This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
The Avs-Knights showdown is dropping the puck earlier than usual, so it will not be part of FanDuel's slate for Friday. Both teams are looking for their eighth win of the season.
The Sharks needed just 19 shots to defeat the Habs last night, and a win against the struggling Leafs will vault them back into a playoff spot after rough start. Figuring out the Sharks has been difficult in the early going and a win in Toronto could show that they're still serious contenders in the West.
The Devils have had trouble scoring and it will be even more difficult than usual against the Coyotes, who've allowed just 19 goals this season. After a splashy summer, the Devils' hellish start to the season has everyone re-thinking their long-term plan, especially in regards to Taylor Hall.
The injury-riddled Senators will have a tough time against the Isles, who have now won five straight after winning just once in their first four games. What's been most impressive is that they've kept their opponents to two goals or less in each of their games during their winning streak.
The Sabres defense and goaltending may be put to the test by the Wings' top line, but otherwise has them beat in just about every category. They look like a playoff team under Ralph Krueger and a win will solidify their status, though we've seen hot Octobers from the Sabres before…
The Caps are just 6-8-1-1 all-time at Rogers Arena in Vancouver and they'll be playing the second half of a back-to-back. The Canucks' goaltending and defense have been a strength this season and a win would also solidify them as playoff contenders.
Frederik Andersen ($8,800) facing a West Coast team playing their third game in four nights will be a popular choice, especially with a Leafs offense that should have no problem against Martin Jones ($7,400), who continues to masquerade as a starter. The win may be ugly, though, because the Leafs allow quite a few goals, too.
Antti Raanta ($7,500) should also be a popular (value) pick against the low-scoring Devils. This will be the Coyotes' third game in four nights but the travel has been light as they wrap up their tri-state road trip. He comes at a hefty discount to Jacob Markstrom ($8,300), who's been a brick wall but faces a much more dangerous Caps offense, and do not underestimate Ilya Samsonov's ($8,100) ability to steal a game.
The Isles' CF% is the second-lowest in the league (43.90%), entering Thursday's games according to Natural Stat Trick, with the Sens just three spots higher (46.48%), yet the Isles are on a tear and the Sens continue to struggle. You'll have to rely on the eye test for this one, so Thomas Greiss ($7,700) and a much deeper Isles squad should prevail.
Linus Ullmark ($7,300) will tend to the nets with Jimmy Howard ($7,000) the likely starter at the other end. The Sabres have yet to lose two in a row this season and should bounce back after a loss to the Rangers last night. Even if the Red Wings offense clicks, they'll need their goaltending to stop being mediocre – a seemingly impossible request.
Alex Kerfoot ($4,800) remains a strong play as long as John Tavares is sidelined, and in his absence has scored three points in three games, including a two-point effort against the B's. Don't be fooled by Mike Babcock's practice lines with Mitch Marner skating on Kerfoot's wing; it's more likely he'll be flanked by either William Nylander or Kasperi Kapanen.
He's 40 years old but Patrick Marleau ($4,700) remains effective and comes at a good price playing on the Sharks' top line. He has three assists in his past two games as he makes his return to Toronto. Conor Garland ($3,300) scored a goal last night, his second in three games, as his role continues to expand. He'll be a good value play against a team that can't keep pucks out of their net.
Jake Virtanen ($3,500) responded with a goal after getting promoted to Bo Horvat's line, who's at his best when he's engaged physically and gets to measure up against one of the league's best power forwards in Tom Wilson. He should get a little more ice time than the 11 minutes he received against Detroit on Tuesday.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
The Coyotes played last night so maybe they're a little tired, but this is the line to bank on against a team that doesn't defend well at all. The Devils are 29th in controlling shots, according to Natural Stat Trick, while the Coyotes are eighth.
They've been very good since Krueger put them together and it's an easy matchup against a team with mediocre defense and goaltending. The Red Wings are fourth-worst in goals allowed, the Sabres are third in goals scored and their top line has accounted for over 25 percent of them.
I'm predicting a high-scoring affair with both Sabres and Red Wings line stacks. Of course, after writing this it'll end up being a 1-0 game. This line accounts for nearly 10 percent of the team's entire total shots output every night, so the floor is still pretty high.
This doesn't seem like a high price to pay against a team with probably the worst goaltending in the league. The matchups on defense will be a challenge, but with how the amount of shots this line can generate, scoring should not be a problem.
John Carlson ($7,300) and his 21 points lead the league, and he's and a much better bet than either Brent Burns ($6,900) or Erik Karlsson ($7,200), who have traditionally been more productive scorers.
The Red Wings penalty kill has been atrocious so Rasmus Dahlin ($5,600) should again be a solid choice. His 10 points this season ranks fourth among defensemen and his minus-3 performance last night looks worse on paper than it actually was.
Quinn Hughes ($4,300) has arguably been the best power-play QB this season. He's generating a ton of shots and finally through nine games has supplanted Alexander Edler on the top unit. He has three points in two games and having Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser on their strong sides has also helped them generate more quality chances.