There are just four games on tonight’s slate as the NHL schedule continues its see-saw ride between small slates and massive ones. The Jets and Panthers are skating in the second half of back-to-back sets, and the Sabres, Red Wings and Penguins all play tomorrow as well.
BUF @ CAR – 7:30pm EST
DET @ WPG – 8:00pm EST
FLA @ CGY – 9:00pm EST
PIT @ ANA – 10:00pm EST
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: Well, one of my two locks on last night’s slate was sent down to the AHL and recalled in the same day, and the other continued his impressive hot streak. The first, of course, is Brandon Pirri, who ended up having another impressive performance with an assist and seven shots for 19.2 fantasy points. Ironically, Pirri had very high ownership since most people probably hadn’t heard he was sent down. The other lock was defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who scored a goal and an assist and recorded six shots and three blocks for 34.4 FP, which was sensational value for his $4,700 price tag. Somehow, his ownership remained low, but the guy is on fire. Fortunately, for those unable to swap Pirri in after lock, both replacement wingers at least found the scoresheet. Denis Malgin scored a goal and earned 15.2 FP, and Colton Sissons tallied an assist for 8 FP. The other alternative center/wing combination involved Ryan Johansen, who finished the night with 14.4 FP. All four recommended Capitals found the scoresheet (T.J. Oshie: 22.4 FP, Alex Ovechkin: 33.6 FP, Tom Wilson: 14.4 FP, Jakub Vrana: 16.8 FP), and Braden Holtby handed the Bruins yet another loss, making 39 saves and finishing the night with 35.2 FP. The safer Andrei Vasilevskiy also came away with a win, making 26 stops and earning 28.8 FP. San Jose’s third line had another strong game; Tomas Hertl scored a goal and an assist and added four shots and two blocks for 29.6 FP, while Joonas Donskoi scored a goal for 13.6. Evander Kane tallied an assist and five shots for 16 FP. Alexander Radulov had several great chances but did not factor into Jamie Benn’s goal for Dallas, ending the night with four shots for 6.4 FP. Brock Nelson was outperformed by Mathew Barzal but still managed a respectable 9.6 FP with three shots and three blocks; his was the right line to target as Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee had strong games, but Nelson was unable to capitalize on the scoresheet. However, someone who was able to fill the scoresheet was Connor McDavid, who scored two goals and an assist and came away with 38.4 FP. Nikita Kucherov had very high ownership despite it being a 12-game slate, and he actually had an underwhelming night for his price tag; however, he still came through with an assist, four shots and three blocks for 19.7 FP; linemate Brayden Point had another massive night, scoring two goals and an assist and earning 37.8 FP. Erik Karlsson‘s 14-game point streak came to an end, though Brent Burns had a strong game with an assist, six shots and two blocks for 20.8 FP. Devon Toews was pretty invisible against the Rangers, recording just one block for 1.6 FP; however, his $3,500 price tag gave the lineup more flexibility to accommodate players like McDavid ($8,900), Kucherov ($9,300) and Vasilevskiy ($9,400).
The GPP line posted in chat also cashed. It was a straight stack of TBL 2 and SJS 3 with Jakob Chychrun and Toews on defense and Jordan Binnington in net.
ELITE PLAYS: Mark Scheifele ($7,600), Sean Monahan ($8,000)
Mark Scheifele has points in three straight games, scoring two goals and five points in that stretch. He has been inconsistent over the last 10 or so games, as has Winnipeg’s offense, but he is always a strong bet that presents significant upside. He skates on the Jets’ top line and top power-play unit and has a favorable matchup against a Detroit team that gives up 3.31 goals per game. Scheifele, who averages 17.6 fantasy points per game, has been much better at home this season than on the road; specifically, he has 35 points in 23 home games compared to 18 in 19 road games.
Sean Monahan is coming off a very disappointing game in which he managed just 1.6 fantasy points, but he had 70 percent ownership in FanDuel cash contests and could be a popular play once again tonight. He may not be quite as popular, but Calgary’s top line will be a top target once again. Monahan had points in five straight games before Wednesday’s tilt against Colorado, scoring two goals and 11 points in that stretch. He also recorded 21 shots in those five games. Monahan skates on the first power-play unit and is averaging 17.1 fantasy points per game.
Also consider: Jack Eichel ($7,700)–DTD
MID-RANGE PLAYS: Dylan Larkin ($6,700), Mikael Backlund ($5,300)
Dylan Larkin has been held without a point in two out of his last four games, and a big part of that is Detroit’s inability to put together reasonable line combinations. However, Larkin has been relatively reliable throughout the season, netting 41 points in 45 games and averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game. That being said, he’s not quite the sure bet he was a few weeks ago now that Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha have solidified themselves on other lines.
Another option is Mikael Backlund, who is coming off a strong performance in which he and his linemates were responsible for three of Calgary’s goals. Backlund will be charged with covering Aleksander Barkov and Co., but the Panthers haven’t been playing sound defense, and Backlund should see plenty of ice time, especially if Barkov gets 24-25 minutes. Backlund also has 15 points in 19 home games this season, though he does not see time on the power play.
Also consider: Sebastian Aho ($6,300), Bryan Little ($4,700)
VALUE PLAY: Greg McKegg ($3,200)
Gregg McKegg is certainly a punt, but he happens to be skating with Carolina’s hottest scorer as well as Andrei Svechnikov, who is a superstar in the making. McKegg centers Carolina’s third line but does not see time on the power play. However, at that price, beggars can’t be choosers. The fact that he’s skating with Williams, who has goals in three straight and points in five straight, is definitely a plus, as is the fact that McKegg has scored a goal and an assist himself in two out of four games this season.
Also consider: Jared McCann ($4,100), Henrik Borgstrom ($3,600), Vladimir Sobotka ($3,200)
ELITE PLAYS: Johnny Gaudreau ($8,900), Jeff Skinner ($7,100)
Johnny Gaudreau had a relatively “quiet” night by his standards the other night against Colorado but still managed two assists and 19.7 fantasy points. Gaudreau skates on Calgary’s first line and first power-play unit and has points in six straight games and in nine out of his last 10 games, collecting 10 goals and 18 points in that stretch. Gaudreau is averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game this season.
Skinner has been waiting all season for tonight’s game as he returns to Carolina for the first time since getting traded in the offseason. Skinner spent eight seasons with the Hurricanes after being selected in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He has found great success in his first season with Buffalo, and there’s a good chance he’ll get Jack Eichel back on his line for tonight’s matchup. Skinner is averaging 16.2 fantasy points per game this season with 29 goals and 42 points in 43 games. He has three goals in his last three games and has recorded 13 shots in that stretch.
Also consider: Blake Wheeler ($8,100), Elias Lindholm ($,7,100)
MID-RANGE PLAYS: Bryan Rust ($5,200), Kyle Connor ($4,900), Andreas Athanasiou ($4,700), Justin Williams ($4,700)
Bryan Rust is coming off a two-goal game and could be heating up once again after a brief lull in his scoring streak. He skates on Pittsburgh’s first line and second power-play unit and has three points, seven shots and two blocks in his last two games, earning 34 and 14.4 fantasy points, respectively. Rust scored a goal on five shots for 21.6 fantasy points when these teams met in Pittsburgh in mid-December.
Kyle Connor is skating on Winnipeg’s top line and top power-play unit, offering exposure to the dynamic duo of Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. However, he has held his own, scoring two goals and an assist in his last three games. Connor and the Jets were somewhat stifled last night in Minnesota but have a much more favorable matchup tonight on home ice against the inconsistent Red Wings.
On the other side of that matchup will be Andreas Athanasiou, who is coming off a two-goal game and has goals in five out of his last six games (six goals). Athanasiou skates on Detroit’s third line and second power-play unit.
Justin Williams extended his point streak to five games with his third goal in three games last night against Tampa Bay. Williams skates on Carolina’s third line and first power-play unit and has earned 18.4, 16.8, 18.9, 16, 20.5 and 8 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively.
Also consider: Matthew Tkachuk ($6,800), Gustav Nyquist ($6,000)
VALUE PLAY: Daniel Sprong ($3,700)
Daniel Sprong is skating on Anaheim’s top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell and also sees time on the Ducks’ second power-play unit. But perhaps more significantly, he will have a chance to go up against his former team after getting traded earlier this season. Sprong tallied a power-play assist and four shots for 14.9 fantasy points when these teams met in mid-December.
Also consider: Ondrej Kase ($4,400), Michael Frolik ($3,900), Dominik Simon ($3,800), Tage Thompson ($3,700), Denis Malgin ($3,400), Jack Roslovic ($3,100)
ELITE PLAY: Mark Giordano ($6,400)
Mark Giordano will have plenty of ownership tonight, especially coming after his three-assist game the other night against the Avalanche in which he recorded 32.5 fantasy points. Giordano continues to be a top play and is worth the money on tonight’s slate. He may be averaging 16.5 fantasy points per game, but Giordano has elite upside and will be chalky in FanDuel cash contests.
Also consider: Kris Letang ($7,100), Rasmus Ristolainen ($5,200), Jacob Trouba ($5,100), Dougie Hamilton ($4,900)
VALUE PLAY: Marcus Pettersson ($3,500)
Marcus Pettersson continues to be one of my favorite value plays, though tonight will be a little extra special for him since he was acquired from Anaheim in the Daniel Sprong deal earlier this season. Pettersson won’t be a sneaky play, but he has points in four straight games and has earned 16, 9.6, 14.9 and 12.8 fantasy points in his last four games, respectively, which is solid production. He skates on Pittsburgh’s second power-play unit.
Also consider: Jaccob Slavin ($3,900), Lawrence Pilut ($3,500)
Goalies will be discussed in chat closer to lock once confirmations have been revealed.
For now, I am considering Matt Murray ($8,800) and David Rittich ($8,000) on FanDuel.
Join us in the FTA+ DFS NHL discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.
Featured image credit:Gregg Forwerck-NHLI via Getty Images