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Tonight presents a massive slate with 22 teams and 440 players in action. The Islanders are the only team skating in the second half of a back-to-back after suffering a 4-2 loss in Calgary last night; expect Robin Lehner to get the start against the Oilers. Also, Matt Duchene will not be in the lineup tonight or in the next few games as he is expected to be moved before Monday’s trade deadline.
NOTE: Recommendations are subject to change based on goalie confirmations, line changes, news updates, etc. Top plays will be updated throughout the day in the FTA+ chat.
WSH @ TOR – 7:00pm EST
CAR @ FLA – 7:00pm EST
SJS @ PIT – 7:00pm EST
MIN @ NYR – 7:00pm EST
OTT @ NJD – 7:00pm EST
PHI @ MTL – 7:30pm EST
BUF @ TBL – 7:30pm EST
LAK @ NSH – 8:00pm EST
STL @ DAL – 8:30pm EST
NYI @ EDM – 9:00pm EST
ARI @ VAN – 10:00pm EST
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: Last night’s main line cashed easily with a final score of 212.2. Many of the top plays highlighted in yesterday’s post had strong games, especially Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, who combined for 92.2 fantasy points themselves. Larkin scored two goals on nine shots and added a power-play assist and a block for 48.5 FP, while Mantha tallied four assists and seven shots for 43.7 FP. Finishing out the four-man Detroit stack were value defensemen Mike Green and Filip Hronek (Hronek was put on the Red Wings’ top power-play unit in morning skate). Both defensemen chipped in 9.6 FP with an assist and a block each, which was solid value for their price tags (especially considering Green was very chalky). The rest of the forwards were comprised of two mini-stacks of Chicago’s top power-play unit and Boston’s second line. Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 19 games with two goals on three shots, including the game-winning overtime goal, for 28.8 FP, while Alex DeBrincat added a goal and two shots for 15.2 FP. David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk teamed up for Boston’s first goal in a low-scoring, back-and-forth game between the Bruins and Golden Knights. DeBrusk scored for the fifth straight game, adding four shots on the night for 18.4 FP, while Krejci picked up an assist and a shot for 9.6 FP. Karson Kuhlman also assisted on the goal, though he was only available in DraftKings contests. After much debate (and discussion with Derek, FTA’s red-hot NHL Junior Analyst), I decided to go with Jaroslav Halak in net. I originally had Semyon Varlamov in my lineup the night before the slate, but I still think Halak was the safer choice, all things considered. Ironically, both goalies ended up with 28.8 FP, though Varlamov was much cheaper and had the less intense matchup. Halak almost didn’t pull off the win, but he was fantastic against Vegas, stopping 31 of 33 shots in a 3-2 shootout win that went six rounds. Other players recommended in the post include Dylan Strome, who contributed 8 FP, as well as Erik Gustafsson, who tallied three assists and a shot for 25.6 FP.
Sidney Crosby ($9,000), Steven Stamkos ($8,700) and Evgeni Malkin ($8,600) are sure to be popular plays across the industry tonight. Also, both John Tavares ($7,800) and Auston Matthews ($8,200) are in play as well; Tavares should have a favorable matchup against Washington’s top line, and Matthews generally scores a goal against the Capitals. However, it’ll be tough to roster two of them, so it’s important to look for more affordable options, as there are many good choices on tonight’s slate.
Top Play — Aleksander Barkov ($7,400)
Aleksander Barkov is coming off great performances in back-to-back games and will be on home ice once again tonight, where he has scored 66 percent of his points this season. Barkov was my top recommended center the other night, though unfortunately I took him out of the main cash line late in the day. He ended up scoring a goal and two assists in his second straight multi-point game, giving him seven points and 11 shots in just his last two games. Barkov was going through an extended dry spell but seems to be back to his dominant self. He skates on the Panthers’ top line and top power-play unit and is averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game this season, though he has earned 37.6 and 55.7 fantasy points in his last two games, respectively. That being said, Barkov doesn’t have the most favorable matchup tonight. The Hurricanes rank ninth in the NHL in Corsi Against per 60 minutes (53.78) since Jan. 1, and third overall on the road since Jan. 1 (52.81). Barkov’s line would match up with Sebastian Aho’s line, which is particularly effective offensively. Though it’s more than possible both lines would trade chances, Carolina’s top trio is a lot to contain, which could be somewhat of a trap. This is the kind of play that will have to be analyzed further before making the ultimate call, but based on recent performance (and assuming both sides will be trading chances), Barkov is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Tomas Hertl ($6,100) and SJS 2 could have a favorable matchup against Pittsburgh, who will be starting Casey DeSmith in net tonight. The line has been quiet in recent games, though Hertl scored a hat trick against the Penguins a few weeks ago.
Sean Couturier ($7,300) has a tough matchup on the road in Montreal, but he has been very consistent in recent games. In fact, Couturier has points in four straight and in 10 out of his last 11 games, collecting five goals and 17 points in that stretch. He skates on the Flyers’ second line and second power-play unit, both of which have been outperforming the top line/top unit.
Mika Zibanejad ($7,300) on home ice against the Wild, who just completed a surprising trade yesterday that sent Charlie Coyle to Boston, seems like a strong cash option, though he’ll have low ownership tonight. Zibanejad is coming off a quiet game, and he’s had a few of those in recent games, but he’s also had some monster performances. Plus, the Rangers are stronger on home ice than on the road, which includes Zibanejad, who can control his matchup more easily with last change. Zibanejad has five points in his last five games and is averaging 15.8 fantasy points per game this season.
Max Domi ($5,900) has three goals in his last two games and will be on home ice against a Flyers team that has played well but that has given up plenty of scoring chances. The Flyers will look to bounce back after a tough loss to Tampa Bay the other night, and Montreal will look for consecutive wins.
Value Play — Travis Zajac ($4,200)
There are several strong value centers on tonight’s slate, including Joe Thornton ($5,000), Tyler Bozak ($4,600) and Colin White ($4,500). However, Travis Zajac ($4,200) has the most favorable matchup of the bunch, and he centers the team’s top power-play unit against a Senators squad that struggles mightily on the penalty kill. Zajac has points in back-to-back games and in three out of his last four games. He skates on the team’s second line.
Also consider: Sidney Crosby ($9,000), Steven Stamkos ($8,700), Auston Matthews ($8,200), Brayden Point ($7,800), John Tavares ($7,800), Nico Hischier ($5,600), Joe Thornton ($5,000), Colin White ($4,500)
Top Play — Nikita Kucherov ($9,200)
Nikita Kucherov is coming off a back-breaking performance in which he earned just 1.6 fantasy points with just one shot on goal. However, that has not been the norm for Kucherov of late, and there’s a very strong chance he’ll get back on the horse tonight against the Sabres. Kucherov had earned 57, 25.3, 43.4, 43.4 and 41 fantasy points in the five games before Tuesday’s matchup against Philadelphia, and he scored a goal and two assists for 32.8 fantasy points the last time the Lightning were in Buffalo. Kucherov has two goals and five points in three games against the Sabres this season.
Value Play — Jesper Bratt ($4,000)
Jesper Bratt skates on New Jersey’s first line and first power-play unit and has been very productive in recent games. He has points in four straight, scoring two goals and six points on 14 shots in that stretch. Bratt and the Devils have a very favorable matchup against the Senators, who will be without Matt Duchene. Though one can’t assume the Senators will give up nearly as many goals as they did the other night in Chicago, New Jersey has played well on home ice and should be able to strike multiple times in what is projected to be a high-scoring game.
UPDATE: Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, Marcus Johansson will not play tonight.
Also consider: Vladimir Tarasenko ($8,700), Alex Ovechkin ($8,500), Leon Draisaitl ($8,100), Joe Pavelski ($7,800), Jake Guentzel ($7,700), Evander Kane ($7,400), Mark Stone ($7,300), Tomas Tatar ($6,500), Mats Zuccarello ($6,500), Justin Williams ($5,800), Jaden Schwartz ($5,000), Yanni Gourde ($5,000), Frank Vatrano ($4,700), Oskar Lindblom ($4,600), Marcus Johansson ($4,600), Brady Tkachuk ($4,400), Andrew Shaw ($4,300), Miles Wood ($3,700), Zach Aston-Reese ($3,600)
All of the top studs are in play tonight, including Brent Burns ($7,500), Kris Letang ($7,400) and Roman Josi ($6,800). However, with so many expensive pieces, you’ll need some value.
UPDATE: Victor Hedman is set to return, so Sergachev is no longer a strong value option. Brent Burns and Roman Josi are today’s top picks on the back end.
Mikhail Sergachev ($3,800) could be quarterbacking the Lightning’s top power-play unit once again tonight if Victor Hedman is unable to play, which makes him an excellent value option on both sites. He scored a goal and earned 16.8 fantasy points the other night in Philadelphia, giving him points in back-to-back games and in three out of his last four games.
Also consider: Erik Karlsson ($7,000), John Carlson ($6,200), Alex Pietrangelo ($5,800), Shea Weber ($5,600), Tomas Chabot ($5,400), Ryan Pulock ($4,400), Travis Sanheim ($4,400), Damon Severson ($4,300), Justin Schultz ($4,300), Jordan Oesterle ($4,000), Jakob Chychrun ($3,600), Devon Toews ($3,600)
Goalies will be discussed in chat once additional confirmations have been announced.
Join us in the FTA+ DSF NHL discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.
Featured image creidt: Kim Clement-USA TODAY Sports