This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
The Maple Leafs had an inexplicable five-goal meltdown in the third period last night and now they have to face the Avalanche, who pumped seven goals against Chicago in Mikko Rantanen's first game back from injury and are coming out of a three-day break.
The Senators will also be playing back-to-back after facing Vancouver last night, and it will be the Oilers' first of four straight home games after playing eight of their past 11 on the road. Special teams could be the difference in this one; the Oilers have the top-ranked PP (32.5%) and second-best PK (87.1%), while the Sens PP is the league's worst (9.3%).
The injury-depleted Penguins will host the Blues and attempt to avenge a 5-2 loss last Saturday. The Pens have been very good at home, winning four of their past five with the only loss coming in overtime against the Isles. The Blues, one of the league's best defensive teams, keeps rolling with four straight wins and points in their last 10 road games.
The Kings and Capitals cap off a light night. Historically, the Caps have not fared well against them, going 5-10-0 this decade with two of those wins coming last season in a span of a week. The Kings are allowing 3.32 GA/GP, fifth-worst in the league and the Caps just pumped five past the Sharks last night.
Jordan Binnington ($8,900) may not be a popular pick but the numbers really favor the Blues. They're really strong on the road, they're one of the best defensive teams in the league (2.48 GA/GP, 5th), and the Pens are without Crosby, Bjugstad, Schultz, and possibly Rust, Dumoulin and Hornqvist. That's 24 goals missing from the lineup right there. Matt Murray ($7,900) has not been sharp, allowing 4.82 GAA in four games.
The Oilers should also be able to win with either Mikko Koskinen ($8,400) or Mike Smith ($7,800), who returns after a one-game absence with a leg injury. The Sens lost 5-2 last night and for the fourth straight game failed to score more than two goals.
The Caps continue to look dominant and Ilya Samsonov ($7,500) is expected to start the second game of a back-to-back. Samsonov's stats (2.55 GAA, .914 Sv%) aren't very eye-catching, but eight of his nine opponents are currently in playoff contention.
Michael Hutchinson ($7,200) will start for the Leafs and it'll be a tough matchup. The Avs offense is elite and they're starting to get healthy; meanwhile, the Leafs were stunned after allowing five goals in three minutes in a game in which they somehow managed to look both fantastic and awful.
Jason Spezza ($3,900) collected an assist for the fourth straight game and proved he's not washed up at all. He's not shooting a lot but he's been a very good playmaker and his underlying possession stats are quite good.
If Josh Archibald ($3,100) lines up next to Connor McDavid again he might make a million more in his next contract. He scored a goal and played 16 minutes against the Canucks, adding a blocked shot as well. His only job tonight is to not screw up.
The Welsh-born Australian Nathan Walker ($3,000) is endearing himself to the Blues faithful with a goal and an assist in his past two games. He even earned a promotion to Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz's line. Zach Sanford ($3,600) has also been playing well; the Blues have scored 17 goals when he's on the ice, according to Natural Stat Trick, tied for first among forwards with Ryan O'Reilly.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Colorado Avalanche (Total: $21,300)
MacKinnon is fifth in league scoring but in all honesty might move jump to third by the end of the night. Rantanen needed only 10 minutes to score four points last game, and while that pace is clearly unsustainable, his minutes will certainly increase, especially after a long break. The odds of Hutchinson allowing several goals seem pretty high – much higher than him potentially stealing the game.
Washington Capitals (Total: $17,600)
They combined for four points last night, including two goals from Vrana. It's a bit odd, but Vrana has been statistically far better against Western Conference teams (0.29 G/GP, 0.58 Pts/GP) than Eastern Conference teams (0.24 G/GP, 0.46 Pts/GP). He registered a point in both games against the Kings last season.
John Carlson ($7,200) continues to shock with four points in two games. He's having an all-time season. Kris Letang ($6,800) is creeping into the conversation with a goal in three straight games. Had he managed to stay healthy, he'd be approaching 700 points (like Zdeno Chara) right now.
Oscar Klefbom ($5,500) is a safe high-floor option because he does so many things for the Oilers. His job should be a little easier against the lowly Senators. Darnell Nurse ($4,000) is similar but at a lower volume.
Cale Makar ($5,400) continues to be an excellent bargain as one of the league's best offensive defenseman. Samuel Girard ($3,700) steals some ice time but it's warranted – he had two assists last game.