Friday’s six game slate launches with a matinee (local time) on the Vegas strip between two clubs headed in very different directions, then wraps up hours later with the Coyotes hosting their first in front of an intimate group of enthused fans. Welcoming a travelling Jets team coming off Thursday’s 6-4 win in Los Angeles, Clayton Keller and Co. are pretty pumped to play their inaugural game at Mullett Arena, and understandably so. We could see a fair number of goals in what sets up to be a lively affair in front of a young, loud crowd, teeming with ASU students. Under such circumstances, and against Winnipeg backup David Rittich, Keller and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere are lineup musts in just about any fantasy forum.
In between those two desert tilts, we’ll see if the red-hot Bruins can keep it sizzling – presumably without Brad Marchand – in Columbus. Whether the Islanders’ perfect penalty kill is able to remain faultless against the dynamic Hurricanes. And if the Canucks can make it two in a row after winning their first of the season versus Sidney Crosby and Co. (My guess is no.) A riveting Friday evening of hockey, indeed.
Resources: Goalie depth chart | Injuries | Schedule | How to watch on ESPN+ | Sign up for ESPN Fantasy Hockey | Download the ESPN Fantasy App | Daily lines
All times Eastern.
Favorable scoring match-ups
6 p.m., T-Mobile Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
Nothing much is going right for the opposing Anaheim Ducks to start 2022-23. They haven’t won a game since their season-opening overtime victory against the Kraken, losing the next six. They can’t score, ranking 31st in the league with an average of 2.29 goals/game. They’re similarly one rung from the bottom in allowing more goals than anyone other than the Coyotes, giving up 4.43/contest. If it wasn’t for one tight 2-1 shootout loss to Boston, that figure would near five. It’s been ugly. And now they’re facing a Knights squad that’s plenty capable of scoring and winning, on the strip, in the middle of a Friday afternoon (local time). Make sure to activate every viable Knights fantasy asset you’ve got, including Phil Kessel, who broke through with his first of the season (400th overall), earlier this week.
7 p.m., Nationwide Arena
At least the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t have to deal with Brad Marchand, after the healthy-hipped forward scored twice in his season debut Thursday. Probably anyway. The Bruins revealed they wouldn’t yet play the dazzling winger in the second game of back-to-backs following his return from offseason surgery. Mind you, the Bs also said earlier this week that Marchand wouldn’t play until nearer Thanksgiving, so a sniff of healthy scepticism might be in order here. Regardless, Marchand or no Marchand, the hottest team in hockey should provide quite an offensive challenge for the home squad this Friday. Columbus has held the opposition to fewer than four goals only twice this season.
10 p.m., Rogers Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
Friday’s tilt in Vancouver features the league’s most potent offense against the fifth-worst defense. The 11th best power play versus the least effective penalty kill. Congratulations to the Canucks on winning their first of the season on Thursday. Now they face a tough task in making it two in a row, 24 hours later, against an annoyed group of rested Penguins who haven’t had much luck on their road trip through western Canada to date.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
Martin Necas, F, Carolina Hurricanes (44.0%): Logging significant minutes on a scoring line with Andrei Svechnikov and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Necas has only failed to register at least a single point once this season. Effective at both even-strength and on the power play, the young winger has racked up eight total through Carolina’s other five games. Aside from Svechnikov, who hardly qualifies as a mid-tier asset, Necas is my fantasy forward of choice against the Islanders.
Martin Necas capitalizes on the power play
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Jeff Carter, F, Pittsburgh Penguins (14.0%): With the respective healthy returns of Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker still pending, the Penguins’ second scoring line continues to feature Carter on Evgeni Malkin’s wing. The veteran stands an excellent chance of adding to his six-point total, either five-on-five or on the top power play, in Vancouver on Friday.
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Bowen Byram, Colorado Avalanche (51.6%): The young Colorado defender is on a lovely roll, with two goals and three assists in his past six games.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen
Marcus Pettersson, Pittsburgh Penguins (3.0%): The Penguins defender racked up four assists through five contents before hitting a wall in Alberta this week. Like many of his teammates, Pettersson presents as an appealing fantasy candidate to get back on track against Bruce Boudreau’s crew. He’s also good for a couple of blocked-shots most games.
Alexandar Georgiev, Colorado Avalanche (83.4%): I still don’t know what to make of the New Jersey Devils this fall. Allowing the fewest number of shots in the league – and it isn’t even close – Lindy Ruff’s crew is also rifling the most on the opposing net. But they’re nearly even-stevens in goals scored and goals allowed, ranking mid-league in both categories. And their power play stinks. So I’m willing to ride with the Avalanche’s No. 1, who’s coming off two formidable victories over the Rangers and Golden Knights this week. If Georgiev – who beat the Devils in both of two appearances as a Ranger last year – faces a lot of shots, and stops most of them, that’s okay too. However, should Jared Bednar decide to enlist Pavel Francouz in the first of this weekend’s back-to-back set, I’m re-thinking matters.
Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins (98.3%): Pittsburgh’s No. 1 has been good to spectacular in four wins thus far and shaky only once. After falling victim to Leon Draisaitl and the rest of the Oilers on Monday, Jarry is looking to redeem himself against an inferior, and likely a bit tired, offense in Vancouver. I like his chances.