This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Just three games on a light slate with the Flyers (-156) and Wild (-130) the most favored teams against the Canucks and Ducks, respectively. If you're looking for goals, check out Blackhawks at Devils with both sides boasting plenty of offensive firepower and questionable goaltending. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed four goals on 36 shots in his first start and the Devils will likely start Jonathan Bernier with Mackenzie Blackwood dealing with a heel injury.
Cam Talbot, MIN at ANH ($8,200): Talbot missed the conclusion of the preseason for personal reasons, but he's expected to start the season opener. He was one of the Wild's bright spots last season and finished 3-1 with a .933 Sv% and 1.74 GAA against the Ducks. Talbot has always fared well against Anaheim throughout his career and that shouldn't change even though they were surprise winners against the Jets on Wednesday.
Carter Hart, PHI vs. VAN ($7,800): There's definitely some upset potential because the Canucks defense looks like it's improved limiting the Oilers to only 34 shots Wednesday. However, the Canucks are also playing their second road game and were among the NHL's worst sides last year away from home with a 10-17-1 record. There's good reason to worry about Hart considering what we saw last season, but note he finished preseason play with a .953 Sv%.
Kevin Lankinen, CHI at NJ ($7,300): It's the first game of a back-to-back for the Blackhawks, and they'll likely allow Marc-Andre Fleury to face his former team Saturday. That means Lankinen will likely start tonight and only $200 separates him and Bernier, though the Blackhawks represent the more experienced group. The Devils will also be skating into this one with a limited scouting report on Lankinen as they've never played him before.
Mason McTavish, ANH vs. MIN ($3,000): McTavish was a late addition Wednesday after Max Jones was scratched and rewarded the Ducks with a two-point effort, so he's unlikely to come out of the lineup. There's a full youth movement in Anaheim and McTavish should play a big role; his 14:40 TOI ranked fifth among Ducks forwards and interestingly edged Calder favorite Trevor Zegras, who finished with 13:22 TOI.
Dawson Mercer, NJ vs. CHI ($3,200): Mercer will open as the No. 3 center behind Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, but we've seen some impressive rookie performances already and Mercer could be next. He looked solid during camp and will have two veteran forwards on his wings in versatile two-way player Andreas Johnsson and proven finisher Tomas Tatar.
Derick Brassard, PHI vs. VAN ($3,600): I'm not sure how long Brassard will last as their No. 2 center even with Kevin Hayes out for two months, but there's definitely some familiarity between him and Alain Vigneault going back to their time with the Rangers where Brassard enjoyed his best seasons. He's in an envious position of having two excellent finishers on his flanks with Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson, who combined for 35 goals last season.
Nils Hoglander, VAN at PHI ($4,400): Hoglander looked like the Canucks' best forward for various stretches against the Oilers, and the energizer bunny has become an indispensable part of their forecheck. The Canucks showed two defensemen on their second power-play unit during the preseason, but Hoglander was used as the fourth forward when games started to count. The Canucks leaned heavily on their top two lines and he finished seventh in ice time among forwards, but ended up leading them with two assists. Hoglander's role should increase soon enough.
Kirby Dach, CHI at NJ ($5,300): Dach operated as the third-line center behind Jonathan Toews and Tyler Johnson, but Johnson finished with a minus-3 rating against the Avs and Dach's 18:59 TOI ended up leading all Chicago pivots. It's early, but it looks like Dach might be their No. 1 center.
Wild at Ducks
Mikko Koivu managed to score 60 points with above-average wingers in a defensive system, which means Eriksson Ek has a chance for a breakout campaign with Kaprizov on his wing. Eriksson Ek's offensive ceiling is considerably higher than Koivu's, and Zuccarello and Kaprizov have shown excellent chemistry since being paired last year.
Devils vs. Blackhawks
Hughes didn't finish the preseason and his status is questionable as of Thursday night, but this was basically the Devils' top (and best) line last season. They're quick, aggressive and all three can finish around the net. If Hughes doesn't play...
…line stack instead, because Jersey will be forced to rely on this trio a lot. Hischier has scored at a 50-point pace over an injury-riddled four-year career, but is now healthy and Zacha is coming off a career-high 35 points while Bratt has produced at least 30 points every season. That Blackhawks defense is still not scaring anyone.
Flyers vs. Canucks
It's a decent matchup because the Flyers are at home and facing a team that has already played one road contest that needed extra time and flying cross-country and across the border. The Flyers stunk last year, but Couturier is only one season removed from winning the Selke and has basically been scoring at a point-per-game pace over the past four. Konecny should be motivated after a very disappointing campaign.
Dougie Hamilton, NJ vs. CHI ($6,500): Hamilton got the money, and now he has to do it. The Blackhawks are pretty aggressive moving the puck up the ice and that makes them prone to turnovers, so maybe one of those will lead to a breakaway pass from Dougie. He offers the most upside among defensemen over $4,500.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, VAN at PHI ($4,500): Early results have been promising with Ekman-Larsson scoring in the opener and skating 23 minutes while quarterbacking the second power-play unit. He's going to be indispensable on the Canucks blueline and will likely log plenty of minutes all season no matter the situation.
Jamie Drysdale, ANH vs. MIN ($4,300): Of course, Drysdale's assist came on the power play. The defenseman who plays like Quinn Hughes but isn't Quinn Hughes saw 19 minutes Wednesday and will play a major man-advantage role. It's where Drysdale will excel and the reason why he's considered a Calder contender.
Keith Yandle, PHI vs. VAN ($4,200): The Yandle redemption tour has begun. He'll play on the third pairing – as expected – but will very likely start as their top PP QB on a unit with the entire top line plus James van Riemsdyk. The Flyers are guaranteed at least one power play when the Canucks inevitably get called for too many men.