With four of the six teams in action on Monday also playing on Tuesday, we are bound to get some backups on this Monday slate. But until we get some goalie confirmations later in the day, your guess is as good as mine as to how the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders divvy up the starts. It’s worth watching though as the backup for three of the four teams being discussed — the Oilers, Flames and Blues — has performed just as good or better for fantasy points as the starter.
Favorable scoring match-ups
8 pm, Capital One Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
This matchup has the most exciting scorers on both sides of the puck, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl taking on Alex Ovechkin — a group that makes up three of the top four goal scorers since the 2018-19 season. Both teams are coming off multiple losses, with the Oilers dropping two in a row and the Caps four. John Carlson was on the ice before practice on Sunday and is eligible to return, but is more likely to miss his fifth game with a lower-body injury.
Calgary Flames at New York Islanders
7 pm, UBS Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
The Flames come into New York as losers of four straight. Earlier last week, the team changed up its scoring lines to attempt to spark the offense, but continued to lose and reverted back to the original lines that haven’t worked all season. It’s doubtful doing the same thing and expecting a different result earns them one here. The Isles had won five straight before losing to Detroit on Saturday. This game should help them get back in the saddle.
7 pm, TD Garden
Tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for dead last in the overall NHL standings and on a six-game losing streak, the Blues face a Bruins team that would move into a tie for first in the overall standings with a victory. The Bruins can even counter the one bright spot for the Blues so far: St. Louis is ninth in power-play conversion percentage, but Boston is No. 1 on the penalty kill.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
Jesse Puljujarvi, W, Edmonton Oilers (2.6%): Practicing on a line with Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this would be Puljujarvi’s first to start a game on a scoring line promotion this season. On one hand, being offered such a prime opportunity to skate with McDavid should be a reason to be excited as fantasy managers. On the other hand, we’ve seen this same rodeo before from Puljujarvi.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Jake Neighbors, W, St. Louis Blues (0.4%): It looks like Brandon Saad will return from injury in this one, finally giving the Blues the depth they need to ice three solid scoring lines. And based on practice, Neighbors finds himself the lucky linemate of Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn.
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Hampus Lindholm, D, Boston Bruins (64.5%): The clock is ticking. It really does feel like the Bruins are setting us up for a Charlie McAvoy appearance by the end of this week. Lindholm, in the meantime, has been doing a great job of filling in the role of the team’s top offensive defender. If anything were to befall McAvoy again, it’s safe to say Lindholm becomes a must-start.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen
Nikita Zadorov, D, Calgary Flames (0.7%): If Chris Tanev misses another contest, Zadorov has big fantasy upside thanks to the minutes he’ll be asked to eat. Zadorov played 28:24 in Saturday’s overtime loss. Those kind of minutes for a physical defenseman is a lock for 2.0-plus fantasy points.
Stuart Skinner, G, Edmonton Oilers (16.2%): We are at the turning point where you would consider starting the backup if he gets the nod, but not the purported starter. If Skinner gets the nod, I’d roll with him in fantasy. If Jack Campbell gets the call, I’m shying away. The Oilers are doing a careful job to show us enough Skinner, but also being wary of creating too much controversy around their starter. But Campbell needs to get himself together. The fact that we’ve reached this fantasy turning point of preferring the backup is a troubling sign.
Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders (3.2%): With another game Tuesday, this matchup could go to Varlamov. The Flames are struggling to score at even strength and the Islanders have the third-best penalty kill to counter any advantage.
st. Louis Blues: Logic suggests that the team with only 12 goals at five-on-five through nine games should be benched. That said, I have a soft spot for a team on a six-game losing streak that has its offense back at full strength for the first time since the start of the season. If, somehow, they do right the ship here against Boston, we’ll have to remember that Brandon Saad is, for whatever reason, the keystone to this offense.