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Monday fantasy hockey tips: NHL picks, matchups, more

Robert Thomas of the St. Louis Blues has one goal and six assists in his last five games. Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire

I opted to not highlight the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers tilt under the "favorable scoring matchups," but I struggled with the decision. On one hand, we have two of the top five teams in generating offense this season (Devils are first and Rangers are fifth in Corsi for per 60 minutes). On the other hand, we have two of the top three teams in limiting the offense against themselves (Devils are second and Rangers are third in Corsi against per 60 minutes).

So where do we land on this? Does the offense for both teams win out and we get a high-flying affair? Or do the defense shut things down and limit the fantasy points from scoring? It's notable that the struggling Rangers have shortened their bench in a way, moving Artemi Panarin up to a stacked top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. The trio had Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in their face for 90 per cent of their ice time on Saturday, so it's understandable they didn't do much. Also at play for the Blueshirts are defensemen partners Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren both looking questionable heading into the contest.

There were plenty of other matchups to highlight thanks to a busier-than-usual Monday across the NHL. Six games have 12 teams in action, with the two teams from Florida playing as part of a back-to-back set that continues Tuesday. The Tampa Bay Lightning play in Buffalo on Monday and Boston on Tuesday. If you are going to give backup Brian Elliott one of those matchups, you assume Monday against the Buffalo Sabres is the better choice. He's your desperation play in the crease, but we've seen how dangerous these Sabres can be on their "on" nights, so it's probably an unwise play on a Monday.

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All times Eastern.


Favorable scoring match-ups

Florida Panthers at Edmonton Oilers

9:30 p.m., Rogers Place, Watch live on ESPN+

A very intriguing matchup comes for both sides. The Panthers have only picked up one win in their past five games and will be withou captain Aleksander Barkov. The Oilers have two wins in their past five and have been struggling so much with getting the offense sorted post-Evander Kane injury that they stacked Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on a line in their last outing. McDavid actually has some trouble matching up against Matthew Tkachuk; during the previous three seasons while Tkachuk was with the Calgary Flames, Tkachuk leads 13-5 in goals when they were both on the ice at five-on-five (per NaturalStatTrick). And yes, 13 is the most by any forward against McDavid during the past three seasons. (For the record, Tkachuk also leads Draisaitl 10-4 when they were matched up in the previous three seasons). Without Barkov, the Panthers will lean on Anton Lundell to step into a top-six role.

Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues

8 p.m., Enterprise Center, Watch live on ESPN+

Here's an interesting case study in special teams: The Stars and Blues have both allowed 15 goals while they are shorthanded this season. However, the Stars have been shorthanded the most in the league (89 times) and the Blues have been shorthanded the least (48 times). So the Stars have a habit of giving up more power plays, but are better are killing them, while the Blues stay out of the box but often give up a goal when they are in. On the flip side, both teams are near the bottom of the league for getting power plays -- 65 for the Stars and 58 for the Blues. The line of Pavel Buchnevich, Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, which got together and performed well when Vladimir Tarasenko missed a couple games, has remained a unit.

Vegas Golden Knights at Columbus Blue Jackets

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

Johnny Gaudreau missed practice on Sunday due to illness, so he'll be questionable unless we get some certainty later on Monday. Add him to the wounded among the Blue Jackets and you can basically make what could have been the team's starting lineup on opening night (Gaudreau, Patrik Laine, Jakub Voracek, Zach Werenski, Jake Bean and Elvis Merzlikins). As bad as their record is overall, the Blue Jackets are 6-7-0 at Nationwide Arena, so don't underestimate them as a potential source of some points here. The Golden Knights are looking to shake off consecutive losses at home to the Kraken and Canucks. They are 9-1-1 on the road.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

Alex Killorn, W, Tampa Bay Lightning (39.1%): He's been picking up his play of late and owns a 1.9 fantasy points per game (FPPG) rate over the past four weeks. It also helps that Killorn has worked his way back to the Bolts top power-play unit. Brandon Hagel had been getting a long look, but Killorn was back in his usual spot on Friday. Additionally, only the Canucks and Ducks have allowed more power-play goals against than the Oilers.

See also:

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Jesse Puljujarvi, W, Edmonton Oilers (2.2%): We continue to give Puljujarvi attention long past when you would ignore other players with only five points -- and it's because of the company he keeps. This time, he's not just playing with one of Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, he's playing with both of them! The Oilers stacked their star centers on Saturday and won their game, so here's betting they go back to the well. Puljujarvi picked up an assist on Saturday, along for the ride.

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Jesse Puljujarvi's goal puts the Oilers on the board

Jesse Puljujarvi scores the goal to put the Oilers on the board first.

Calle Jarnkrok, C/W, Toronto Maple Leafs (0.6%): Also getting some top-six run with some star power, Jarnkrok shared the ice Friday and Saturday with Mitch Marner and John Tavares. He earned a point in each contest.

See also:

Mid-tier fantasy defensemen

Gustav Forsling, D, Florida Panthers (38.3%): Aaron Ekblad is heating up and Forsling, his defense partner, is coming right along with him. He's averaged 2.0 FPPG since Ekblad's return.

See also:

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen

Rasmus Sandin, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (2.8%): Admittedly, there's nothing to show for it after three games and I wonder if the Leafs are going to give Mark Giordano or Timothy Liljegren some run as the power-play quarterback, but until that happens Sandin should be in lineups. With Morgan Rielly shelved for the medium-term, this spot on the Leafs power play is a golden opportunity.

See also:

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Florida Panthers (67.0%): This could also be Spencer Knight, as it's unclear still early Monday which goaltender will start this game in Edmonton and which will start the next night in Calgary for Huberdeau-Tkachuk Bowl 2.0. But I don't hate this matchup with the Oilers. As evidenced above, Tkachuk really has McDavid's number when he gets to defend him. And, after a slow start, the Panthers have really come on lately in the possession game and are challenging the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils for tops in the league, while the Oilers are still a subpar possession team (19th in league at five-on-five).

Bench 'em

Jake Oettinger, G, Dallas Stars (98.0%): You probably don't actually bench him in your fantasy league, but I'll point out that the Stars have only won one of their past four games and they allowed four goals to the Blackhawks in doing so. The Blues are a dangerous opponent and both teams have been participating in high-scoring affairs of late.