Mike Smith, CGY at NJ ($7,700) – Smith is having his best season in six years and the Flames have the fewest losses on the road in the Western Conference with five. Cory Schneider is out with a groin injury and top scorer Taylor Hall, who has a concussion history, took multiple knees to the head from Alex Burrows on Tuesday. The best part? Smith is nearly unbeatable on the road this season with a 1.84 GAA and .948 save percentage, both of which are NHL bests among starters.
Mathew Barzal, NYI at BUF ($6,400) – The Sabres defense has been a disaster because they can’t keep up with anyone, so they’re in for a tough night against one of the fastest young players in the league. Barzal has two assists in his past four games and will likely go head-to-head against Jack Eichel. A matchup between Barzal and Eichel would essentially turn into shinny since neither player is known for their defense, and even though the Islanders have allowed more goals (197) than the Sabres (175) this season, the Islanders’ offense is fourth in the league in goals scored.
Alex Kerfoot, COL at STL ($3,800) – Playing Kerfoot on the top line hasn’t produced results — he hasn’t recorded a point and has a minus-3 rating and just one shot on goal during Nathan MacKinnon’s absence — but Jake Allen will be his easiest test yet. The Blues netminder is 10-7-0 with a .907 save percentage at home, which means if linemates Gabriel Landeskog and Scott Wilson can create some room, Kerfoot will have a little more space and time to showcase his offensive skill.
Johnny Gaudreau, CGY at NJ ($7,200) – Gaudreau’s riding a three-game point streak and has generally been dominant on the road this season with 30 points in 24 games. The diminutive playmaker has 15 apples in his past 14 games, and they weren’t easy opponents either with Chicago, Tampa and L.A. He’s never scored against New Jersey but has eight assists in seven games against them.
Viktor Arvidsson, NSH at OTT ($6,700) – He’s picked up the slack in Filip Forsberg’s absence with four goals in his past six games. The Predators offense is one of the league’s deepest, but Arvidsson stands out because he’s a high-volume shooter. He’s put nine shots on goal over his past two games, and the Senators have allowed the third-most goals in the NHL. Craig Anderson is 4-8-4 in 19 career games against the Preds with a 3.17 GAA and .895 save percentage.
Tyson Jost, COL at STL ($3,200) – Jost has not been part of the Calder Trophy conversation this year, but the first-round pick comes highly regarded. He’s playing with Nail Yakupov and J.T. Compher on the third line, but it can be a very effective one with their speed and skill. Jared Bednar doesn’t mix up the lines too much, which will allow the trio to continue building some chemistry.
Victor Hedman, TB vs. VAN ($6,500) – The Lightning are returning home after a long four-game road trip that ended with a 6-2 loss on Monday, so home-ice advantage and some much-needed rest should help recharge their batteries. Hedman has two goals and seven points with a plus-10 rating in 11 career games against the Canucks.
Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI vs. MON ($5,800) – He’s on a three-game assist streak even though the Flyers are losing, so scoring isn’t the problem. The Habs, on the other hand, are struggling just about everywhere on the ice, including in net where Carey Price is having the worst season of his career with a .907 save percentage. The Canadiens’ penalty kill is ranked 23rd in the league and 29th on the road, which should give the Flyers’ pedestrian power play a boost.