There is a potential Central Division playoff preview with the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning at the fourth-place Nashville Predators and that is the only game that involves two playoff teams.
That does not mean there are not games of interest. With the trade deadline passing Monday, the Boston Bruins head into a home game against the Buffalo Sabres with newly acquired winger Taylor Hall, who had just gone through a brutal half season with Buffalo, scoring two goals in 37 games. Given Hall’s ability to drive play and create chances, even if he wasn’t finishing in Buffalo, expect a strong finish to the season with a contending Bruins team.
Here are some Monkey Knife Fight picks from a Star Shootout angle to keep in mind when playing Tuesday’s NHL action on Monkey Knife Fight.
Buffalo’s netminder has been a bright light in an awfully dark season in Western New York, posting a 9-6-3 record with a .917 save percentage for the team that is six points behind Ottawa for 30th place in league standings. Ullmark is averaging 28.8 saves per 60 minutes on the road and goes up against a Boston lineup that has had trouble generating offense but is going to have former Sabres winger Taylor Hall in the lineup. Even while the Bruins have struggled to score at times this season, they are putting 30.7 shots on goal per 60 minutes on home ice and that is better than league average.
Ilya Samsonov LESS THAN 27.5 SAVES
Washingtons’s goaltender missed a good chunk of the season so he has only appeared in 14 games, and just five on home ice. In those five games, though, he has 22.5 saves per 60 minutes which steers this towards a lower number when coupled with the fact that the Flyers are getting a below-average rate of 28.4 shots per 60 minutes on the road this season.
Adam Fox MORE THAN 5.5 MKF FANTASY POINTS
Fox has been held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games against the Islanders but may find a matchup against the New Jersey Devils a little more to his liking. Fox is not a big shot generator so he tends to need goals and assists if he is going to get to six or more MKF fantasy points. While he is averaging 5.5 MKF fantasy points per game on the road this season, he has also surpassed that number in each of his three games against the Devils.
Brad Marchand MORE THAN 5.5 MKF FANTASY POINTS
Although Marchand’s average production on home ice this season leads him to a little under 5.4 MKF fantasy points per game, he is going against the Buffalo Sabres, a team that is not quite average. Okay, they are the worst, so lean towards Marchand in this one.
Artemi Panarin MORE THAN 0.5 ASSISTS
The Rangers star winger has 12 assists in 16 road games this season, picking up those helpers in nine of the 16 games. He has only played the Devils once this season, recording two assists in the game. Might as well side with the high-end talent going against a lesser team and let the chips fall where they may.
Auston Matthews MORE THAN 4.5 SHOTS + BLOCKS
This is the second game of a back-to-back situation for the Maple Leafs, so maybe that slows Matthews down a little but he is pretty much unstoppable on home ice, averaging 5.3 shots plus blocks per game in Toronto this season. In four previous home games against the Flames this season, Matthews has counted 20 shots plus blocks, an average of five per game, which is just what he needs to hit the over in this contest.
Mitch Marner -0.5 MKF FANTASY POINTS vs. Mika Zibanejad
As great as Matthews and Marner have been this season, they are especially dominant on home ice. Marner is putting up nearly 6.8 MKF fantasy points per home game and faces Calgary, a team that has mostly held him in check this season. In eight games against Calgary, Marner has averaged almost 4.9 MKF fantasy points per game. As for Zibanejad, his numbers this season have been propped up by a couple of monster games against the Philadelphia Flyers and he does have 6.1 MKF fantasy points per game on the road, with 3.5 MKF fantasy points per game in the four games that he has faced the New Jersey Devils this season.
*The contests listed in this article are subject to change leading up to puck-drop of each respective game*
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Scott is a sportswriter with a focus on analytics, rankings, fantasy. Even though he’s Canadian, his interests and analysis extend a wee bit beyond hockey and maple syrup. Eh?