Tonight is the final slate before the NHL’s holiday break, and it’s a good size at just six games (eight games on the all-day slate). Since 28 teams played yesterday, most of the slate is skating in the second half of back-to-back sets; the only teams not playing in part two of a back-to-back are the Devils, Blackhawks and Islanders, with the Hawks and the Isles being the only two teams on the main slate.
FLA @ CHI – 7:00pm EST
PHI @ NYR – 7:00pm EST
DET @ TOR – 7:30pm EST
ARI @ SJS – 8:00pm EST
LAK @ VGK – 8:00pm EST
NYI @ DAL – 8:00pm EST
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: Centers: Well, it was another night in which Auston Matthews came up short (though his nearly 70% ownership helped soften the blow), but John Tavares managed two assists for 25.6 fantasy points. Steven Stamkos came through with two goals (one on the power play) as well as three shots and a block for 30.9 FP. Additionally, Mark Scheifele scored a goal and earned 16.8 FP and Jack Eichel tallied two assists and 24.5 FP. Wingers: Sam Reinhart and Bryan Rust found the scoresheet as well, earning 17.6 and 16 FP, respectively. Mitch Marner had another huge game, scoring two goals and an assist on three shots for 36.8 FP, and his ownership was surprisingly low, which made his performance that much more helpful. Andrei Svechnikov hit value with 8 FP thanks to five shots on goal. Defensemen: On the back end, Morgan Rielly scored a goal and an assist and added four shots and three blocks for 31.2 FP, while Alex Edler had a surprisingly brutal night, earning just 1.6 FP. That being said, value play Chris Tanev managed 8 FP, and Olli Matta finished with one shot and six blocks for 11.2 FP. Rasmus Ristolainen tallied an assist and came away with 11.7 FP, and Darnell Nurse continued his strong play with a power-play assist, four shots and three blocks for 19.7 FP. Goalies: In net, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves in a 6-3 win over the Oilers, coming away with 20 FP. Laurent Brossoit and Pheonix Copley both recorded shutouts, with Brossoit coming away with 52 FP and Copley earning 48 FP. Frederik Andersen recorded a win but was difficult to roster given his $9,400 price tag.
Top Plays: John Tavares ($8,100), Dylan Larkin ($6,700), Kevin Hayes ($5,600)
John Tavares now has points in four straight games, scoring four goals and seven points in that stretch for an average of 24.1 fantasy points per game. He skates on Toronto’s top power-play unit and is averaging 18.4 fantasy points per game this season. JT scored a goal and earned (ironically) 18.4 fantasy points when these teams played earlier this month, and he and the Leafs should have a favorable matchup with Jonathan Bernier projected to start.
Dylan Larkin continues to be a strong fantasy option, and he had success against the Maple Leafs in the Dec. 6 matchup in Toronto, scoring a goal and an assist on seven shots for 32.8 fantasy points. While he saw his nine-game point streak come to an end yesterday against Florida, he still managed five shots for eight fantasy points. Larkin skates on Detroit’s first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game.
Kevin Hayes extended his point streak last night with a goal and an assist for 28 fantasy points. He now has points in six consecutive games, collecting five goals and 12 points in that stretch. He skates on the Rangers’ second line and first power-play unit and has earned 28, 17.2, 27.7, 29, 32 and 19.6 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively. Though Hayes was held off the scoresheet when these teams met in Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving, he is on a roll and has a favorable matchup assuming Michal Neuvirth gets the nod for Philly (he has been pulled in both of his starts this season).
Also consider: Auston Matthews ($8,500), Joe Pavelski ($7,700), Aleksander Barkov ($7,500), Logan Couture ($7,300), Mathew Barzal ($5,700), Brock Nelson ($5,000), Artem Anisimov ($4,300), Henrik Borgstrom ($3,300)
Top Plays: Mitch Marner ($8,000), Brandon Pirri ($3,000)
Mitch Marner has been on fire of late, scoring goals in four straight games for a total of six goals and nine points in that stretch. He has recorded at least three shots in five straight games, and he has points in 11 out of his last 13 games (six goals, 22 points). He skates on Toronto’s top power-play unit and is averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game this season, though he has earned 36.8, 33.8, 16.8 and 28.8 in his last four games, respectively. Marner was held to just one assist, one shot and one block for 11.2 fantasy points when Detroit was in town earlier this month, but he is on quite a hot streak at the moment and has a favorable matchup tonight against Jonathan Bernier and the visiting Red Wings.
Speaking of hot streaks, Brandon Pirri is on one as well. He’s only played two games this season but has three goals in those two games and has a total of six goals in four games with the Golden Knights over the last two seasons. That’s not a lot to go on, but considering he’s just $3,000, he’s a free play right now and comes with quite a bit of upside. The Knights have their issues scoring against Los Angeles, but there’s nothing to lose giving him a shot at the minimum price tag, especially since he has earned 28.8 and 20.5 fantasy points in two games since getting recalled from the AHL. Pirri skates on Vegas’ second line and second power-play unit.
Also consider: Patrick Kane ($8,200), Jamie Benn ($7,500), Claude Giroux ($7,400), Jonathan Huberdeau ($7,100), Evgenii Dadonov ($6,500), Alexander Radulov ($6,300), Chris Kreider ($6,100), Timo Meier ($6,000), Alex DeBrincat ($5,500), Alex Tuch ($5,300), Tomas Hertl ($5,300), Nick Schmaltz ($4,800), Alex Iafallo ($4,5000, Ilya Kovalchuk ($4,500), Andreas Johnsson ($3,700), Lukas Radil ($3,300)
Top Plays: Erik Karlsson ($7,200), Morgan Rielly ($6,500), Ryan Pulock ($4,500), Erik Gustafsson ($4,400)
Erik Karlsson is starting to look more and more like the Erik Karlsson we’ve come to know and love over the years. He now has points in eight straight games, recording 10 assists, 38 shots and 13 blocks in that stretch. He has earned 22.4, 13.3, 19.2, 22.9, 11.2, 20.8, 17.6 and 35.2 fantasy points in his last eight games, respectively, which includes the 17.6 he earned when these teams squared off Dec. 8; he tallied an assist, four shots and two blocks in that game. Karlsson skates on San Jose’s top power-play unit.
Morgan Rielly is starting to look like the dominant player he was at the start the season. The 24-year-old has points in four straight games and in 10 out of his last 11, tallying three goals and 15 points as well as 28 shots and 12 blocks in that stretch. He skates on Toronto’s top power-play unit and is averaging 17.6 fantasy points per game. While he was held to just 9.6 fantasy points against the Red Wings earlier this month, he has eight points in his last four games and should be a popular play once again tonight.
Ryan Pulock will have lower ownership but is worth a look, especially at his discounted price tag. Pulock, who skates on the Islanders’ second power-play unit, has points in three straight games, recording five assists, three shots and six blocks in that stretch. He has earned 11.2, 19.2, 24.5 and 11.2 fantasy points in his last four games, respectively, and he managed an assist and three shots for 12.8 fantasy points when these teams met in mid-November.
Erik Gustafsson continues to fly under the radar but has recorded 9.6, 18.9, 25.3, 8, 21.6 and 17.6 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively, recording three goals and six points in that stretch. He skates on Chicago’s top power-play unit and has a favorable matchup against the Panthers tonight, who likely will start James Reimer in net.
Also consider: Brent Burns ($6,800), Jake Gardiner ($4,900), Neal Pionk ($4,400), Jake Muzzin ($4,200), Alex Goligoski ($3,800), Jakob Chychrun ($3,500), Filip Hronek ($3,500)
Henrik Lundqvist ($7,900) isn’t necessarily a safe cash play, especially since he’s given up 17 goals in his last four games. However, he has played very well on home ice this season and generally plays well against the Flyers. He made 42 saves when these teams met in Philadelphia in November, though he was unable to come away with the win. His defensemen have been leaving him out to dry in recent games, but he could have a favorable matchup tonight if Michal Neuvirth starts for the Flyers. Neuvirth is capable of shutting out any team, but he has been abysmal this season, getting pulled from each of his two starts. The Flyers are playing much better under new coach Scott Gordon, but the team has struggled in Madison Square Garden over the last several years and could struggle once again tonight. Philadelphia has the worst power play in the NHL, which is another thing working in Lundqvist’s favor, especially since these matchups can get chippy.
A lot of people may turn to Garret Sparks ($7,600) since the Maple Leafs will be heavily favored against the Red Wings, but he gave up five goals when Detroit was in town earlier this month, so he’s not necessarily the slam-dunk option many will assume him to be.
Since so many goalies have yet to be confirmed, the goalie situation will have to be reevaluated in chat closer to lock once confirmations have been revealed.
Join me in the FTA+ discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.
Featured image credit: Rick Madonik-Toronto-Star-Getty Images