With only one team on a back-to-back (Dallas Stars), we have an eight-game slate with a bunch of rested teams. The top two teams in the NHL in both points and goals for are taking on one another with the Toronto Maple Leafs visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning. On the other end of the spectrum there are some lopsided matchups where the 6th place Buffalo Sabres take on the 25th place Arizona Coyotes and the 4th place Nashville Predators take on the 22nd place Vancouver Canucks.
NOTE: Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page page prior to game time, to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks – I don’t normally recommend Martin Jones because I Don’t think he’s a very good goaltender but he has an elite matchup tonight on home ice as the San Jose Sharks host the Dallas Stars, so I’m making an exception. As mentioned above, the Stars are on the tail-end of a back to back after falling to the Anaheim Ducks last night 6-3. Jones numbers aren’t the greatest with just a 2.87 GAA and .900 SV%, though he has been a bit better lately allowing just seven goals over his last four games while putting up a .975 save percentage twice and falling below .917 once. Dallas also struggles to score, sitting 25th in the NHL with just 2.77 goals per game.
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Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers – Over the last three weeks, Jonathan Huberdeau leads the league in points with 19. I use a three week benchmark quite often as it accounts for roughly 10 games for the majority of the NHL. He has done the majority of his damage in the playmaking department with just 4 of his 19 goals coming in the goal department and firing just 25 shots on net. Typically you don’t want to target a road game against the Minnesota Wild, but Devan Dubnyk has been struggling immensely. Over his last 10 games, he has an abysmal 3.59 GAA and .870 SV% so with a goalie struggling this much and a player piling up the points, this mismatch is often worth targeting. Huberdeau plays on the top line with Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov on a stacked top line which will only increase the likelihood that he continues to pick up points.
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres – Jack Eichel has scored at least 24 goals in each of his first three NHL seasons despite playing under 70 in two of them. Well, this season he is playing with a bonafide snipe in Jeff Skinner and his goal totals have dropped considerably, yet his assists have sky rocketed. This is not because Eichel has changed his game much and become Joe Thornton and never shooting. He actually leads the league in shots on goal with 138 over his 31 games. Part of the reason for the decreased goal-scoring his he has just a 7.2 percent shooting percentage whereas last year that number was up to 10.2. He would have roughly 3-4 more goals already had his shooting percentage equaled his 2017-2018 numbers so we can expect some positive regression in the goal department moving forward.
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs – Everybody is talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs. They made the biggest move in the off-season by landing the biggest free agent on the market in John Tavares. Then there was the William Nylander contract dispute, Mitch Marner dominating the early part of the season along with Morgan Rielly and another injury to Auston Matthews. Well, back to the free agent signing. Tavares has quietly been completely dominant and it has been overshadowed by all the other storylines going on in Leaf-land. He has put up 19 goals in the quietest fashion which is crazy considering the market he plays in. Tonight he and the Maple Leafs will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning in a game where the top two point producing teams — and goal-scoring teams — take on one another in what should be an offensive battle. Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to be back tonight and start, but he could struggle as he hasn’t played since November 10th.
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators – Roman Josi is always a solid defenseman to use because not only does he produce offensively, he can give you some peripheral stats to help boost his floor while still giving you a ceiling that the elite defensemen have. He has 22 points in 31 games which sis tied for 9th among defensemen. However, he leads all d-men with 115 shots on goal — 3.7 per game — and picks up roughly 1.4 blocks per game. So, with the point production and the peripheral stats, he is consistently one of the best defenseman on any slate. Tonight the Nashville Predators take on the Vancouver Canucks, a team allowing 3.30 goals against per game which is the 8th-most in the NHL.