This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
This is the big night for the Central Division, with three of the four teams in action getting a chance to topple the Lightning as the top seed. Granted, the Panthers and Hurricanes (5 p.m. EST, not available for FanDuel's main slate tonight) have played fewer games, but the big surprise is the Blackhawks, who are in a three-way tie for second place with 20 points.
The stakes are a little lower in the North Division where the Maple Leafs have a four-point cushion, but it's a tough middle class; the sixth-place Canucks will visit the fifth-place Flames (10 p.m.), while the fourth-place Oilers will host the third-place Jets (10 p.m.). The North Division remains the highest-scoring with 364 goals already… and they have one less team than everyone else.
(All fancy stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick...)
Frederik Andersen, TOR vs. OTT ($8,600): I don't think that's gonna happen again. Andersen and the Leafs held a 5-1 lead with an expected win percentage of over 99 percent, only to completely collapse. When a team gets embarrassed like that, they usually come out better the next game, and it's not like the Sens are in the same class to begin with. Andersen is still tied for the league lead with nine wins because he gets plenty of goal support.
Jacob Markstrom, CGY vs. VAN ($8,000): The Flames are back on home ice where head coach Geoff Ward can dictate the matchups, and in three games in Vancouver, Markstrom had a .946 Sv% with just six goals allowed. The Canucks are a talented offensive team and have fired no less than 27 shots on goal in each of their meetings. The Flames are favored to win and Markstrom has a chance to rack up the saves as well.
Kevin Lankinen, CHI at DET ($7,500): Lankinen will be a popular pick because a) he's a strong value play, and b) the Wings are 30th in GF/GP (2.06) and on the PP (7.6 percent). He heads into the game with a little more rest following a three-day break and looked very sharp in his last start, allowing just two goals against the Blue Jackets after allowing six in the prior game.
Pius Suter, CHI at DET ($4,300): Two reasons to like Suter: He's playing on the top line, scoring three points in his past four games, and he's playing Detroit, who rank 25th in Sv%. In over 100 minutes of 5-on-5 play, Suter's line has a 57.14 CF%, a line that is truly greater than the sum of its parts – all three players have a CF% below 43 percent when they play apart. Suter's first career hat trick was against the Wings.
Andrew Copp, WPG at EDM ($4,000): Copp has scored zero goals and three assists in February, cooling off after a hot start. He's shooting a lot less, which is the more concerning factor for me, but linemates Mark Scheifele (seven-game point streak) and Blake Wheeler (three points in three games) are playing well again. Hopefully, goaltending and defense is optional again this game.
Alex Galchenyuk, TOR vs. OTT ($3,000): Head coach Sheldon Keefe did not say when or if Galchenyuk will make his Leafs debut, but just in case he does, this is a potential revenge game for the former Senator. Both Alex Kerfoot and Jason Spezza are significant upgrades to Derek Stepan, who was Galchenyuk's center for most of his time in Ottawa.
Maple Leafs vs. Senators
Offense was not a problem for the Leafs in their 6-5 overtime loss, and this should be a popular line stack again. They combined for six points and 10 shots that game; the amount of talent on this line is just too much for any Sens defenseman to handle.
Red Wings vs. Blackhawks
Even though I noted that the Wings offense is almost non-existent, they have yet to be shut out by the Hawks. I like the value proposition of this line over Dylan Larkin's because Mathias Brome has yet to do anything meaningful. Fabbri and Ryan play on the top power-play unit while Mantha is a key shooter on the second unit.
Canucks at Flames
It's been a rough series and to say there will probably a few penalties in this game feels like an understatement. Pettersson and Boeser have been very good so far, and Miller is a borderline value play because we know he can produce like an elite first-line winger. The Flames have managed to keep the Canucks offense at bay for most of the series, and any scoring has usually come from this line, which also doubles as PP1.
Quinn Hughes, VAN at CGY ($5,700): He's a game changer and easily the defenseman with the most upside playing tonight. Hughes has scored 19 points to lead all Canucks this season, a group that has scored the most points from the blue line than any other team.
Neal Pionk, WPG at EDM ($4,900): He's a good play because he does everything for the Jets, and even on his worst nights is good for a few blocked shots. It's frustrating the Jets defensemen don't jump on offense as much as other teams, but with 12 points, Pionk's a better option than No. 1 defenseman Josh Morrissey.
Nicolas Beaudin, CHI at DET ($4,000): I wasn't sure about Beaudin despite his considerable skill because his playing time was somewhat limited, but the Hawks took off the reins and he played 19 minutes last game, his second-highest total of the season, and remains the quarterback on the top unit. Beaudin has just three shots in three games, so the play is to take advantage of his hot streak knowing it could end any time.
Evan Bouchard, EDM vs. WPG ($3,600): I'm interested to see how Bouchard will follow up an eight-shot, two-assist effort in his last game. Offense is his calling card and this series has featured no less than seven goals in any game.