NHL Opening Night MKF Picks for Jan. 13



The puck drops on the new NHL season Wednesday and Monkey Knife Fight is there with contests for you to play and win.

It was a short offseason after what had to be considered a successful bubble playoff but now the league is prepared to embark on a new season that has protocols in place but it is not a bubble environment.

Teams will be traveling. Will that mean more of a home-ice advantage, even without fans in the stands? It’s probably going to take some time to figure out just how much of an advantage goes to the home side.

As much as fans might be missed, the play in the bubble showed that the games can still be entertaining. Add to that entertainment by playing some contests on Monkey Knife Fight.


Here are some angles to consider for Wednesday’s NHL action on MKF.

🏒 Penguins @ Flyers


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Tristan Jarry MORE THAN 27.5 SAVES

In 14 road games last season, Jarry averaged 28.5 saves per 60 minutes. In home games last season, the Flyers averaged 32.2 shots and 3.5 goals per 60 minutes, an average of 28.7 saves against. Jarry didn’t have a great finish to 2019-2020 but a fresh start against a quality opponent gives him a chance to put up at least 28 saves.

Evgeni Malkin MORE THAN 0.5 ASSISTS

Malkin is still a playmaking threat. In 29 road games last season, he recorded 27 assists, picking up a helper in 22 of 29 games. That puts the odds in his favor, even against a quality Flyers team.

Rapidfire

Sean Couturier +0.5 fantasy points vs. Kris Letang

Couturier was a big factor for the Flyers last season. In 35 home games, he had 33 points and 101 shots on goal. Letang is a productive defenseman but he had 21 points and 87 shots on goal in 30 road games last season making Couturier a great underdog in this matchup.

🏒 Canadiens @ Maple Leafs


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Frederik Andersen LESS THAN 29.5 SAVES

Last season was a rough one for Andersen and he averaged 28.4 saves per 60 minutes in home games. The Canadiens generated 32.4 shots per 60 minutes on the road, the second-highest rate in the league, and they should be even better this season. Still, Andersen had 30 or more saves in just 10 of 28 home appearances last season.

Rapidfire

Mitch Marner +0.5 fantasy points vs. John Tavares

Two really talented players in good spots to put up points. In 32 home games last season, Marner had 40 points and 79 shots on goal. Tavares had 29 points and 82 shotson goal in 30 home games. That’s enough to like Marner as the underdog.

Morgan Rielly -0.5 fantasy points vs. Ben Chiarot

As much as Chiarot was a pleasant surprise for Montreal last season, generating more shots than expected, Rielly is back on the Maple Leafs’ first power play unit and that alone gives him enough upside to pay off as the favorite.

🏒 Blackhawks @ Lightning


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Andrei Vasilevskiy LESS THAN 29.5 SAVES

Chicago managed to generate 30.3 shots per 60 on the road last season and they weren’t missing their top two centers the way that they will be on opening night in Tampa Bay. If it’s going to be unlikely that Chicago generates 30-plus shots, that will make it quite difficult for Vasilevskiy to record 30-plus saves. He also averaged 27.3 saves per 60 on home ice last season.

Patrick Kane LESS THAN 0.5 ASSISTS

Kane did have 30 assists in 36 road games last season, recording at least one helper in 21 of those games but, again, Chicago is shorthanded to start the season and it’s difficult to imagine them generating much offense against the defending champs.

Rapidfire

Brayden Point -0.5 fantasy points vs. Blake Coleman

Two different players. Coleman is a valuable player who scores and hits but did not play as much in Tampa Bay as he did previously in New Jersey. Point is an exciting scoring center who was outstanding in the playoffs and, along with Steven Stamkos, he’s the engine that drives the Lightning offense.

🏒 Canucks @ Oilers


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Leon Draisaitl MORE THAN 0.5 ASSISTS

The league’s leading scorer last season, Draisaitl put up 32 assists in 34 home games, putting up an assist in 21 of those contests. Facing a Vancouver team that is with questions on defense and in goal is enough reason to like Draisaitl for at least one assist.

Alexander Edler LESS THAN 5.5 SHOTS + BLOCKS

The veteran blueliner is quietly productive but it’s a big ask to record at least six shots plus blocks. He had 62 shots and 69 blocked shots in 32 road games last season which puts him at 4.1 combined shots plus blocks per road game.

Quinn Hughes MORE THAN 0.5 ASSISTS

Vancouver’s brilliant puck-moving defenseman had 25 assists in 33 road contests last season, though it was a relatively close split, with assists in 18 of those 33 games.

🏒 Blues @ Avalanche


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Ryan O’Reilly LESS THAN 0.5 ASSISTS

The former Avalanche center, now captain of the Blues, had 25 assists in 36 road games last season but he accumulated those assists in 16 games. Combining that with a matchup against what appears to be the league’s best team, it’s not a great matchup for O’Reilly.

Nathan MacKinnon MORE THAN 0.5 ASSISTS

A Hart Trophy contender, MacKinnon produced 31 assists in 32 home games last season, getting an apple in 21 of those games.

Rapidfire

Mikko Rantanen -0.5 fantasy points vs. Mike Hoffman

Rantanen is a productive scoring winger who rides shotgun with MacKinnon. He missed time with injuries last season but still had 23 points and 62 shots in 22 home games. Hoffman is a terrific goal scorer but he is new to St. Louis and not as productive as Rantanen.

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*The contests listed in this article are subject to change at anytime leading up to puck-drop*

Need more MKF picks? Check out Conner Rowntree's picks to play for Opening Night!

 

Scott Cullen

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?

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