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After a massive 13-game slate last night, tonight’s schedule is much more manageable with just six teams in play. The Columbus Blue Jackets are the only team skating in the second half of a back-to-back, though backup Joonas Korpisalo started last night in New York, which means Sergei Bobrovsky should get the nod.
OTT @ NYI – 7:00pm EST
TOR @ CBJ – 7:00pm EST
MTL @ FLA – 7:00pm EST
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: Despite the fact that the Bruins suffered a surprising 5-2 loss, last night’s main cash line was able to cash pretty easily. Patrice Bergeron eventually scored a goal for Boston, finishing the night with 21.6 fantasy points (though his linemates combined for just nine shots). Kevin Hayes extended his point streak to eight games with two assists and 18.1 FP, and Sebastian Aho scored a goal on three shots for 16.8 FP. It wasn’t a huge night for Aho, but he proved to be an effective cash play given his $6,400 price tag. Nikita Kucherov had four points with a goal and three assists, finishing the game with 46.1 FP. Steven Stamkos also collected four points for 47.4 FP, and Brayden Point earned 22.1 FP with a power-play goal and an assist. Alex Ovechkin had a pretty quiet night, as the Capitals-Hurricanes game was uncharacteristically low-scoring; he tallied a power-play assist and took home 14.9 FP. Andrei Svechnikov had a disappointing game, recording just one shot for 1.6 FP, though Brandon Pirri came through yet again with his fourth goal and fifth point in four games this season, earning 18.4 FP. Fortunately, both value defensemen found the scoresheet. Darnell Nurse tallied a power-play assist as well as three shots and a block for 14.9 FP, while Jakob Chychrun had a great night, scoring a power-play goal and adding two shots and three blocks for 20.5 FP. Jaroslav Halak had a rough game, giving up four goals and earning just 6.4 FP; however, he was the chalk goalie of the night, which softened the blow of his poor outing.
With Antti Niemi projected to start for Montreal, I am playing multiple Panthers on tonight’s slate, which means Aleksander Barkov ($7,400) is on my radar. Though I much prefer Florida’s wingers, Barkov is reasonably-priced and should be able to do some damage against a goalie that has given up at least three goals in every game this season. Barkov is not having a great year, especially by his standards, though he’s been more productive in recent games. In fact, he has points in back-to-back games (three assists) and in four out of his last five games (four goals, eight points). Barkov skates on the Panthers’ first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 15.8 fantasy points per game.
That being said, the Toronto centers will be the chalk on tonight’s slate. With only three games, Toronto will have high ownership across the board, but that’s especially true for Auston Matthews ($8,500) and John Tavares ($8,000). The Maple Leafs were limited offensively the last time they were in Columbus, though Matthews had not yet returned to the lineup at the time. Sergei Bobrovsky has been much better of late, and there’s certainly a chance he’ll keep Toronto’s offense in check. But considering FanDuel cash contests sometimes make chalk a necessity, it’s not a bad idea to use at least one Toronto center in your cash line to be safe. I generally prefer Tavares these days, though Matthews has higher ownership and tends to have a higher ceiling.
The Islanders centers in Mathew Barzal ($5,700) and Brock Nelson ($5,200) have been decent of late, and with Craig Anderson out of the lineup for Ottawa, there’s a better chance they’ll get on the board. That being said, Mike McKenna has been surprisingly strong this season, and the Islanders are not a dependable offensive team, which makes them risky mid-range options.
Jayce Hawryluk ($3,200) scored the first two goals of his NHL career before the holiday break, though it’s unclear if he’ll be in the lineup for Florida tonight.
Also consider: Matt Duchene ($6,500), Pierre-Luc DuBois ($5,600), Boone Jenner ($4,300), Henrik Borgstrom ($3,300)
As mentioned above, if Niemi is in net for Montreal, Florida is an attractive cash play, and the wingers have been especially reliable this season. That includes Jonathan Huberdeau ($7,100), Evgenii Dadonov ($6,300) and Mike Hoffman ($6,200). Huberdeau is averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game and skates on the team’s top line and top power-play unit; he hasn’t been nearly as reliable in recent games but is capable of putting up multiple points, something he has done in 11 out of his last 15 games. Dadonov is back on the top line and has points in three out of his last five games. He is averaging 15.7 fantasy points per game thanks to 17 goals and 34 points in 35 games this season. Hoffman was one of the best DFS players for much of the season but has since cooled off; that being said, he remains a threat and offers exposure to the second line and first power-play unit. He is averaging 15.6 fantasy points per game and has goals in back-to-back games.
In addition to the Florida wingers, Cam Atkinson ($7,400) continues to be a solid cash play. He has points in four straight games, recording four goals and five points in that stretch, and he has two goals and three points in two games against Toronto this season. Linemate Artemi Panarin ($7,800) enters tonight’s game on a three-game point streak during which he has collected two goals and six points; he picked up an assist in both games against Toronto earlier this year but has been more productive in recent contests.
On the other side of that matchup, Mitch Marner ($7,900) is coming off a disappointing game but had been red-hot for the Leafs for a while, scoring six goals and nine points in his previous four games. He was held off the scoresheet when these teams met in Columbus earlier this year, though the matchup will be quite different tonight with Matthews in the lineup. Marner skates on Tavares’ line and on the team’s top power-play unit; he is averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game. Kasperi Kapanen ($4,500) recorded a point in both games against Columbus earlier this year; he now skates with Matthews and William Nylander ($4,800), who has been moved up to Toronto’s second line. Andreas Johnsson ($3,800) skates on the top line and has four points in his last two games.
One value player that’s worth a look is Columbus’ Oliver Bjorkstrand ($3,700), who is very affordable and has goals in back-to-back games, scoring two goals and three points on four shots while recording three blocks in his last two games. He skates on the Blue Jackets’ third line and second power-play unit.
Joshua Ho-Sang ($3,000) has been moved up to the Islanders’ top six, which makes him an interesting value option.
Also consider: Mark Stone ($6,800), Anthony Beauvillier ($4,900), Artturi Lehkonen ($4,600), Brady Tkachuk ($4,500), Andrew Shaw ($4,000)–DTD, Frank Vatrano ($3,900)
Morgan Rielly ($6,700) will be a popular cash play once again, and for good reason. He has points in five straight games entering tonight’s game, recording three goals and 11 points in that stretch. He skates on Toronto’s first power-play unit and is averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game.
Zach Werenski ($4,800) was moved up to the Blue Jackets’ top power-play unit last night and scored a goal in Columbus’ 4-3 overtime win. However, Seth Jones ($5,800) is generally a stronger play considering he is more consistent when it comes to peripheral stat coverage.
Another player worth considering is Ryan Pulock ($4,400), who has earned 9.6, 11.2, 19.2, 24.5 and 11.2 fantasy points in his last five games, respectively. He skates on the Islanders’ second power-play unit.
Also consider: Shea Weber ($5,600), Jeff Petry ($4,600), Devon Toews ($3,500)
Sergei Bobrovsky ($8,700) is risky but has been strong at home, and Robin Lehner ($7,500) and Roberto Luongo ($7,700) have favorable matchups on home ice. However, goalies will have be discussed later in chat once confirmations have been announced.
Join me in the FTA+ discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.
Featured image credit: Jose Juarez-Associated Press