach Claude Julien believes he can bring a spark to the second line. It's no surprise since Byron has an intriguing offense touch, as he's posted over 20 goals per 82 games during the last three years. Flanking Max Domi ($6,700), who led the team with 72 points last year, boosts Byron's potential even further.
The emergence of Sammy Blais ($3,900) is real, and it's not going away. He has five points over six games, and his physical aptitude keeps him locked onto the second line alongside Ryan O'Reilly ($6,500). This will be the first time Thatcher Demko ($7,600) starts two straight games, so the setting's right for Blais to ink the scoresheet.
Calle Jarnkrok ($3,600) is primed for a breakout season if he can stick on the top line, which shouldn't be an issue if he keeps producing like this. Through six games, the 2010 second-round pick has five points and a plus-3 rating.
Brock Nelson ($5,200) centers the Islanders second power-play unit, and he gets a juicy matchup against the Jets, whose opponents have scored on 40 percent of their tries so far. Derick Brassard ($3,900) centers the top unit, but he doesn't have a power-play point in his last 19 games going back to last season.
It has been frustrating for Devils' fans waiting for their first-overall pick Jack Hughes ($4,400) to notch his first career point. Nico Hischier (upper body) is out, though, so Hughes is slated to play on the top line next to Taylor Hall ($7,400). The Rangers have been tight defensively, but a kid with this much skill can be worth a flier.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Tampa Bay Lightning (TOTAL: $24,800)
C - Brayden Point ($7,600)
W - Steven Stamkos ($8,400)
W - Nikita Kucherov ($5,300)
This is and will remain a daily fantasy juggernaut, as each of these stars exceeded 40 goals and 95 points last year. Kucherov and Stamkos combined for five goals and four assists over four games against the B's last year. If this upside hits and you miss it, it's an unwinnable tournament.
New York Rangers (TOTAL: $20,700)
C - Mika Zibanejad ($7,600)
W - Artemi Panarin ($7,800)
W - Pavel Buchnevich ($5,300)
This line is coming off of four days of rest, and they were spectacular beforehand, combining for 14 points over three games. Zibanejad cracked the Devils' code last year with three multi-point games, and New Jersey's net is already stacking up rubber with at least three goals against in every outing.
Arizona Coyotes (TOTAL: $11,900)
C - Christian Dvorak ($3,600)
W - Nick Schmaltz ($4,900)
W - Conor Garland ($3,400)
This line has chemistry as the team's second unit, and they've piled up 11 points over the last three games. Although they're split up on the power play, the minutes are what matter against the Predators, who have posted a 72.2 penalty-kill percentage through six contests.
Mark Giordano's ($6,500) output – four points through seven games – doesn't have him winning a second straight Norris Trophy, but he's still logging 24:20 of ice time with substantial power-play responsibilities. The veteran blueliner features an appealing floor as well, since he has 20 shots on net, 18 blocked shots and a plus-4 rating.
Rasmus Dahlin ($6,000) has been dynamic this year with eight points – six on the power play – through seven games, but he's only notched one over the last three. His game is about to gear up again. The Kings have hosted open season for opposing blue lines this year, as they've allowed 3.2 points per game to defensemen.
Although Darcy Kuemper ($8,100) hasn't allowed more than two goals in a game so far, Ryan Ellis ($5,000) hunts Coyotes in his sleep. Over 20 career games, Ellis has eight goals and 15 points against the 'Yotes, and he's already exceeding a point-per game pace this year.
Jacob Trouba ($5,800) looks like he has found instant chemistry on the Rangers' power play, although it's tough not to have success on a unit with Panarin, Zibanejad and Buchevich. He'll look to showcase it against the Devils, who have a league-worst 57.1 penalty-kill percentage over six contests.