This article was written exclusively for by Rich Miller.

The NHL schedule is only offering five games to choose from Monday, with three of the five being afternoon contests. It’s a shortened slate, but it does offer several great matchups – Florida, Tampa, and Columbus (on Columbus Day) are all in favorable spots against lesser opponents.

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Roberto Luongo: He should get the start again for the Panthers Monday after turning away 38 of the Flyers 39 shots in their season opener Saturday night. It likely won’t be as easy in the rematch – the Panthers were up 4-0 within the first seven minutes Saturday, but there should be plenty of confidence in Luongo getting the win here as the Flyers are hot garbage on both offense and defense. Also, Bobby Lu is 4-1 with a 1.77 GAA in his last five against Philly.

Ben Bishop: If you can choose from the early slate, consider giving Bishop a look in a favorable spot. Again, this isn’t as much about Bishop (though he has looked solid) as it is about the ineptitude of the offense he’s facing. Looking across the ice at Tukka Rask means a win may not be as likely, but the Bruins clearly are lacking in talent up front while a lack of turnover on the Lightning roster has their offense looking to be in midseason form.

Sergei Bobrovsky: Columbus is a better team than they’ve shown so far, and Bobrovsky was 2-0 with a 1.50 GAA against Buffalo last season. He’ll likely square off against Buffalo backup Chad Johnson, who is filling in for the injured Robin Lehner.


Steven Stamkos: The Bruins are a mess and Stamkos scored 43 goals last season. He notched his first goal Saturday night, and as stated above, the Lightning offense is clicking. It just makes sense.

Ryan Getzlaf: Like Stamkos he won’t be cheap, but with a shortened slate, you have to take the good matchups when they present themselves. Vancouver is playing way over their heads in the early going, and Getzlaf has 35 points in 38 career games against the Canucks.

Ryan Johansen: The Sabres are clearly trying to take a defensive approach to the season, but that shouldn’t stop Johansen and a Blue Jacket team who is looking for their first win. Columbus has tallied only four goals in the early going, but Johnansen was involved with two of them and is leading the team with nine shots.

Alexsander Barkov: He had a field day feeding Jaromir Jagr Saturday night, expect more of the same in this one.


Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd: The Islanders aren’t clicking yet, but these two have come out on fire for the Jets.  Ladd should be significantly cheaper in all formats and makes for a good tournament play. Add in Nikolaj Ehlers for a good sleeper pick.

Jaromir Jagr: He just torments his old teams. He notched two goals Saturday night against the Flyers and should be counted on here to deliver another strong performance.

Johnathan Drouin: He’s seizing the opportunity this season after being promoted to the top-line with Stamkos and Ryan Callahan. He’s also seeing time on the second power play unit. He’s a solid play in all formats and should still be very affordable.


Victor Hedman: Top defenseman in one of the best spots.

Dustin Byfuglien: Big Buff hasn’t quite got rolling jet, but the ideal ice time is still there and so are the shots.

Aaron Ekblad: Hard to tell if Florida’s power play is that good, or if Philadelphia is really that bad, but as with the other Panthers already listed, expect another solid outing from Ekbald.

Ryan Murray: Murray is one of the most undervalued defensemen on the board on all major sites right now. He’s averaging over 20-minutes per game so far, including a spot on the top power play unit. Against the Sabres, Murray is a great play.


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