Wednesday fantasy hockey tips: NHL picks, matchups, more

Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins have a strong scoring opportunity against the Florida Panthers tonight. Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

As the Kings and Lightning slip into their stretchy pants a day early, members of every other NHL team are hitting the ice this U.S. Thanksgiving Eve. It's a busy one, complete with plenty of pre-holiday drama and riveting storylines.

Will the Devils extend their win streak to a franchise-best 14 games against a vengeful Maple Leafs squad? Will the Flyers manage to put the brakes on their seven-game losing skid in Washington? Is the possible return of Seth Jones enough to boost the struggling Blackhawks past the Stars in the defender's own hometown? (Probably not.) After walloping the Canadiens the previous evening, are the Sabres ready to extend their fresh mini-win streak to two games against the Blues? (Again, that'll be tough.) And that's just a sample.

So gear up for one of the busiest days on the league's calendar - and put your best fantasy hockey foot forward - before every NHL arena goes dark Thursday.

Favorable scoring match-ups

Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers

7 p.m., FLA Live Arena, Watch live on ESPN+

While they're not perfect on the road like at home, the Bruins still seem outstandingly comfortable and confident in winning games away from TD Garden (6-2-0). The only NHL squad to consistently average more than four goals per contest since season's start, they racked up a total of 20 in their past four. If the B's can pot five past Andrei Vasilevskiy - as was the case in Monday's 5-3 win in Tampa - Patrice Bergeron and Co. can certainly toss in a few behind Spencer Knight. The Panthers' defense remains a work-in-progress from the net out. Play your favorite fantasy Bruins, including Jake DeBrusk, who's both hot and underrated.

New York Rangers at Anaheim Ducks

10 p.m., Honda Center, Watch live on ESPN+

Coming off a 5-3 win L.A. the previous evening, the Rangers are expected to start Jaroslav Halak in place of No. 1 Igor Shesterkin. Yet to win a game, the veteran backup is off to a wobbly launch of 2022-23, posting a winless record, .883 SV%, and 3.22 GAA. On the other side of the ice, the Ducks are allowing a league-worst 4.30 goals/game in November. The last time these two sides met in mid-October, New York escaped with a 6-4 victory. This doesn't smell like a low scoring affair to me. I particularly like the Rangers' "kids" - Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere - in this tilt.

Vancouver Canucks at Colorado Avalanche

10 p.m., Ball Arena, Watch live on ESPN+

It's a battle of the league's ninth-ranked offense (fifth in November) versus the 30th-ranked defense; the very best power play against the second-worst penalty kill; a team that's 7-1 in their past eight, in competition with a club that's still trying to find consistency at all positions. Proven capable of giving up a gaggle of goals on any given evening, the Canucks are in danger of doing just that in Colorado on Wednesday. Advantage: Avalanche offense.

Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets

7 p.m., Nationwide Arena, Watch live on ESPN+

These two teams combined for 10 goals in a Blue Jackets' 6-4 victory just last week. Also, the travelling Canadiens are coming off a 7-2 pummeling at the hands of the Sabres only 24 hours earlier. Play your fantasy Jackets. Play your fantasy Habs. But perhaps only outside of the net.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

Artturi Lehkonen, Colorado Avalanche (Rostered in 61.4% of ESPN.com leagues): The top-line winger is fully back in scoring form. Alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, Lehkonen is riding a seven-game point streak, comprising four goals and four assists. Throw in a bunch of shots, and that works out to a whopping average of 3.0 fantasy points/game in ESPN.com standard leagues.

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals (33.1%): At press time, Oshie remains a "maybe" for suiting up Wednesday after losing nearly a month to a lower-body injury. However, after fully participating in practice on Monday, the winger's healthy return feels promising enough. Slated to skate on a scoring line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and top power play with Alex Ovechkin, Oshie's prospects of denting the scoresheet against the Flyers are solid. Just make sure he is, in fact, playing before tossing him into your own fantasy lineup.

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Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Blake Coleman, Calgary Flames (5.0%): Skating on a forward line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Mikael Backlund, Coleman has a goal, two assists, and an empty-netter on five shots in his past two contests. I'll take the former Lightning/Devil as an outlying fantasy asset against the Penguins in not unfamiliar territory in Pittsburgh.


Blake Coleman nets goal vs. Flyers

Blake Coleman nets goal vs. Flyers

Jordan Eberle, Seattle Kraken (8.0%): On a heater at home with four goals and three assists in five games, the veteran winger is making the most of his plum assignment alongside center Matty Beniers. No question, Eberle's in great position to score against Kaapo Kahkonen and the visiting Sharks in the friendly confines of Climate Pledge Arena.

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Mid-tier fantasy defensemen

Mark Giordano, Toronto Maple Leafs (38.5%): In the spirit of exacting some modicum of revenge, the Leafs are going to do their darndest in preventing the Devils from winning their franchise-record 14th-straight after losing last week's 3-2 squeaker in overtime. Which increases my fantasy-driven appreciation for the veteran puck-moving defenseman, who's projected to see more meaningful minutes in partially replacing Morgan Rielly (IR) on Toronto's top power play. Managers with a look to the long game should also know that Rielly is expected to miss a stretch with his fresh knee injury. Plus, Giordano is blocking more shots than usual these days.

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Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen

J.J. Moser, Arizona Coyotes (12.6%): The Swiss Sophomore has earned a singular assist in all but one of his past six contests, two of the five helpers counting with the extra skater. Even with Jakob Chychrun back in the defensive fold, Moser logged more than 24 minutes in Monday's tight shootout loss to Nashville.

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Jake Oettinger (projected), Dallas Stars (98.0%): The Blackhawks are banging out 1.44 goals/game in November. Oettinger hasn't allowed more than a pair in each of his last three starts. And that was against the Avalanche, Panthers, and Islanders.

Logan Thompson, Vegas Golden Knights (88.7%): The Senators have scored one goal in each of their past two games, (unsurprisingly) losing both. The Golden Knights' No. 1 has lost just three of 13 starts all year, and only once in the past month. Thompson stopped all but four of Ottawa's 46 shots in his club's 5-4 win on Nov. 3. I gently propose he earns the victory once more, this time at home, and hopefully allows fewer than four. Halting Tim Stutzle - who's been tremendous - will be key in this effort for Vegas's defense.

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Bench 'em

Aside from Patrick Kane and Seth Jones - if he's indeed returning to the ice in Dallas - bench your Blackhawks in lieu of other options on this date. Collectively, they aren't scoring much and the Stars are defending well.

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