A rather level playing surface in effect Wednesday, with only the Columbus Blue Jackets coming off action the previous evening, and not one of the 14 active teams facing games Thursday as a potential distraction. Highlights include the second and final meeting between the Bruins and Avalanche in Colorado. Missing several key pieces of their lineup, the Avs will be harshly challenged, in hoping to make amends for their recent 5-1 loss in Boston. Another interesting interconference tilt features the Rangers visiting the Golden Knights. Rebounding off one of their better offensive showings of late, New York will be looking to make it two in a row on the strip. Another tough task, considering the quality of competition in Vegas.
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All times Eastern.
Favourable scoring match-ups
7:30 p.m., Nationwide Arena
It’s a battle between the league’s No. 2 offense and 31st ranked defense when the Sabres visit the Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Only the Anaheim Ducks have allowed more goals than Columbus to date (3.96/game). This arithmetic heavily favors one side over the other and it isn’t Joonas Korpisalo and crew. Plus, the Jackets are bound to feel a bit weary after playing – and losing 4-1 – in Pittsburgh the previous evening. A good number of Buffalo skaters could get in on the scoring action in this matchup, including a red-hot Dylan Cozens (rostered in 36.6% of ESPN.com leagues) and rookie Jack Quinn (4.0%).
8 p.m., Scotiabank Saddledome, Watch live on ESPN+
While the Wild’s best is scoring in bunches – 4.50 team goals/game since Nov. 23 – the Flames’ offense is also showing signs of improvement in recent competition. Benefiting from contributions from some supporting cast members like forward Dillon Dube (0.6%), Calgary is threatening to overtake the Edmonton Oilers for fourth spot in the Pacific. Unless goalie Dan Vladar (projected) puts together another superlative performance like he did against Arizona and Washington – keep in mind, the Coyotes and banged-up Capitals are two of the least productive teams in the league – I believe we’ll see a fair bit of scoring, from both sides, in what sets up to be an entertaining affair in Alberta.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
Andrei Kuzmenko, Vancouver Canucks (58.8%): After failing to earn a point in three straight, Kuzmenko scored a goal and assist in Monday’s thrilling 7-6 win over the Montreal Canadiens. He also scored a goal and assist on Kaapo Kahkonen the last time the Canucks faced the Sharks (Nov. 27). One of your streakier types – who’s averaging nearly a point/game – the NHL newbie appears back on the productive upswing.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Matias Maccelli, Arizona Coyotes (1.7%): Don’t look now, but the 22-year-old Finn has a goal and five assists in his past four games and 17 points on the year. Skating on a line with Nick Bjugstad and Lawson Crouse (6.4%), he skated almost 20 minutes in Calgary on Monday. Don’t let the lack of name recognition – or his recent benching as a healthy scratch – turn you off this fantasy dark horse. Maccelli can contribute against the Oilers.
Paul Cotter, Vegas Golden Knights (0.2%): Filling in on a top scoring line for a (mildly) injured Jack Eichel, the Vegas rookie scored a goal and assist during Monday’s win in Boston. Food for fantasy thought when the Rangers visit Vegas on Wednesday. Although I’m considerably less smitten with Cotter if Eichel returns to his spot in the lineup for this meeting, which is a real possibility. Check first.
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Deep league/DFS value defensemen
Calen Addison, Minnesota Wild (8.7%): The young lad is back at it. Anchoring Minnesota’s top power play, Addison has two goals and four assists – including four points with the extra skater – in his past six games. Ride the sizzling fantasy hand while he’s hot.
Charlie Lindgren (projected), Washington Capitals (1.1%): A fantasy wild card, to be sure, but Darcy Kuemper’s understudy looked solid in Monday’s 28-save win in Edmonton, holding Connor McDavid to one shorthanded goal (minus-one) and Leon Draisaitl point-less (minus-two). The Flyers don’t score a ton altogether (2.46/game). If the Caps can put up a couple/few, I like Lindgren’s chances at escaping Philly with his fourth of the season.
Alexandar Georgiev (projected), Colorado Avalanche (91.6%): Mikko Rantanen can only do so much on his own. Already missing Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, and Evan Rodrigues, the Avalanche now have to manage without Artturi Lehkonen and – this is a big one – Nathan MacKinnon. While Lehkonen is listed as day-to-day, the Avs’ top center is expected to miss four weeks with an upper-body injury. The Bruins rolled over Pavel Francouz and Colorado 5-1 this past weekend with MacKinnon on the ice (falling hurt, Lehkonen left early). I have a great deal of fantasy concern about how Georgiev will fare, if given his own opportunity against one of the league’s best. That is one banged up lineup in Denver.