Here are some plays to consider for tonight’s slate:
CENTERWhenever the Avalanche are playing, Nathan MacKinnon is a top choice. He is coming off one of his worst fantasy performances of the season after recording just three shots for 4.8 fantasy points the other night against the Blues. That being said, MacKinnon is still averaging 22.7 fantasy points per game and skates on one of the best lines in hockey. He and the Avs will take on a Red Wings team that played last night in Boston, so it’s likely they’ll get Jonathan Bernier in net instead of Jimmy Howard. There are several teams with even more favorable matchups, including the Flames against the Blackhawks and the Sharks and Canadiens against each other. Starting with the Sharks and Habs, neither team has gotten consistent goaltending, especially since Carey Price is unlikely to start tonight after defeating the Rangers last night. Antti Niemi has given up at least three goals in every appearance this season, surrendering a total of 26 in seven games. That leaves the door open for Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture; both are more than capable of putting the puck in the net, though Pavelski has been a little more consistent in recent games. Pavelski skates on the team’s first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 14.5 fantasy points per game, while Couture plays on the second line and first power-play unit and is averaging 13.9. Both had success against Montreal last season and both have the capability of putting together a strong fantasy performance. As for Calgary, they will take on Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks, who continue to give up between 3-5 goals in most games. That puts Sean Monahan, who has a goal in two out of his last three games and points in four out of his last seven, in a good spot. He hasn’t been overly productive but does draw a strong matchup, and he scored three goals and five points in three games against Chicago last season. Mikael Backlund has been producing lately, however, picking up points in three straight games with two goals and five points as well as eight shots and two blocks in that time. He skates on Calgary’s second line and second power-play unit. Also consider: Anze Kopitar ($6,700), Max Domi ($6,600), Sebastian Aho ($6,200), Jordan Staal ($4,900), Carl Soderberg ($4,300), Artem Anisimov ($4,200), Mark Jankowski ($3,200)
WINGERJohnny Gaudreau and the Flames have a juicy matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks, who can’t help but give up multiple goals a game. Gaudreau skates on the Flames’ top line and top power-play unit and is averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game this season. He has goals in back-to-back games, points in three straight games and points in six out of his last seven games, scoring four goals and 10 points in that stretch. Gaudreau managed two goals and six points in three games against the Blackhawks last season. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog are also on the board, as usual. The Colorado wingers are having excellent seasons along with Nathan MacKinnon and are always strong options when the Avs are on the slate. Rantanen scored a goal the other night and leads the league in points with 43 in 26 games; he is averaging 20 fantasy points per game and has points in seven straight games and in nine out of his last 10 games, collecting six goals and 19 points in that span. Landeskog has been less productive but also saves you $1300; he’s averaging 16.9 fantasy points per game this season and has four goals and 10 points in his last 10 games. Artturi Lehkonen has points in back-to-back games and is coming off a two-goal performance, and Andrei Svechnikov remains a strong value option for Carolina given his consistent shot volume; he skates on the Hurricanes’ top power-play unit and scored a goal in his most recent game. Other options are listed below. Also consider: Matthew Tkachuk ($6,500), Elias Lindholm ($6,400), Brendan Gallagher ($6,200), Dustin Brown ($6,100), Tomas Tatar ($5,900), Timo Meier ($5,900)–DTD, Gustav Nyquist ($5,200), Paul Byron ($4,700), Kevin Labanc ($4,400), Artturi Lehkonen ($4,100), Andrei Svechnikov ($3,600)
DEFENSEShea Weber scored two goals last night in just his second game of the season, earning 32 fantasy points in a 5-2 win against the Rangers. He skates on Montreal’s top power-play unit and always provides high upside with strong peripheral stat coverage as well as an ability to find the scoresheet. The Canadiens have a favorable matchup once again tonight as they take on the visiting San Jose Sharks. Weber has two goals and an assist as well as eight shots and two blocks in just two games this season, averaging 24 fantasy points per game. Mike Green has points in four straight games, scoring one goal and five points in that time. He skates on Detroit’s top power-play unit and has earned 11.2, 22.4, 16.8, 12.8, 9.6, 1.6, 14.4, 12.8 and 31.7 fantasy points in his last nine games, respectively. With Tyson Barrie likely to miss his third straight game, Samuel Girard remains a strong play on Colorado’s blue line. He skates on the team’s top power-play unit and has recorded 8, 18.4 and 19.7 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively. Girard has had solid ownership in recent games, and assuming Barrie is out again tonight, he should be a popular cash option once again. Also consider: Brent Burns ($7,200), Erik Karlsson ($6,800), Mark Giordano ($5,900), Noah Hanifin ($4,000), T.J. Brodie ($3,900)
GOALIEThe only goalies confirmed at this time are Martin Jones, who also started yesterday for San Jose, as well as Corey Crawford and Mike Smith. These are not strong options (though Smith is a possibility since Calgary is favored for the win), as all three have given up plenty of goals this year. In the end, it may make sense to go with either Jonathan Quick or Curtis McElhinney, assuming they are the starters for their respective clubs, since the other games are more likely to be high-scoring. Otherwise perhaps Semyon Varlamov/Philipp Grubauer would make the most sense. Either way, goalies will be discussed later in chat once additional confirmations have been made.
Join me in the FTA+ NHL discord chat to further discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.Featured image credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports Fantasy Hockey