This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.
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It's a four-game slate in the National Hockey League on Wednesday, but there are several Stanley Cup contenders taking the ice. We're headed down the stretch, and this is the penultimate hump day for the 2016-17 regular season. However, even with just eight teams on the schedule there are plenty of outstanding fantasy options to make it a very exciting and profitable night.
Blackhawks (PP: 17, PK: 26) at Penguins (PP: 5, PK: 19), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Corey Crawford (30-16-3, 2.56, .918), Matt Murray (28-10-4, 2.40, .923)
Key Injuries:Artem Anisimov (lower body), Matt Cullen (illness), Trevor Daley (knee), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Carl Hagelin (lower body), Ron Hainsey (upper body), Kris Letang (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Evgeni Malkin (upper body), Chad Ruhwedel (upper body), Tom Sestito (upper body), Conor Sheary (lower body)
It's a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview in the Steel City, as both teams are playing well lately and appear to be championship caliber. Chicago is 6-0 in their past six against teams with a winning overall record, and they're 11-3 in their past 14 on the road. The Penguins are 10-2 in their past 12 home games against a team with a road winning percentage over .600. Something's gotta give. Patrick Kane has stepped up with 19 goals and 14 assists over his past 24 outings, and he posted a hat trick in the first meeting with Pittsburgh earlier in March. If the Pens get into a high-scoring battle with the Hawks they'll need all hands on deck. Conor Sheary practiced Tuesday and appears to be in line to play. He has posted four goals with 11 assists and a plus-8 rating in 13 games this month. Phil Kessel leads the Penguins with 28 power-play points, but he has just one assist on the man advantage over the past 12 outings.
Kings (PP: 15, PK: 6) at Flames (PP: 10, PK: 14), 9:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Ben Bishop (16-12-3, 2.55, .911), Brian Elliott (25-14-3, 2.47, .911)
Key Injuries:Ladislav Smid (neck), Matt Greene (undisclosed), Nick Shore (upper body)
The Kings picked a poor time for a power outage. With seven games left in the season they're 11 points back of the Blues for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. When, not if, they miss the playoffs the finger of blame points at the offense. They are averaging just 1.6 goals per game over the past eight outings, including a 5-2 setback at Calgary on March 19. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each posted a goal, two assists and a plus-3 rating in that victory at the Saddledome, while Brian Elliott turned aside 19 of the 21 shots he faced for the victory. Tanner Pearson has been a surprise with 23 goals and 42 points this season, but he has hit a wall with just one goal and one assist over his past 11 outings.
Blues (PP: 7, PK: 5) at Coyotes (PP: 27, PK: 24), 10:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Jake Allen (30-19-4, 2.42, .914), Mike Smith (18-25-8, 2.96, .913)
Key Injuries:Dave Bolland (back), Kevin Connauton (upper body), Shane Doan (lower body), Brad Richardson (leg), Robby Fabbri (knee), Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body), Jori Lehtera (concussion), Paul Stastny (lower body)
The Blues are red hot and appear primed for a deep run into the playoffs. St. Louis hasn't lost in regulation against Arizona since April 6, 2012, and the Blues have picked up points in 14 straight against the Coyotes while going 13-0-1. That's great news for Jake Allen, who should dominate. He is 7-0-0 in his career against Arizona. The Coyotes rank 29th in goal differential, but they're hoping the No. 7 pick in the 2016 draft, Clayton Keller, can make a difference. He makes his NHL debut Wednesday after losing in the NCAA West Regional Final against Minnesota-Duluth last Saturday. Arizona rookies Anthony DeAngelo and Jakob Chychrun are the only rookie duo in the NHL with at least five goals each. In the first end of the home-and-home, Alexander Steen exploded for four assists and a plus-4 rating, while linemate Jaden Schwartz was good for two goals, an assist and a plus-4.
Capitals (PP: 3, PK: 7) at Avalanche (PP: 30, PK: 28), 10:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies:Philipp Grubauer (10-6-2, 2.10, .925), Calvin Pickard (13-27-2, 2.91, .907)
Key Injuries:Semyon Varlamov (groin), Nikita Zadorov (ankle)
Talk about a mismatch. The Capitals are in the hunt for the President's Trophy, thanks in large part to their NHL-best plus-76 goal differential. The Avalanche are on the opposite end of the spectrum, worst in goal differential at minus-106. As such, the Capitals are one of the biggest favorites of the season despite the fact this one is in Denver. T.J. Oshie has posted six goals over the past five outings, including the game-winning tally in overtime Tuesday. Braden Holtby is likely to rest after earning his 40th win in that OT outing, and he has reached 40 victories in each of his past three campaigns. If he doesn't start, Philipp Grubauer isn't much of a downgrade. The understudy is 10-6-2 with a 2.10 GAA and .925 save percentage.
Sven Andrighetto, RW, COL – The Avalanche newcomer has been a find since coming over in a deadline deal with the Canadiens, emerging as a DFS sleeper with two goals in Calgary on Monday night. He also has nine points in 12 games in March. Andrighetto has been logging time on the power play, and he's an even better fantasy play in formats that don't penalize plus-minus.