This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.
The NHL All-Star Game is coming up this weekend, and boy, is it ever ready to get weird. Strange enough that hockey's the only Big Four sport in which there's a four-team All-Star mini-tournament; now they're here with a new skills competition that promises to leave your head spinning (at least when you read the description).
In short, it's like Score-O; if you've never heard of that, you're not alone, as I also just found out that it's the name of that intermission game in which fans take long-distance shots in hopes of putting the puck through a small opening in a screen placed over the goal mouth.
If this reminds you of "Mac's Big Break" from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, that means you're not a jabroni and we could be good friends.
Anyway, here's how the NHL explains it:
— NHL (@NHL) January 23, 2017
Always good when you need to take more than a minute to lay out the rules, right? I challenge you to watch that video one time, spin around three times, and then tell me how many points every shot is worth. Now that's a skills competition.
But hey, we've got games to play before the NHL takes another break, so let's jump into Tuesday's hot action.
Blues (PP: 7, PK: 9) at Penguins (PP: 3, PK: 24), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Carter Hutton (6-6-2, 2.80, .892), Matt Murray (17-4-1, 2.32, .923)
Key Injuries:Matt Cullen (foot), Brian Dumoulin (jaw), Kris Letang (knee)
The Blues are having major issues in net even though they're fourth in the league in terms of shot prevention, and you have to wonder if they're longing after their old friend Brian Elliott yet; he thrived within this system for years, and Jake Allen has been unable to run with the mantle. Hutton's been confirmed as Tuesday's starter even though he's given up an atrocious eight goals on 31 shots over his last two appearances; that in mind, it's going to be up to the Blues' offense to solve Murray, who's bounced back from an uncharacteristically poor stretch by posting three consecutive one-goal outings. The Pens' netminder makes for a strong start, and if you like to take a stars-and-scrubs approach to filling out your lineup, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and their linemates should be rewarding plays.
Wild (PP: 11, PK: 6) at Stars (PP: 19, PK: 29), 8:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Devan Dubnyk (25-8-3, 1.91, .935), Kari Lehtonen (9-13-5, 2.87, .899)
Key Injuries:Radek Faksa (lower body), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee), Johnny Oduya (lower body), Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Tyler Seguin (illness), Victor Bartley (triceps), Jonas Brodin (finger), Mikko Koivu (illness)
As part of that 29th-ranked penalty kill, the Stars have given up a wince-inducing 13 man-advantage goals over 10 games in January; brutally enough, they've given up a pair of shorthanded goals as well. Lehtonen's been outplaying Antti Niemi in general, but his most recent start featured four goals in a loss to Washington. It certainly doesn't get easier no matter which netminder the Stars roll out Tuesday, as the Wild have been awfully hard to beat. That said, Dubnyk – so incredibly good throughout most of this season – has just an .894 save percentage over his last nine starts (including a four-pack of four-goal games), although he's still gone 7-2 in that span. Dubs also has a spotty history against the Stars, having gone just 5-7-2 with a .904 save mark against them through 14 career outings, though he did shut 'em out back in late October. It's likely that a lot of fantasy owners will look to avoid matching up against a guy who's been so great on the whole this season, so this could be an opportunity to get some under-owned Stars stars in your lineups.
Sharks (PP: 23, PK: 13) at Jets (PP: 16, PK: 27), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Aaron Dell (5-2-0, 1.84, .933), Connor Hellebuyck (16-13-1, 2.82, .907)
Key Injuries:Dylan DeMelo (wrist), Tomas Hertl (knee), Ben Chiarot (illness), Marko Dano (lower body), Patrik Laine (concussion), Tyler Myers (lower body), Drew Stafford (lower leg)
This has the feel of a high-scoring game in the making. Dell has played over his head and is surely due for regression; Hellebuyck has just not been very good in general, having posted sub-.600 (yes) save percentages in his last two outings and a composite .881 mark to go with a 3.84 GAA over his last seven games. He's spent five straight on the bench, and it still hasn't been confirmed that the 23-year-old will indeed get this start, but Ondrej Pavelec just started Monday in the front end of back-to-backs and Michael Hutchinson has been quite terrible as well. Actually, both of these teams are playing their second game in as many nights, which could mean things get a bit sloppy. Don't bank on another four-goal period (or game) from Patrick Marleau, but he certainly regained a significant degree of fantasy appeal Monday.
Red Wings (PP: 30, PK: 18) at Bruins (PP: 20, PK: 2), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Jared Coreau (5-1-2, 2.79, .904), Tuukka Rask (22-12-4, 2.11, .920)
Key Injuries:Colin Miller (lower body), Kevan Miller (concussion), Tuukka Rask (head), Johan Franzen (concussion), Jimmy Howard (knee), Dylan Larkin (upper body), Steve Ott (shoulder), Brendan Smith (knee), Thomas Vanek (lower body), Joe Vitale (concussion)
Mike Green's return from injury was supposed to boost the Wings' league-worst power play, but he's managed just two man-advantage points in seven games since coming back. Detroit's man-advantage unit has been particularly horrendous on the road – 4-for-69, yikes.
Kings (PP: 22, PK: 14) at Devils (PP: 28, PK: 12), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Peter Budaj (20-14-4, 2.14, .916), Cory Schneider (14-14-7, 2.69, .910)
Key Injuries:Nic Dowd (lower body), Jonathan Quick (groin), Tyler Toffoli (lower body), Yohann Auvitu (lower body), Beau Bennett (lower body), Andy Greene (upper body), John Moore (concussion)
The Kings have dropped four straight and are on the back end of games on consecutive days, so this is a real opportunity for Schneider to continue getting right after struggling through a big chunk of the season. He's got a 1.96 GAA and .938 save mark over his last five outings and should be fresh after missing a couple games to an illness.
Blue Jackets (PP: 1, PK: 7) at Islanders (PP: 27, PK: 19), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Sergei Bobrovsky (28-7-2, 1.97, .932), Thomas Greiss (12-7-3, 2.32, .928)
Key Injuries:David Clarkson (back), Markus Nutivaara (undisclosed), David Savard (undisclosed), Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), Travis Hamonic (knee), Andrew Ladd (undisclosed)
The Isles are expected to get Ladd back Tuesday, but he hasn't been adding much on either side of the puck. However, John Tavares has been surging with eight goals and an assist as well as 30 shots over his last six games, making him an appealing play once more – even against one of the NHL's best tenders in Bobrovsky standing in his way.
Flames (PP: 14, PK: 17) at Canadiens (PP: 5, PK: 23), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Chad Johnson (16-11-1, 2.41, .917), Carey Price (21-9-5, 2.36, .920)
Key Injuries:David Desharnais (knee), Alex Galchenyuk (knee), Brendan Gallagher (hand), Andrei Markov (lower body), Greg Pateryn (ankle)
Pricei s looking to pull out of what's now a month-long tailspin in which he ha sa 3-5-3 record, 3.42 GAA and .887 save percentage. His history against the Flames isn't a good one – 3-5-0 with a .901 save mark – so this might not be the game in which that occurs. With Calgary enjoying far better health than Montreal right now, we could see an upset here.
Capitals (PP: 13, PK: 3) at Senators (PP: 17, PK: 15), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Philipp Grubauer (9-1-2, 2.05, .925), Mike Condon (13-7-4, 2.52, .914)
Key Injuries:Craig Anderson (personal), Mark Borowiecki (illness), Andrew Hammond (ankle), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), John Carlson (lower body)
Braden Holtby grabbed a win Monday, so Grubauer and his single regulation loss will take the net for this one. Meanwhile, the wheels have occasionally been coming off for Condon, who just gave up seven goals to the Jackets on Sunday, but he also showed well against Washington twice in a row to open this month (though he lost both times). I'm feeling a reversal of fortune for the Senators in this one, as the Caps are playing their third game in four days.
Sabres (PP: 5, PK: 30) at Predators (PP: 18, PK: 10), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Robin Lehner (11-12-5, 2.52, .921), Pekka Rinne (18-12-6, 2.34, .921)
Key Injuries:Josh Gorges (hip), Dmitry Kulikov (back), Johan Larsson (wrist), Jake McCabe (shoulder), Petter Granberg (undisclosed), Roman Josi (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body), Colin Wilson (undisclosed)
Nashville's had the league's worst power play in January – just two goals in 32 tries – so this is one of those stoppable-force-meets-movable-object situations. However, Rinne's been hot, and in three – yes, for some reason only three – career games against the Sabres, he's allowed just one goal on 96 shots, for whatever that's worth. (He hasn't faced them this year.)
Lightning (PP: 4, PK: 21) at Blackhawks (PP: 15, PK: 28), 8:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Ben Bishop (11-11-3, 2.78, .905), Corey Crawford (18-10-3, 2.52, .919)
Key Injuries:Marcus Kruger (upper body), J.T. Brown (face), Ryan Callahan (hip), Jason Garrison (illness), Brayden Point (upper body), Steven Stamkos (knee)
The Bolts have an illness going around the locker room and are in tough against Chicago here; hard to feel optimistic about their odds of coming away with a road win over the red-hot Blackhawks. Bishop was yanked his last time out, but with Andrei Vasilevskiy having a tough year himself, it's hard to imagine coach Jon Cooper turning to his backup goalie for this one.
Andre Burakovsky, LW, WAS – Let's start with the reason Burakovsky is showing up as a major blip on the radar lately: a six-game point streak in which he has four goals and 10 points. Baller. Let's continue with a reason to temper your expectations: He's averaged just 12:25 of ice time in that span, including getting just 9:18 on Saturday before popping back up to 12:23 on Monday. That's actually a full one-minute dip from his season average, so it's stunning to see the young Russian streaking this way. Of course, he doesn't lack for talent, so if you're picking him up, you're speculating that something will happen – whether it's Burakovsky forcing his way into a bigger role or an injury opening space – that creates more opportunities for him to flourish.