Where to play
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Ottawa Senators
Tampa continues to struggle, going 4-6 in their past ten games. The most surprising thing is how much trouble that they are having scoring goals. To make things worse, they head into to Ottawa to take on one of the best defensive teams in the league. Tampa crushed Ottawa earlier this year, so the Sens should exact their revenge in this one.
Puck Play #1- I really hesitate to recommend anybody on Tampa for this game. The only guy I could recommend would be Steven Stamkos, and that’s only because he is such a great player. However, he has even been slumping so I would stay away if possible.
Puck Play #2- Trying to pick one play from Ottawa is extremely difficult. Not because they have a wealth of riches, but because they have no great players right now. All of their stars are injured, and they keep losing players. They do however have a couple of guys that would make good value plays, both Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg.
San Jose @ Minnesota Wild
San Jose is finally starting to score some goals again, just in time to go to Minnesota and take on a Wild team that doesn’t give up many. The Sharks struggle on the road (5-9-2), while the Wild are very good at home (10-3-0-1). Look for the Wild to continue their stellar play at home.
Puck Play #1- The one guy on the Sharks that has started to produce consistently Patrick Marleau, who has points in four of his last five games. He is the best bet to score for the Sharks.
Puck Play #2- The Wild spent a ton of money over the summer to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. After a slow start to the season, both of them are now playing some great hockey. Proceed with caution however as San Jose is a very good defensive team, and Antti Niemi is playing well in net for them.
Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings
The defending Stanley Cup Champions take on one of the preseason Cup favorites today. Both teams struggled mightily out of the gate, but the Kings have slowly started to turn things around. The Canucks on the other hand continue to get shoddy goal tending most nights, which derails any momentum they can generate. Steer clear of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider until they put together a string of solid games.
Puck Play #1- When we talk about who to play on the Canucks it all starts and ends with the Sedin twins (Daniel and Henrik). They are what make that team go, and if they score then the Canucks have a chance; otherwise they are in a world of trouble.
Puck Play #2- Los Angeles has really started to play well, especially at home (despite the shutout loss to the Stars on Thursday). LA is 5-2 in the last seven played at home vs. the ‘Nucks, so look for the Kings to win this one with their balanced scoring throughout their lineup. I really like Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter up front, while Jake Muzzin makes for a good value play on defense.
Boston Bruins @ Toronto Maple Leafs
I personally hate this game, but that’s because the Bruins absolutely own my beloved Leafs. Boston has won eight straight against Toronto, and most of those games have not been close. Boston has outscored Toronto 5-2 in the two games that they have played this year, and you should expect more of the same tonight.
Puck Play #1- Tyler Seguin is the Bruins most talented forward and is playing like it. Seguin, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron form Boston’s best line, and they all play well against Toronto.
Puck Play #2- As much as I love the Leafs, I cannot recommend any of them tonight. If you absolutely must play someone from Toronto, it has to be Nazem Kadri, who has been on fire with six points in his last two games.
Buffalo @ Montreal
Buffalo is coming off of two straight wins, one of them being a 3-2 overtime victory over Les Canadiens. Montreal is one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, while the Sabres are struggling to get back into playoff contention. You might think that this would be an easy win for Montreal, but not so fast my friends. Buffalo is actually 6-1 in the last seven games at Montreal, and 10-2 in the last 12 meetings overall.
Puck Play #1- The Sabres came out of the gates scoring lots of goals until Thomas Vanek got hurt. He missed their game on Thursday against Toronto, so you want to make sure he is playing before putting him in. Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville have started to play well again, and both would make solid plays tonight.
Puck Play #2- After going through a cold spell it appears Max Pacioretty is starting to heat up once again, with three points in his last two games. Max has 11 points in 16 career games against the Sabres, so he is a good bet to find the score sheet again tonight.
Florida Panthers @ New Jersey Devils
With apologies to @TheLooch, I would rather rip out my nails one by one than have to watch this game. This promises to be the most boring game of the night. The Panthers are horrid and the Devils always play a boring, yet effective, brand of hockey.
Puck Play #1- There is no reason to play anybody on the Panthers today.
Puck Play #2- Martin Brodeur comes off the injured list and promptly shuts down the high powered Carolina Hurricanes, scoring a goal to top it off. He makes for a solid option in goal tonight.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nashville Predators
Columbus has really picked it up recently, but almost all of that success has come at home. They are also on the back end of a back-to-back, having played the Flames in Columbus last night. While The Preds are awful on the road they are great at home, and I’d look for Nashville to get the W in this one.
Puck Play #1- Columbus is really bad on the road, and the only player I would recommend is defenseman Jack Johnson at a cheap price.
Puck Play #2- The Preds are led by All World defenseman Shea Weber, who possesses one of the hardest shots in the league. He also has four points in his last four games, and generally plays well against the Blue Jackets.
Colorado Avalanche @ Dallas Stars
Colorado comes into this game having lost four of their last five; with their lone win being a 4-3 win over Dallas on Wednesday. The Avalanche are awful on the road, while the Stars are decent at home. This should be a fairly high scoring game as both teams tend to be allergic to defense.
Puck Play #1- Colorado has a wealth of young talent on the team led by Matt Duchene. As a fantastic skater he creates a lot of opportunities with his speed, and has 31 points in 28 games so far this season. The other player I like on Colorado is PA Parenteau, who has 12 points in 14 road games this year.
Puck Play #2- The Stars are led by the ageless Jaromir Jagr. He has four points in his last two games, including three points in this past Wednesday’s meeting against Colorado. Throughout his career he has beaten up on the Avalanche with 46 points in 36 games. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – Jagr should be a good play tonight.
St. Louis Blues @ Edmonton Oilers
The Blues won the only previous meeting this year by a 4-2 count in St. Louis. The young Oilers are slightly better at home, but regardless, St. Louis is just a much stronger team. Unless Devan Dubnyk stands on his head, the Blues should win this one fairly easily.
Puck Play #1- The Blues are another team with a pretty balanced attack, but the one guy I love is Chris Stewart. He’s on a roll with seven points in his past four games, and has 12 points in 15 games on the road this year. I also like Kevin Shattenkirk as one of the top defensemen playing tonight.
Puck Play #2- The Oilers have an immense amount of young talent, and the one guy that stands out to me is the one guy that nobody really talks about. Sam Gagner leads the Oilers with 28 points on the year, and is very well priced on most sites. He has solid numbers against the Blues in his career, and there is a good chance that Gagner will be involved in the goals that Edmonton scores tonight.