Weekend fantasy hockey tips: NHL picks, matchups, more

Saturday’s 13-game schedule features several key contests, including the Canadiens welcoming coach Martin St. Louis’ former Tampa team to Montreal for the first time this season. The Habs face a tough challenge as they battle the fiery Lightning and a well-rested Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes. The Tampa No. 1 has been showing the best version of himself of late. Elsewhere, the Devils look to right their ship against the Panthers, while Las Vegas hosts an intriguing late matchup with the visiting Islanders. No word yet on whether Jack Eichel will be ready to return after sitting out with a minor injury.

But all eyes will be on the highly anticipated contest between the Maple Leafs and Capitals in Washington. While Mitch Marner’s scoring streak is over, Alex Ovechkin continues to chase Gordie Howe’s goalscoring record. If offered the Leafs’ net against his former club, Ilya Samsonov should be more inspired to make sure Ovi waits at least one more game before celebrating No. 801. That one will be a lot of fun.

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All Oriental Times.

Favorable Scoring Pairings

13:00, Garden TD

The last time the Bruins and Blue Jackets met (October 28), Linus Ullmark pitched a 30-save shutout and Boston had four, including a shorty. Since then, B has racked up victories while Colón has allowed 4.05 goals per game. Beyond the hottest assets, mid-tier staples like David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk have added fantasy appeal in what portends to be an unbalanced afternoon at 100 Legends Way.

4 p.m., Rogers Place, watch live on ESPN+

This Saturday afternoon in Edmonton, the No. 1 power play faces the second-worst penalty shootout in the league. No team has allowed more total goals/game than the porous Ducks. Inexperienced rookie Lukas Dostal is expected to start again for Anaheim, while John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz remain injured. With the Edmonton Big Four of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman firing on all cylinders, this one could get messy fast.

10 p.m., Rogers Arena, watch live on ESPN+

Don’t look now, but the Canucks are scoring some goals and winning some hockey games. I like Vancouver’s offense to get past David Rittich if – big Yeah Here – Coach Rick Bowness decides to run with his backup on Saturday, leaving Connor Hellebuyck for Sunday’s game in Seattle. Even less, if Hellebuyck starts on Saturday, then Rittich gets the nod on Sunday.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabers (enrolled in 59.0% of ESPN.com leagues): The Sabres’ second-string center is sizzling, with seven goals and 13 assists in his last 13 games. Competing in a dynamic unit with rookie Jack Quinn (6.5%), Cozens appears to be in excellent position to score against a Coyotes team playing its second game in as many nights. He is a points/games player and fantasy coaches should get used to that reality.

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Deep League/Daily Fantasy Value Forwards

Filip Chytil, New York Rangers (2.9%): The Rangers are rolling, in part due to the improvement in production from the young forward. Since coming back from a minor lower-body injury, Chytil has three goals and one assist on 12 shots in four games. I like the odds he’ll add to that total when the Rangers visit the Flyers on Saturday.

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Mid Tier Fantasy Defenses

Deep League Value Defenders/Daily Fantasy

Daniil Miromanov, Vegas Golden Knights (0.5%): With Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo out of the lineup, Miromanov is enjoying a more prominent role, including power playing time, with the Knights. The 25-year-old rookie scored his first NHL goal and added three assists in his last two games. If he wants to fill out his Daily Fantasy roster with an under-the-radar defenseman, the AHL call-up is the guy for him.

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Anton Forsberg (projected), Ottawa Senators (10.0%): The opposing Red Wings aren’t scoring much these days, with just four goals to show for their last four contests. Assuming Cam Talbot starts against his former team in Minnesota on Sunday, Forsberg could be a rewarding fantasy play against a Detroit team likely to be without Dylan Larkin (hand) once again. The Senators’ backup has been between good and great in three appearances this month.

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bank ’em

Semyon Varlamov (projected), New York Islanders (10.1%): Winners of just two of their last seven, the Islanders will play their second road game in as many days when they visit the Golden Knights on Saturday. With Ilya Sorokin playing in Arizona on Friday, Varlamov would likely be ready to start in Las Vegas. There are quite a few other fringe netminders that I would prefer to side with on this particular occasion. The Knights are scoring again and New York’s No. 2 has been a bit shaky in his last two starts.

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