Today’s frenetic slate features the second of two Global Series games between the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets in Finland. Managers who like to stroll on the wilder fantasy side may choose to lean on Joonas Korpisalo as the Finnish netminder looks to play and win his first of the season in front of hometown family and friends. The meat of Saturday’s lineup includes the Blackhawks’ first trip to Winnipeg, a potential shootout between the Stars and Oilers, Pittsburgh looking to win their first in forever against the Kraken, Lindy Ruff’s surging Devils travelling to play Darryl Sutter’s sputtering Flames, Montreal hosting Jack Eichel and Co. from Vegas, before wrapping up with two teams who scored in bunches against one another just days ago. If the mark is set any lower than 7.0, take the ‘over’ when the Sharks welcome the Ducks.
However, the most intriguing match-up of all is one of the most contentious through a fantasy lens. On paper, the 10-1-0 Bruins should have little issue in beating a Maple Leafs club that has yet to perform to potential. But the teams are playing at Scotiabank Arena and oddsmakers have Toronto as the early, slim favorite. Maybe because the Leafs looked more their quality selves in Thursday must-win 5-2 victory over the Flyers, yet still appear frustrated and unsatisfied. In the best way. With no love lost between these two sides, it’s difficult to predict how it all unfolds beyond the inevitable chippiness (oh, there’s going to be a fight). While there’s no missing a minute of this inevitably entertaining battle, apart from each side’s fantasy stars, I’m looking to pad my lineup with help from elsewhere. Including in net.
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All times Eastern.
Favorable scoring match-ups
7 p.m. Saturday, Amalie Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
More productive of late altogether, the Lightning will aim to capitalize on facing a travelling/tired Sabres team coming off Friday’s only evening matchup in Carolina. From Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov on down to Ross Colton on the third line, Tampa’s skaters could put up impressive numbers against the Sabres’ defense and projected starter Eric Comrie. Just make sure elite blueliner Victor Hedman is truly ready to return from his brief two-game injury absence before throwing him in your fantasy lineup.
7 p.m., PPG Paints Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
The Kraken are third in league scoring since Oct. 23, averaging 4.17 goals/game through six contests. Through that same stretch, the Penguins (1-5-1) have allowed 4.71 per outing, ranking the NHL’s third most generous team. Unless Pittsburgh’s defense and goaltending sorts itself out before 7pm ET, the math suggests Seattle’s skaters could score a few. More than the pair, plus empty-netter, they fired past Casey DeSmith in last week’s victory.
10:30 p.m. Saturday, SAP Center, Watch live on ESPN+
The last time these two teams faced off – only days ago – they combined for 10 goals, split even-stevens, before the Ducks ended matters in the shootout. Bench your goalies from either side and play your scoring fantasy faves, including a rejuvenated Erik Karlsson. This could be another barnburner.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
Jaden Schwartz, Seattle Kraken (33.1%): Matty Beniers’ winger has yet to go longer than two straight games without registering a single point. Which means he’s due to contribute in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Plus, Schwartz collected a goal and assist against the Penguins just a week ago.
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars (48.3%): The Stars captain is having a moment, collecting a goal and four assists in his most recent two games. He’s also shooting up a storm. Knowing this scoring flurry won’t last, take advantage when Benn is running so hot. Including in Edmonton on Saturday.
Andrei Kuzmenko, Vancouver Canucks (33.8%): I mean, how do you not start the Canucks winger after he scored his first NHL hat-trick Thursday, icing a week’s run of eight points in four games? Of course you do. Particularly with the Predators – who are still in the process of figuring it out – in town. For record, I believe Nashville’s skaters will enlist their own damage on offense in this potentially lively tilt. Make sure Filip Forsberg and others near his ilk are in your lineup against the porous Canucks.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Miles Wood, New Jersey Devils (0.4%): After collecting three goals and two assists on 17 shots in his most recent three contests (plus-five), Wood might merit a little more ice time as the Devils hope to extend their current win streak to six games. The Flames have been a bit more magnanimous in allowing goals of late, particularly this past week. General Sutter isn’t pleased.
Miles Wood tallies goal vs. Oilers
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Brandon Montour, Florida Panthers (50.2%): Nailing five or more shots/game in his past four contests, Montour is ripe to re-dent the scoresheet in Los Angeles late Saturday. After spending four seasons split between San Diego (AHL) and Anaheim (NHL) to start his pro career, the Panthers’ current top power-play anchor should feel extra comfortable in his old stomping (gliding?) grounds.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen
Cam Talbot, Ottawa Senators (50.9%): He looked stingy enough in stopping all 13 shots in relief of Anton Forsberg versus Vegas on Thursday. I like a healed-up Talbot to earn his first win of the campaign against a Flyers offense that’s cooled of late.
Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders (97.7%): The Islanders’ No. 1 has allowed a total of five goals through his past four games – all wins – including a 41-save shutout of the Rangers. Detroit’s 17th-ranked offense might have a tough time putting up points during this matinee.
Arvid Soderblom, Chicago Blackhawks (0.4%): Assuming Alex Stalock (concussion protocol) isn’t yet ready to return, Soderblom is poised to earn his third-straight appearance for Chicago. The up-and-comer – praised for his calm and cool demeanor – won his first NHL game on Thursday, stopping 32 of 33 shots in an OT nailbiter against the Kings. “It was a fun game to play in,” Soderblom said afterward. “I’m glad to pick up my first win. It was fun.” The 23-year-old was also solid after subbing in unexpectedly against the Islanders on Tuesday. I like this dark horse’s chances of securing fun win No. 2 in Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon.
Scott Wedgewood, Dallas Stars (4.3%): I know he’s been pretty good in relief of Jake Oettinger this week, but facing Connor McDavid and crew is a whole other bag of bananas compared to battling the Kings and Coyotes. McDavid and Draisaitl alone have a combined 23 points in their past four games, 10 of them counting as goals. That’s ridiculous. Best give Wedgwood a pass on this date.
Sunday’s favorable scoring match-ups
5 p.m. Sunday, Madison Square Garden, Watch live on ESPN+
The well-rested Rangers get to host a less-fresh Red Wings squad, coming off Saturday’s match-up with the Islanders. If Alex Nedeljkovic starts for Detroit, matters appear even more promising for the home squad. Ned surrendered a total of 14(!) through his last two(!) games altogether. Yikes.
Florida Panthers at Anaheim Ducks
9 p.m. Sunday, Honda Center
Give the Panthers the scoring edge in what could amount to a messy affair between two teams who played less than 20 hours earlier. Ahead of Saturday, only the Ducks had surrendered more than 50 goals since season’s launch, averaging 4.64/game.