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Weekly Primer

Hughes facing McDavid, Kessel's milestone highlight week in NHL

Meeting of No. 1 draft picks, Western Conference showdown among can't-miss events

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, will play against Connor McDavid for the first time in the NHL. But there are more stories to watch this week. Here are the top five along with fantasy can't-miss players. 


1. Hughes plays McDavid for first time

Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, will play against Connor McDavid, chosen No. 1 in the 2015 NHL Draft, when the New Jersey Devils face the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, SNW, NHL.TV).

Hughes, an 18-year-old-center, is without a point and minus-3 after his first two NHL games, with the Devils losing to the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres.

McDavid is a two-time Hart Trophy finalist who won the award voted as NHL most valuable player in 2016-17. The Oilers captain has five points (two goals, three assists) in helping the Oilers win their first two games under new coach Dave Tippett after setting an NHL career-high with 116 points (41 goals, 75 assists) in 78 games last season.

Video: VAN@EDM: McDavid uses speed to put Oilers on top


2. Hughes national TV debut highlights doubleheader

Hughes will play before a national television audience for the first time in his NHL career when the Devils visit the Philadelphia Flyers in the Wednesday Night Hockey game at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS).

Devils forward Wayne Simmonds plays his first game in Philadelphia since the Flyers traded him to the Nashville Predators on Feb. 25. He had 378 points (203 goals, 175 assists) in 584 games in eight seasons with the Flyers, who play their home opener after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 at the 2019 NHL Global Series in Prague, Czech Republic, on Oct. 4.

The Los Angeles Kings (0-1-0) visit the Vancouver Canucks (0-2-0) in the second game of the doubleheader (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNP). Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, the 19-year-old brother of Jack Hughes and the No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has one assist and is minus-2 in his first two games this season.


3. Islanders visit Hurricanes in playoff rematch

The New York Islanders play their first road game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-CR, MSG+, NHL.TV). It's also the first time the teams face off since the Hurricanes swept the Islanders in the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

New York (1-1-0) split its first two games against the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Coliseum. Carolina, looking to build off a season when it advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, is 3-0-0, rallying in the third period before winning in overtime or shootout in each.

4. Millennium milestone for Kessel

Phil Kessel is expected to play his 1,000th NHL game when the Arizona Coyotes face the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV). The 32-year-old forward won consecutive Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and '17 and was traded to Arizona on June 29. 

Chosen by the Boston Bruins with the No. 5 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Kessel has 824 points (357 goals, 467 assists) with the Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Penguins and Coyotes.

Video: ARI@ANA: Stepan one-times Kessel's feed


5. Western showdown

Two of the projected top teams in the Western Conference face off when the Calgary Flames visit the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; SN1, NBCSCA, NHL.TV).

The Flames are 1-1-0 after leading the West with 107 points last season and seek redemption from losing the Western Conference First Round to the Avalanche in five games. The Sharks begin the week 0-3-0 and play their second home game following a 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday.


Fantasy can't-miss picks

Cody Glass, C, VGK -- The Golden Knights rookie scored a goal in his NHL debut playing on a potent line with wings Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. If that lineup placement continues, Glass could return immense value with Vegas tied for the most games (four) this week. -- Pete Jensen

Jake DeBrusk, BOS -- The Bruins wing has sneaky fantasy appeal with three games this week. He scored an NHL career-high 27 goals last season and brings first power-play exposure to forwards Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and defenseman Torey Krug. -- Rob Reese

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