WARNING: I’m about to talk politics. If you’ve had enough of that by this point, you may just want to skip this part.
Although I’m sure it’s hard to notice beneath the raging national torrent of hockey news that has subsumed everything, it bears noting that we’ve reached the end of what seems like an impossibly long presidential campaign season. Finally, finally, finally… the day is here. So I’m not going to talk about hockey in this intro. You’ll have enough of that below.
First, we vote. Go vote, hockey fans. You may want me to #sticktosports, but we often lose sight of just how small and insignificant sports are in the grand scheme of things. Sports are great – they excite us, they frighten us, they give us hope and snatch it away. They unify us across demographics, they give us an extra sense of pride in our team, our city.
Well, let me tell you: America is our city and the United States is our team. And when you choose your team’s captain, you don’t do it by splitting into factions and permanently destroying its unity. You have the responsibility – to yourself and to your teammates – to set aside the petty and the personal so that you can choose the person who is most prepared in character, in temperament and in knowledge to lead the team. Before you enter that booth, think hard about who that person might be. If you want to be led by someone else who isn’t on the team, you’re not alone – but sorry, you don’t run the front office. These are the choices you have. Make the best one you can.
Today, what may be the most crucial day of American history yet, is not the day to “stick to sports.” Our silence on this day, our failure to take action, could reverberate through the generations. There are no do-overs in this life.
And if you’re Canadian, well, we envy you for not being involved in this mess.
Canucks (PP: 28, PK: 8) at Rangers (PP: 8, PK: 12), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Jacob Markstrom (3-2-1, 2.11, .920), Henrik Lundqvist (7-3-0, 2.21, .914)
Key Injuries: Josh Jooris (upper body), Jannik Hansen (undisclosed), Chris Tanev (lower body)
This almost seems too easy if you’re the Rangers. Vancouver owns the league’s most pitiful offense, having scored a shameful 21 goals in 13 games. The Canucks are also on the back end of a cross-country back-to-back, having just lost across town to the Islanders on Monday night. Meanwhile, it’s no secret that the Rangers own the NHL’s best offense in the season’s first month. It’s hard to imagine the Canucks keeping pace in this one; they haven’t even played a whole lot of close games despite getting good goaltending on the whole. This presents an intriguing opportunity to roll out some of the guys on New York’s deeper lines, like Kevin Hayes, Brandon Pirri and Pavel Buchnevich, in a game that could be lopsided.
Red Wings (PP: 14, PK: 19) at Flyers (PP: 4, PK: 24), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Petr Mrazek (4-4-1, 3.18, .904), Steve Mason (2-4-1, 3.46, .878)
Key Injuries: Tomas Jurco (back), Thomas Vanek (hip), Joe Vitale (concussion), Boyd Gordon (upper body), Scott Laughton (knee), Andrew MacDonald (lower body)
This is my bet for the evening’s highest-scoring match, as neither of these teams has impressed defensively or in net, but both have the ability to bury the puck. That goes extra for the Flyers on the power play against a Wings penalty-killing unit that’s been rather mediocre. Philadelphia’s gotta be feeling some extra confidence on offense after pinging Carey Price for four goals over the weekend, but the Flyers’ own net is a different story. If Mason indeed starts, it’ll be his first in five games; he’s given up eight goals on 38 shots over his prior two outings. For his part, Mrazek’s been a hit-or-miss option; you should feel reluctant about putting him in your lineups Tuesday. Look for plenty of points on both sides here, giving extra value to the top-liners with a chance at big games, but you’ll also find intriguing DFS values on the bottom end here – dirt-cheap plays like Andrea Athanasiou, Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov.
Bruins (PP: 23, PK: 9) at Canadiens (PP: 17, PK: 20), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Zane McIntyre (0-1-0, 4.72, .854), Carey Price (7-0-0, 1.58, .952)
Key Injuries: Noel Acciari (undisclosed), Anton Khudobin (upper body), Kevan Miller (hand), Frank Vatrano (foot), Artturi Lehkonen (upper body), Zach Redmond (foot)
This is all about your projected starter in net for the Bruins, Mcintyre. If Tuukka Rask draws the start for the second consecutive day following Monday’s shutout of the Sabres, this game’s storyline will change dramatically. But assuming we indeed have McIntyre, you know what to do: Stack up those Habs like there’s no tomorrow. (And who knows, there might not be.) The DFS prices won’t be pretty, but #worthit. Either way, I want no part of the high-priced Boston skaters against Price, who’s looked practically impenetrable – with the notable exception of this weekend’s game against Philadelphia, which he won anyway.
Hurricanes (PP: 15, PK: 5) at Devils (PP: 13, PK: 13), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Cam Ward (2-3-2, 3.11, .888), Cory Schneider (4-3-2, 2.32, .927)
Key Injuries: Justin Faulk (undisclosed), Jon Merrill (finger)
Don’t look for much scoring in this game, but what offense we do see ought to come from the Devils against Ward and the Hurricanes’ poor defense. Sad but true.
Oilers (PP: 9, PK: 4) at Penguins (PP: 6, PK: 16), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Cam Talbot (8-3-1, 2.36, .925), Marc-Andre Fleury (6-2-2, 3.07, .908)
Key Injuries: Brandon Davidson (undisclosed), Mark Fayne (undisclosed), Matt Hendricks (lower body), Zack Kassian (undisclosed), Jesse Puljujarvi (upper leg), Kris Russell (undisclosed)
Sidney Crosby vs. Connor McDavid – this didn’t make it into the featured matchups because I’m just not sure what to expect as far as an outcome, but I should definitely mention that it’s a borderline travesty if Matt Murray doesn’t start for Pittsburgh instead of Fleury.
Sharks (PP: 12, PK: 7) at Capitals (PP: 21, PK: 18), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Martin Jones (5-6-0, 2.56, .900), Braden Holtby (6-2-1, 2.20, .921)
Key Injuries: None
The Sharks haven’t been very good away from their building and the Caps are just rounding into form. You know what to do.
Kings (PP: 25, PK: 25) at Maple Leafs (PP: 7, PK: 10), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Peter Budaj (6-3-0, 2.06, .912), Frederik Andersen (5-2-3, 3.20, .902)
Key Injuries: Andy Andreoff (upper body), Marian Gaborik (foot), Tom Gilbert (suspension), Brayden McNabb (collarbone), Jonathan Quick (groin), Matt Hunwick (lower body), Joffrey Lupul (abdomen)
This is a tough matchup to call between the bizarrely still-good Kings and the sometimes-good Leafs? I tend to go with the team that didn’t travel across the country, but I wouldn’t bet big on it.
Senators (PP: 24, PK: 14) at Predators (PP: 2, PK: 27), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Craig Anderson (6-2-0, 2.21, .930), Pekka Rinne (2-4-3, 2.63, .916)
Key Injuries: Mike Fisher (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (hand), Andrew Hammond (lower body), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Chris Wideman (upper body)
Craig Anderson is back again after leaving the team to spend time with his wife following her cancer diagnosis, and he looks inspired out there. There’s something about tragedy that can bring out the best in athletes for stretches of time, but there’s no sporting victory that can make up for the pain of personal loss.
Stars (PP: 21, PK: 23) at Jets (PP: 27, PK: 15), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Antti Niemi (3-2-1, 3.31, .900), Connor Hellebuyck (3-4-0, 3.04, .900)
Key Injuries: Cody Eakin (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip), Jiri Hudler (illness), Mattias Janmark (knee), Patrick Sharp (concussion), Jason Spezza (lower body), Joel Armia (undisclosed), Bryan Little (lower body), Shawn Matthias (lower body), Tyler Myers (lower body), Mathieu Perreault (undisclosed), Drew Stafford (upper body),Mark Stuart (upper body)
Does anyone else feel like the Stars and Jets only play each other?
Coyotes (PP: 29, PK: 28) at Avalanche (PP: 18, PK: 21), 9:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Louis Domingue (3-6-0, 3.87, .893), Calvin Pickard (3-0-0, 1.50, .946)
Key Injuries: Martin Hanzal (lower body), Tobias Rieder (lower body), Mike Smith (lower body), Michael Stone (upper body), Blake Comeau (groin)
Pickard should be well on his way to taking over the Avs’ No. 1 goaltending job from entrenched and mediocre (at best) veteran Semyon Varlamov. It comes down to this: Pickard is better. He’s also a lot better than Louis Domingue, so you’ve got to like this matchup for the Colorado side.
Mitch Marner, C, TOR – I can’t believe I even need to mention his name here, as Marner should be near-universally owned, but instead he’s widely available. The 19-year-old’s four points in the last two games have started to help address that issue, but the fantasy community’s still been a bit slow to catch on to the 2015 No. 4 overall pick, who’s got 10 points in 12 games to start his NHL career. That’s a pretty strong encore to Marner’s two 100-plus-point junior campaigns. Auston Matthews and William Nylander are great and all that, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about Marner. Did you know he scored 44 – yes, forty-four points in 18 playoff games for OHL London last year? Yeah, I’m just gonna leave you with that.