This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Thursday's 10-game slate provides four road favorites and five teams firing up back-to-back contests. It's important to keep an eye out on the goaltenders as the coaching staffs choose which will be best for the matchups.
We know that backup Alex Stalock will be making a road start in Nashville as the Wild attempt to make something out of a season that looked hopeless at the start, while the Predators are quietly lurking among the best in the Central Division.
Possibly the most exciting game is the one that starts the latest, as two division leaders – the Oilers and the Capitals – face off. It'll feature some of the best talent in hockey with Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin butting heads, although the Rangers and Sabres have a similar assortment of rising stars as well.
Pekka Rinne ($8,900) is the premium option for good reason. He's 5-0-1 so far and has allowed more than two goals just once in that span. The Wild seem much better after their players-only meeting, however, and they've won back-to-back games and lit the lamp seven times in the process. Alex Stalock ($7,400) will be in the opposing crease, and he's showing the capability to take over as the team's starter – or at least earn a steady workload of spot starts – with a .942 save percentage through four appearances. He's a value play at the price.
Speaking of goalies with late-career surges, Carter Hutton ($8,700) has a favorable matchup against the Rangers, who haven't exceeded two goals in five straight games. Linus Ullmark ($7,300) is a top value option if he gets the nod on the first leg of back-to-back games.
It took a concerted effort from the Blues' defense to get Jordan Binnington ($7,900) back on track. He faced just 18 shots in Monday's win over the Avalanche, and yielded one goal. Binnington should be able to keep up the good work against the Kings, who scored just seven goals over the last four contests and rank 27th in the league on the power play (11.1 percent).
The Ducks and Stars comes in at 5.0 O/U, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, and either netminder can be a strong play. Ben Bishop ($8,400) may be a bit overpriced for performance this season, posting a 2-4-1 record and .913 save percentage, but John Gibson ($8,400) rings up at the same price for a .927 save percentage and 2.24 GAA.
The revenge game aspect is always intriguing, and Corey Perry ($4,200) will take on the Ducks for the first time in his lengthy career. He has high upside and a low floor, as the 33-year-old piled up three points in one game and finished pointless in the other three contests.
There's a chance Erik Haula ($5,600) watches this game from the press box with an upper-body injury, but he appears to be fine after skating Wednesday. The Finnish pivot has failed to notch a point just once this year, and he leads the team with seven goals. His shooting rate of 28.0 percent will regress at some point, but try your hand against the Blue Jackets' uninspiring defense.
The Hurricanes had difficulties keeping the red light off on their West Coast road trip, as they've yielded nine goals over the last two games. They're now back in the Eastern Time Zone, but there's rightfully interest in the Blue Jackets' skaters. Oliver Bjorkstand ($4,800) has an appealing 59.2 Corsi For percentage and Alexander Wennberg ($4,400) doesn't trail far behind with a 56.8 mark. They're knocking on the door, and now's the chance for them to come through.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Washington Capitals (TOTAL: $21,600)
C - Nicklas Backstrom ($6,400)
W - Alex Ovechkin ($8,600)
W - T.J. Oshie ($6,600)
This is a pricey crew, but it can be worth it to bring aboard the floor. This line features 8.3 shots on net and 2.9 blocked shots per contest, and they're also scoring at a ridiculous rate – they've combined for 12 goals and 11 assists over the past seven contests.
St. Louis Blues (TOTAL: $19,300)
C - Brayden Schenn ($6,200)
W - Vladimir Tarasenko ($7,600)
W - Jaden Schwartz ($5,500)
You don't want to stand in Tarasenko's way when he's on a tear, and he's in the midst of one right now. He's racked up three goals and five assists over the last five games, and Schenn has been even better signing up for an additional eight years in The Lou, leading the team with six scores so far. No team has allowed more goals per game than the Kings (3.78) this year, so don't miss out on the fire while it lasts.
San Jose (TOTAL: $17,800)
C - Logan Couture ($7,300)
W - Patrick Marleau ($4,700)
W - Timo Meier ($5,800)
The new captain, Couture, is doing his part on the ice with eight points in nine games, and Marleau looks at home with Team Teal, registering five points through five contests. It's an added bonus that each of them have a spot on the power play, albeit on separate units, considering the Canadiens have registered a 71.0 penalty-kill rate – 27th in the league.
The aforementioned struggling Canadiens' penalty kill can be leveraged on the blue line, too. Erik Karlsson ($7,200) and Brent Burns ($7,000) are both power-play gems and can exploit it, as they've combined for 16 points and six with the man advantage this season.
Add John Carlson ($7,100) to the Capitals' stack if you really want to go for it. He's fallen short of the Norris Trophy far too many times, and he won't take no for an answer anymore. The veteran has compiled a 20 points through 11 games – the best among all forwards and defensemen.
The 34-year-old Alex Goligoski ($4,300) is trending up with six points through eight games, and it even looks sustainable with a 57.3 Corsi For percentage so far. He already has three power-play points as well, which is nearly halfway to the seven he posted last season. Line that up against the Islanders' 73.7-percent kill rate – 26th in the league.
Taking a gander in the bargain bin, Darnell Nurse ($4,700), Vince Dunn ($4,000) and Tony DeAngelo ($4,500) all work on productive power plays while blocking enough shots to make it worthwhile if they don't mark the scoresheet.