This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
After a three-day holiday break we're right back at it with 11 games on the menu. The high-scoring Maple Leafs under Sheldon Keefe will visit the low-scoring Devils to kick things off in what could be a blowout between teams trending in different directions. The Capitals will try to avenge a 3-0 loss to the Blue Jackets earlier this month, the Hurricanes will try to snap their two-game losing streak against the struggling Rangers, and the Bruins will try to shut down Jack Eichel and the Sabres.
In the West, the Wild should pose a much bigger challenge to the Avalanche than earlier this season and the Blues will try to extend their five-point division lead against the Jets. The Predators and Blackhawks will also be in action, but host Metro Division powerhouses Penguins and Islanders, respectively. The final three games are all-Pacific Division clashes, with the Battle of Alberta between the Oilers and Flames, an all-California clash between bottom dwellers Kings and Sharks, and the Golden Knights will try to regain the division lead against the Ducks.
Frederik Andersen ($8,800) will be a popular pick but the Devils scored seven goals against Chicago and the Leafs' run and gun style means they might hang him out to dry. The Devils are testing the Ewing Theory with a 3-3 record since sitting and trading Taylor Hall. The same goes for Jordan Binnington ($8,800) against an explosive Jets offense, where the value proposition isn't particularly strong.
Tristan Jarry ($8,600) is 6-1-0 with a league-leading .952 Sv% and 1.41 GAA in December, but the Preds have won straight with no significant injuries on their roster. Pavel Francouz ($8,400) is second with a 6-0-1 record and a .942 Sv% and 1.93 GAA, but, again, the Wild are a much tougher opponent now than in the beginning of the season.
Marc-Andre Fleury ($8,500) represents perhaps the best value play in this tier, facing a depleted Ducks roster possibly without an entire line of Ryan Getzlaf, Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell, not to mention possibly Nick Ritchie, Derek Grant and Troy Terry (combined 15 goals).
Braden Holtby ($8,200) will try to bounce back after getting pulled in his last start, but Joonas Korpisalo ($7,6000 has been the third-best goalie this month, though it'll be difficult to pull off the upset on the road. Connor Hellebuyck ($8,000) has a shot to pull off the upset as the home team, and he's arguably stolen more games than any goalie this season.
Mikko Koskinen ($8,200) seems far too pricey even if the Oilers are at home. The Flames are 7-3-1 under Geoff Ward and with so many other goalies available, Koskinen seems like a risky play.
Tuukka Rask ($8,100) seems like a good play against the Sabres, who rely on Eichel far too much and the rest of the team just isn't very dangerous. He's 16-7-1 with a .933 Sv% against them in his career. Petr Mrazek ($7,900) could be a sneaky play against the Rangers, who have won four of their past five and it seems awfully unlikely they'll go 3-0 against Carolina this season.
Jordan Eberle ($5,400) has just three goals this season but just four assists shy of tying last season's total in 53 fewer games. He's on a three-game assist streak with a total of five helpers.
Nikita Gusev's ($4,200) ice time hasn't really increased since Hall was traded, but his production sure is with six assists in four games. The Leafs seem like an intimidating opponent but defensively they're still not very good. He had three assists in a 7-1 win against Chicago.
Luke Kunin ($3,600) entered the holiday break on fire with three points in three games, two of them coming against Calgary. The kid line with Jordan Greenway and Nico Sturm has provided some unexpected depth scoring. Valeri Nichushkin ($3,600) also entered the break with a two-point effort and he's back on a 30-point pace with the Avs.
Martin Necas ($3,200) is one of Carolina's top young players and entered Christmas with a bang with a four-point effort against the Leafs. As a rookie, his production remains boom or bust, but against the Rangers it should be more boom than bust.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Carolina Hurricanes (TOTAL: $18,800)
Teravainen is on a five-game assist streak and proving last season was no fluke. According to Natural Stat Trick, in over 200 minutes of 5-on-5 play together they've generated a 60.05 CF% rating. Aho generated a 73.53 CF% rating on his own in the two previous games. It just seems like the 'Canes are due for a win against the Rangers.
Toronto Maple Leafs (TOTAL: $20,600)
They've combined for 18 points in their past two games and Matthews-Marner remains one of the league's best combos. Keefe's more liberal offense has opened things up for the dynamic duo, and if the line stack is too pricey, Hyman is a good value play.
All three of John Carlson ($7,200), Kris Letang ($7,000) and Roman Josi ($6,600) are worth picking, though Josi is shooting a career-high 10.5 percent this season and riding a five-game goal streak. He has just two points in 11 games against the Pens in his career and the Pens have been really good this season.
Erik Karlsson ($6,500) and Brent Burns ($6,300) are no longer kings of the blue line but even at this price they don't seem to be good plays, value or otherwise. Burns has been scoring more lately but still doesn't outperform the likes of Dougie Hamilton ($6,200) or even Oscar Klefbom ($5,900) on a regular basis. The silver lining is the Kings PK is second-worst in the league.
If Torey Krug ($5,600) misses the game then look for Charlie McAvoy ($4,500) to get a lot of PP time in his absence. McAvoy has yet to score a goal this season and the Sabres PK ranks 28th. Shea Theodore ($5,100) is another power-play specialist worth looking at and might be the best value option among defensemen. The Ducks have the league's worst penalty differential and they're missing key players. Tyson Barrie ($4,700) is also another good option.