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Monday Daily Puck: Anyone But Arizona

Dustin Nelson

Dustin Nelson is a writer based out of NYC. His fantasy team is full of loafers.

Sunday night was an evening of rapid-fire goals.

The Jets pumped in three on the Wild in the first period and the Wild responded by scoring four in the third. That run included three in just four minutes and 39 seconds, as well as a pair from fourth-line wing Chris Stewart who had just two goals over his last 27 games.

Then the Blackhawks dropped three in 34 seconds against the Avalanche to swing a 3-1 Colorado lead to a 4-3 deficit.

It made for some thrilling viewing and there's plenty more of that coming down the pike Monday.

Featured Matchups
Bruins (PP: 10, PK: 2) at Maple Leafs (PP: 1, PK: 9), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Tuukka Rask (33-17-4, 2.32, .912), Frederik Andersen (28-15-14, 2.67, .918)
Key Injuries: Patrice Bergeron (undisclosed), Tim Schaller (lower body), Drew Stafford (personal)

With the Maple Leafs clawing their way up from the bottom of the barrel this season, this rivalry is renewed in a wonderful way. Like most good rivalries, it injects a bit of unpredictability into the game, particularly with the Leafs only three points back of the Bruins and both just a few losses from falling out of the playoff picture.

Even without Bergeron -- though, that's a tough loss -- the Bruins have been putting up points. They have 15 goals over the last three games and their top players are getting the job done. Marchand, who was named the NHL's top star of the week, has been on an absolute tear. He has nine points over the last three games, as well as goals in 10 of the last 13.

At the other end, William Nylander is on a seven-game point streak and has been on a run worth noticing. He has points in 10 of the last 12 and has become a reliable start. In season-long formats, he shouldn't be available. If he is, fix it.

Coyotes (PP: 27, PK: 27) at Predators (PP: 11, PK: 20), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Mike Smith (18-21-8, 2.93, .914), Pekka Rinne (27-16-8, 2.54, .915)
Key Injuries: Alex Burmistrov (upper body), Kevin Connauton (upper body), Shane Doan (lower body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body), Craig Smith (undisclosed)

Any team with significant firepower should be on your radar when they play the Avalanche (see: the Blackhawks last night) or the Coyotes. Of particular interest here may be two positions where you can get good bang for your buck.

In net, Pekka Rinne is a solid option. He's not among the league's top netminders at the moment. However, that means he's not going to be priced like Rask or Cam Talbot. Considering who he's playing, there's a better than neutral chance he'll provide a good return on the investment.

The same goes for the Predators blue line. They have offensively gifted defensemen and they may not come cheap, but there's a lot to like about them in this match. Throwing Roman Josi or P.K. Subban on the roster Monday might be one of the safer blue line bets of the night. (Though, Rasmus Ristolainen and Brent Burns are up there as well.)

At the other end, there's very little to like. Since it's not the typical two-to-three game Monday slate, you can avoid the Coyotes altogether.

Other Matchups
Sabres (PP: 2, PK: 29) at Red Wings (PP: 28, PK: 11), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Robin Lehner (19-22-8, 2.68, .921), Petr Mrazek (16-19-7, 3.04, .899)
Key Injuries: William Carrier (knee), Justin Falk (lower body), Taylor Fedun (undisclosed), Cody Franson (undisclosed), Dmitry Kulikov (upper body), Johan Larsson (wrist), Kyle Okposo (ribs), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Darren Helm (lower body), Ryan Sproul (knee)

Do you want to bet that either team makes the postseason? No, you do not. But don't let that blind you to the value that can be found in this match, despite a bevy of injuries.

The Sabres have averaged just a goal per game over the last three, but prior to that, they'd been putting up solid numbers. Both Ristolainen and Jake McCabe have been solid from the blue line and can provide depth to your roster. Also, too many people are overlooking the fact that Jack Eichel is a point-per-game player already.

Despite being a bit of a mess, the Red Wings have been running up the score on teams with porous defenses, like the Sabres. To boot, the Sabres down three defensemen, including two important pieces in Franson and Kulikov. They're also without a solid depth forward in Larsson and a top-six mainstay in Okposo.

The Wings have 10 goals in their last two games after facing Colorado and Arizona. There are a lot of players who have been feeling it. Andreas Athanasiou is on a three-game point streak and has points in four of the last five. Dylan Larkin is also on a three-game streak with three goals and five assists over his last eight contests. And Tomas Tatar has put up five goals and three assists in the last five. There's plenty of value to be found on these teams, despite their struggles.

Sharks (PP: 24, PK: 13) at Stars (PP: 20, PK: 30), 8:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Martin Jones (32-18-6, 2.24, .916), Kari Lehtonen (17-22-6, 2.95, .901)
Key Injuries: Jamie Benn (eye), Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Jason Spezza (back), Jannik Hansen (undisclosed), Melker Karlsson (lower body), David Schlemko (lower body)

Things are going from bad to worse for the Stars at the end of the season. Monday, the Sharks may be the benefactor. The goaltending and special teams in Dallas are abysmal. Though Lehtonen and Antti Niemi have a surprisingly solid even-strength save percentage. However, that does little to scuttle their recent struggles and the tire fire they've been on the penalty kill.

Add in that the Stars are going to play without a superstar, a top-six center and their top irritant, and the Sharks may have a feeding frenzy despite being on the road.

Kings (PP: 15, PK: 2) at Oilers (PP: 4, PK: 22), 9:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Ben Bishop (0-2-2, 2.61, .899), Cam Talbot (36-20-8, 2.35, .921)
Key Injuries: Tyler Pitlick (knee), Matt Greene (undisclosed), Jordan Nolan (leg), Nick Shore (upper body)

The Kings and Oilers have swapped spots from many analysts' preseason projections. The Kings are clinging for dear life to a playoff spot, while the Oilers are comfortably ensconced in the postseason party.

For the Oilers, continue starting Connor McDavid and absolutely anyone skating with him. His linemates will thrive, as will anyone who gets to take a spot on the top-unit power play with the boy wonder. Just look at the career-year Patrick Maroon is having skating alongside McDavid. The vast bulk of his production has come since getting on that top line.

On the other side, Anze Kopitar is finally finding his stride after struggling to put points on the board for most of the season. Over the last 11 games, Kopitar has posted four goals and seven assists. That's 25 percent of his points on the year.

Recommended Pickup
Morgan Rielly, D, TOR There have been some concerns about what Rielly's ceiling is. He's the defenseman the Leafs lean on now and lately, he's been productive enough to make him an interesting fantasy play. Over the last five games, he has put up two goals and two assists with an average of three shots per game. He's consistently playing over 20 minutes a night and sees solid power play time. There's a lot to like about starting Rielly as a deeper alternative to the league's top defensemen.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.