This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
It's a crowded eight-game slate for Monday, and this will be the norm going forward as the NHL attempts to catch up following a long COVID-related break for multiple teams. Here's the rundown on some key matchups:
Lightning at Hurricanes (7 p.m. EST): It's a bit curious that the Lightning (-134) are the favorites, though the stage is set for a revenge game after losing 4-0 previously. The Canes are humming, even without Teuvo Teravainen, and edge the Lightning in both GF/GP and Shots/GP. This is just one of two games with an O/U of 6.5, but note their past four meetings have averaged just 3.5 goals per game.
Flames at Maple Leafs (7 p.m.): Auston Matthews continues to terrorize the league, and the interesting storyline is how the Flames will respond after losing 7-1 to the Oilers. The Flames have lost four of their past five and have allowed four or more goals in seven of 18 games.
Wild at Sharks (10:30 p.m.): The Wild are getting healthy and may finally get a chance to dress their full roster, depending on Marcus Johansson's status after missing Saturday's game. Kevin Fiala has three goals in two games and Mats Zuccarello already has his first point. The Sharks are allowing 3.56 GA/GP, second-worst in the league, and note the O/U is 5.5, as per FanDuel Sportsbook.
All fancy stats courtesy Natural Stat Trick.
Semyon Varlamov, NYI vs. BUF ($8,100): The Sabres snapped a losing streak on Saturday but scoring goals might still be an issue. The Islanders are deep, and a thin Sabres defense will be without Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen, which was essentially their top pairing all season. Varlamov is 10-2-1 with a .932 Sv% in his career against the Sabres. As awful as his offensive production has been, the Sabres will also be less talented up front with Jeff Skinner expected to sit as a healthy scratch.
Darcy Kuemper, ARI vs. ANH ($8,000): The Ducks are in flux and their offensive woes won't be solved overnight. That's good news for Kuemper, who has allowed two goals or fewer in three of his past five games and the Ducks have scored three goals or more just four times this season.
Chris Driedger, FLA vs. DAL ($7,800): I think this is a value play for Driedger because I'm pretty convinced the Panthers are good, and much less so with the Stars. It's been a tough stretch for the Stars, who have lost five straight and rank 30th in goals scored at 5v5. Keep the Stars off the power play, and you should be golden.
Joel Eriksson Ek, MIN at SJ ($4,800): Normally, I wouldn't recommend a defense-first center, but Eriksson Ek showed good chemistry with Kevin Fiala, scoring a goal in his last game. He plays a lot of minutes in all situations, and even managed to get some rare power-play time.
Alexander Wennberg, FLA vs. DAL ($4,400): He's on a three-game point streak mostly thanks to Jonathan Huberdeau's play. The thinking is that the Stars' goaltending, which has been below average lately, won't be able to keep the Panthers off the board.
Jordan Kyrou, STL vs. LA ($4,300): He got bumped up to the top line and responded with three points against San Jose. Kyrou's seven goals and 17 points trails only Brayden Schenn and David Perron, respectively, on the team.
Gabriel Vilardi, LA at STL ($3,300): Vilardi has a chance to extend his point streak to four games against a team that just allowed five goals against the Sharks. The offense comes and goes with Vilardi, but he's been a staple in the top six and the Kings offense has some pop, ranking sixth in GF/GP over the past two weeks.
Trevor Zegras, ANH at ARI ($3,000): Zegras is a highly-touted playmaker who is expected to make his debut, though it's unknown how head coach Dallas Eakins will utilize him. Make no mistake, however, that the most recent World Juniors MVP will be used in an offensive situation, perhaps on the power play, as the Ducks try to find ways to improve their league-worst offense.
Maple Leafs vs. Flames
Matthews is having an MVP-caliber season and worth the price of admission alone. The Flames have been very poor on defense and in net, having just allowed seven goals against the Oilers. This is going to be an even tougher test.
Avalanche vs. Golden Knights
This line doesn't trail the Leafs' top line by much, but Burakovsky is the most worrying member of this line, having gone five games without a point. MacKinnon, on the other hand, has four points in three games against Vegas this season.
Kings at Blues
The Blues PK remains terrible at 74.2 percent, 24th in the league, and with the Kings' veterans having very productive seasons so far, it makes for a logical line stack. All three forwards play on the Kings' top power-play unit as well. Drew Doughty's strong play also helps this line's production as well.
Cale Makar, COL vs. VGK ($6,000): He was excellent in the game at Lake Tahoe on Saturday, and he has the chance to outproduce everyone higher on the list than him. He's just one of three defenseman who are scoring at a point per game pace among those who have played at least 10 games.
Aaron Ekblad, FLA vs. DAL ($5,400): He's been very good this season and despite getting shutout against Detroit in his last game, finished with five shots. Keith Yandle is the better play for power-play points, but Ekblad is more consistent overall and tends to fill more categories than Yandle.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI vs. ANH ($4,700): He's valuable because head coach Rick Tocchet's preferred quarterback over Jakob Chychrun, and scored two assists on the power play against the Kings. The Coyotes captain has six points in seven games.
Colin Miller, BUF at NYI ($3,500): I'm not sure how well he'll fare, but look for Miller to get increased minutes with McCabe perhaps out for the season. The hard-shooting rearguard scored a goal against New Jersey and ranks second in overall ice time and on the power play, trailing only Rasmus Dahlin. His low salary but increased playing time makes him a viable value play.