Friday’s six-game slate kicks off with a matinee (local time) on the Vegas Strip between two clubs headed in very different directions, then ends hours later with the Coyotes hosting their first in front of an intimate group of fans. enthusiastic. Home to a traveling Jets team fresh off Thursday’s 6-4 win in Los Angeles, Clayton Keller and Co. are understandably excited to play their inaugural game at Mullett Arena. We got to see a good number of goals in what is shaping up to be a lively affair in front of a young and boisterous crowd, teeming with ASU students. Under such circumstances, and against Winnipeg substitute David Rittich, Keller and defender Shayne Gostisbehere are roster staples in just about any fantasy forum.
Between those two desert tilts, we’ll see if the searing Bruins can sizzle it — presumably without Brad Marchand — in Columbus. If the Islanders’ perfect penalty kill is able to stay clean against the dynamic Hurricanes. What if the Canucks can make it two in a row after winning their first of the season against Sidney Crosby and Co. (I guess Nope.) A thrilling Friday night of hockey, indeed.
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All times Eastern.
Favorable score matches
6 p.m., T-Mobile Arena, watch live on ESPN+
Nothing is going well for the opposing Anaheim Ducks to start 2022-23. They haven’t won a game since their season-opening overtime win over the Kraken, losing the next six. They can’t score, ranking 31st in the league with an average of 2.29 goals/game. They’re also one rung from the bottom in allowing more goals than anyone other than the Coyotes, giving up 4.43/game. If it hadn’t been for a narrow 2-1 shootout loss to Boston, that number would be closer to five. It was ugly. And now they’re facing a Knights team that’s every bit capable of scoring and winning, on the Strip, in the middle of a Friday afternoon (local time). Be sure to activate any viable Knights fantasy assets you have, including Phil Kessel, who broke through with his first of the season (400th overall), earlier this week.
7 p.m., National Arena
At least the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t have to face Brad Marchand, after the hip-healthy forward scored twice on his season debut on Thursday. Probably anyway. The Bruins have revealed they won’t face the dazzling winger in the second straight game yet after returning from off-season surgery. Watch out, the B’s too said earlier this week that Marchand won’t be playing until Thanksgiving, so a hint of healthy skepticism might be in order here. Either way, Marchand or no Marchand, the hottest team in hockey should offer a tough challenge to the home team this Friday. Columbus has held the opposition to less than four goals only twice this season.
10 p.m., Rogers Arena, watch live on ESPN+
Friday’s matchup at Vancouver features the league’s strongest offense against the fifth-worst defence. The 11th best powerplay against the least effective penalty kill. Congratulations to the Canucks for winning their first game of the season on Thursday. Now they face a difficult task of making two games in a row, 24 hours later, against an annoyed group of rested Penguins who haven’t had much luck on their road trip across Western Canada at this day.
Fantastic mid-level attackers
Martin Necas, F, Carolina Hurricanes (44.0%): Recording important goal-line minutes with Andrei Svechnikov and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Necas has only managed to register at least a single point once this season. Effective at even strength and on the power play, the young winger had eight total goals in Carolina’s other five games. Aside from Svechnikov, who hardly qualifies as a mid-level asset, Necas is my forward of choice against the Islanders.
Martin Necas capitalizes on the power play
Deep League/Daily Fantasy Forwards
Jeff Carter, F, Pittsburgh Penguins (14.0%): While the respective good returns of Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker are still pending, the Penguins’ second line continues to count Carter on the wing of Evgeni Malkin. The veteran has an excellent chance to add to his six-point total, either 5-on-5 or on the power play, in Vancouver on Friday.
Mid-Level Fantasy Defenders
Bowen Byram, Colorado Avalanche (51.6%): The young Colorado defender is on a roll, with two goals and three assists in his last six games.
Deep League Defenders / Daily Fantasy
Marcus Pettersson, Pittsburgh Penguins (3.0%): The Penguins defenseman had four assists in five contents before hitting a wall in Alberta this week. Like many of his teammates, Pettersson presents himself as an attractive fantasy candidate to get back on track against Bruce Boudreau’s crew. He’s also good for a few blocked shots in most games.
Alexandrar Georgiev, Colorado Avalanche (83.4%): I still don’t know what to think of the New Jersey Devils this fall. Allowing the fewest shots in the league – and it’s not even close – Lindy Ruff’s side also shoot the most on the opposing net. But they are nearly tied in goals scored and goals against, ranking mid-league in both categories. And their power play stinks. So I’m ready to roll with the No. 1 Avalanche, who are coming off two terrific wins over the Rangers and Golden Knights this week. If Georgiev – who beat the Devils in his two appearances as a Ranger last year – faces a lot of shots and stops most of them, that’s no big deal either. However, if Jared Bednar decides to enlist Pavel Francouz in the first straight set this weekend, I’ll rethink things.
Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins (98.3%): Pittsburgh’s No. 1 has been good to spectacular in four wins so far and shaky just once. After falling victim to Leon Draisaitl and the rest of the Oilers on Monday, Jarry is looking to redeem himself against an inferior and likely a little tired offense in Vancouver. I like his chances.