Tonight presents a massive 10-game slate, though the number of elite options makes it feel like a 15-gamer. Colorado and Pittsburgh will face off again after an exciting battle last week, and the Washington Capitals will return to Vegas for the first time since hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup. It is unlikely that William Nylander will be ready to play for the Leafs tonight after signing a six-year deal on Saturday, though the Leafs did trade Josh Leivo yesterday, so we’ll know definitively later today. The teams skating in the second half of back-to-back games are Buffalo and Tampa Bay.
COL @ PIT – 7:00pm EST
CGY @ CBJ – 7:00pm EST
WPG @ NYI – 7:00pm EST
BOS @ FLA – 7:00pm EST
TOR @ BUF – 7:30pm EST
OTT @ MTL – 7:30pm EST
TBL @ DET – 7:30pm EST
WSH @ VGK – 10:00pm EST
MIN @ VAN – 10:00pm EST
ARI @ LAK – 10:30pm EST
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: Yesterday’s featured players had huge performances in Tampa Bay’s 5-1 win over New Jersey. Brayden Point scored a goal and two assists and added two shots and two power-play points for 32.2 fantasy points, while Nikita Kucherov recorded a goal and three assists while also adding two shots and two power-play points, finishing the night with 40.2 FP. As I wrote yesterday, there was a strong possibility Cedric Paquette would yield minimal or nonexistent results, and he came through with a resounding goose egg. However, his $3,600 price tag accommodated better wingers and defensemen, which seemed worth the gamble. Ironically, he wasn’t the only player in my lineup that turned up a goose egg, as Eeli Tolvanen (at roughly 40 percent ownership) managed the same. But even two goose eggs along with Taylor Hall’s 4.8 FP didn’t prevent the lineup from cashing with a 142, and even though Hall was a disappointment at a hefty $8,000 price tag, he was worth the risk in cash contests considering his expected ownership and upside in what was projected to be a high-scoring game. Predators winger Kevin Fiala scored one of Nashville’s goals, finishing the game with 15.2 FP at a high ownership. I played Sam Reinhart in another line (since I always like having a piece of Buffalo’s top line), and he scored a goal on three shots for 16.8 FP. For the second night in a row, the defensemen managed mediocre outputs, though they still contributed nearly 20 FP combined. Oscar Klefbom, who was very chalky, tallied one shot and four blocks for 8 FP, and Rasmus Ristolainen chipped in two shots and five blocks for 11.2 FP. With the late news that Connor McDavid would not suit up for Edmonton, I switched from Mikko Koskinen to Anton Khudobin, who picked up a 4-1 win and 30.4 FP.
Here are some plays to consider for tonight’s slate:
There are a lot of strong centers on tonight’s slate, though that’s true of every position given the size of the slate and the amount of talent competing tonight in the NHL.
An obvious option is none other than Nathan MacKinnon ($9,100), who continues to rack up the points. MacKinnon has earned at least two points in eight out of his last 10 games, and he hasn’t gone a game with a single point since Nov. 7 against Nashville. That means that while MacKinnon is expensive, he comes through with multi-point efforts and strong fantasy numbers whenever he’s involved offensively. One of those impressive multi-point efforts came against the Penguins when these teams met in Colorado Nov. 28; MacKinnon scored a goal and three assists and came away with 39.2 fantasy points. He’s averaging 23.1 fantasy points per game and skates on the Avalanche’s top line and top power-play unit. His ownership has been insane of late, though it could drop tonight given the number of elite options available. Plus, some may shy away from the price tag, which is the highest of any skater on the slate. Further, MacKinnon is thought of as a player who is significantly more productive on home ice; that being said, he’s managed 11 points in his last five road games, earning at least two points in each, and has 12 goals and 27 points in 16 games away from the Pepsi Center this season.
On the other side of that matchup will be Sidney Crosby ($8,900), who has goals in three straight, points in four straight and points in eight out of his last nine games. That stretch includes a hat trick against Colorado, a game in which Crosby recorded seven shots and single-handedly erased a three-goal deficit with a natural hat trick before his team gave up another three goals in a 6-3 loss. Crosby has been very productive of late, and he and the Pens will look to bounce back from a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Crosby skates on Pittsburgh’s first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 19.1 fantasy points per game. He has five goals and seven points during his current four-game point streak and has put together five multi-point efforts in his last eight games.
Another elite option on tonight’s slate is Mark Scheifele ($8,600), who has seen a $300 increase in his price tag since his last game. That’s because Scheifele has been on fire, scoring five goals and nine points throughout his current five-game point streak. He has six goals and 12 points as well as 30 shots and six blocks in his last eight games, earning 20.5, 30.4, 35.2, 30.4, 12.8, 6.4, 14.9 and 28.5 fantasy points, respectively. Scheifele skates on Winnipeg’s first line and first power-play unit and is averaging a point per game in road contests this season.
Auston Matthews ($8,500) is another name that stands out as a solid option worth considering on tonight’s slate. He and the Leafs are in Buffalo to take on a Sabres team that played last night. Matthews has three goals (two on the power play) and four points as well as seven shots and three blocks in two games since returning from injury, earning 18.9 and 42.6 fantasy points, respectively. He skates on Toronto’s top power-play unit and appears to be on his way to another impressive hot streak after scoring 10 goals and 16 points in the first seven games of the season. Though the 2018-19 Buffalo team is very different from last year’s roster, Matthews scored two goals and four points in two games against the Sabres last season and has five goals and seven points in seven career games against them. He is averaging 23.8 fantasy points per game with 13 goals and 20 points as well as 45 shots and 13 blocks in 13 games this season.
Brayden Point continues to be on a tear, recording at least a point in six straight games and in nine out of his last 10 games, collecting a total of 11 goals and 18 points in that stretch. He skates on Tampa Bay’s second line and top power-play unit and is averaging 18.5 fantasy points per game. He scored a goal and earned 18.4 fantasy points when these teams met early this season, though the team is playing significantly better now than it was at the start of the season. That being said, Jimmy Howard is not bulletproof, and Point and the Lightning should be able to beat him at least a few times, regardless of which team picks up the win.
Pierre-Luc DuBois ($6,200) has three goals and six points in his last three games as well as seven goals and 15 points in his last 10 games. He skates on Columbus’ first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game. Calgary has played well but could give up some goals on the road in tonight’s matchup, which puts DuBois and the Blue Jackets in a good spot. Value center Boone Jenner ($4,900) is also a decent option; he tends to come through with peripheral stat coverage regardless of whether he finds the scoresheet.
There are many other strong options at the center position on tonight’s slate, and certain recommendations may change depending on line adjustments and goalie confirmations announced later today.
Also consider: Sean Monahan ($7,700), Jack Eichel ($7,700), Nicklas Backstrom ($7,600), Aleksander Barkov ($7,400), Eric Staal ($7,300), William Karlsson ($7,300), Matt Duchene ($6,800), Anze Kopitar ($6,600), Dylan Larkin ($6,500), Boone Jenner ($4,900), Cody Eakin ($4,800), Zack Smith ($3,600), Colby Cave ($3,600)
Nikita Kucherov ($8,900) came through once again with a four-point effort last night against the Devils. He is finally looking like his dominant self, as he has notched five goals and 24 points throughout his current 10-game point streak. He’s averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game this season but has earned 40.2, 35.4, 26.9, 12.8, 24.5, 25.6, 33.3, 16.8, 21.8 and 31.9 fantasy points in his last 10 games, respectively. He skates on Tampa Bay’s second line and first power-play unit and picked up an assist when these teams met at the beginning of the season. Kucherov scored five goals and nine points in four games against the Red Wings last season.
Alex Ovechkin ($8,800) and Tom Wilson ($5,200) skate on the Capitals’ top line and top power-play unit and will look to bounce back from an incredibly disappointing performance over the weekend that saw the Capitals blow a 5-1 lead and lose 6-5 to the Ducks. Washington finds itself back in Vegas for the first time since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, though this game means much, much more to the Golden Knights than it does to the Capitals. It’s difficult to gauge how this game will play out, though most matchups between these two clubs have been high-scoring affairs. Marc-Andre Fleury has been brilliant, especially on home ice, in recent games, though Braden Holtby has been strong as well. In any case, Ovechkin and Wilson are top options if you’re going with the Capitals. Ovi has points in eight straight games and in 10 out of his last 11, scoring seven goals and 14 points in that span. Wilson, on the other hand, has been on fire since returning from a 16-game suspension. He has goals in six straight games and points in eight straight, and he has earned at least a point in nine out of 10 games this season. Wilson has 14 points in 10 games and is averaging 20.1 fantasy points per game. Some may fade the matchup entirely, but if you want some exposure to Washington, Wilson could be the way to go in cash contests; he’ll be greeted with a “friendly” response from the Vegas faithful, which should only encourage him more.
Once again, Mikko Rantanen ($8,400) and Gabriel Landeskog ($7,100) are strong options as one-offs or stacked with Nathan MacKinnon. Both wingers grabbed at least two points the other night against Pittsburgh, with Landeskog scoring a goal and an assist while adding three shots and two blocks for 28 fantasy points. He is averaging 17.1 fantasy points per game this season. Rantanen, who is averaging 19.9 fantasy points per game, tallied two assists and 19.2 fantasy points against Pittsburgh Nov. 28. He continues to lead the league in points with 45 in 27 games, which comes out to an average of nearly 1.7 points per game.
Mitch Marner ($7,800) has points in four straight games, collecting 10 assists in that time. He offers exposure to both John Tavares and Auston Matthews, and he’s averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game. Blake Wheeler ($7,800) has also been stocking up on assists in recent games; he has one goal and nine points during his current five-game point streak, and he’s averaging 17.1 fantasy points per game this season. Wheeler skates on Winnipeg’s top line and top power-play unit but has been stronger on home ice. That being said, he’s always a good option and managed a goal and an assist in two games against the Islanders last season. Cam Atkinson ($7,200) has points in 10 straight games, scoring 10 goals and 16 points in that time. He skates on Columbus’ first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 18.2 fantasy points per game.
Frank Vatrano ($3,700) has points in back-to-back games and will play against his former team; plus, he skates on Florida’s second line, which now features Evgenii Dadonov ($6,900) as Jonathan Huberdeau ($6,600) appears to have shifted up to the top line. Additionally, Ryan Donato ($3,100) is worth considering since he scored a power-play goal in his most recent game, earning 22.1 fantasy points thanks to the goal as well as six shots. Donato skates on Boston’s second line and second power-play unit.
Also consider: Patrik Laine ($8,700), David Pastrnak ($8,300), Johnny Gaudreau ($8,000), Jeff Skinner ($7,200), Mikael Granlund ($7,200), Evgenii Dadonov ($6,900), Mark Stone ($6,700), Mike Hoffman ($6,600), Elias Lindholm ($6,400), Jonathan Huberdeau ($6,400), Clayton Keller ($6,300), Brendan Gallagher ($6,300), Dustin Brown ($6,100), Sam Reinhart ($5,700), Alex Tuch ($5,400), Brady Tkachuk ($4,800), Andrew Shaw ($3,700), Andreas Johnsson ($3,600)
Torey Krug ($5,900) has points in five straight games, tallying six assists, 13 shots and nine blocks in that time; he has earned 14.9, 13.3, 22.9, 20.8 and 12.8 fantasy points in his last five games, respectively. Krug skates on Boston’s top power-play unit and will take on a Panthers team that hasn’t gotten strong goaltending since Roberto Luongo suffered his second injury of the season.
Thomas Chabot ($5,700) continues to be a very popular play, though his price tag has finally gone up, and it has gone up a lot. While Chabot is still a strong play, especially against the Canadiens, he’s not as appealing as he was before FanDuel jacked up his price. He skates on Ottawa’s top power-play unit and has seven goals and 31 points as well as 73 shots and 47 blocks in 27 games this season, good for an average of 17.6 fantasy points per game.
Shea Weber ($5,700) is coming off a disappointing performance in which he earned just 6.4 fantasy points, though he picked up points in his other two games, scoring two goals and three points while adding eight shots and two blocks. He skates on Montreal’s first power-play unit and is averaging 18.1 fantasy points per game since making his season debut just a few games ago.
There are a lot of strong value options on the back end, including two that were very productive the other night. Alex Goligoski ($3,800) has points in two out of his last three games and generally provides a solid foundation of peripheral stats on a nightly basis. He skates on the Coyotes’ second power-play unit and has earned 18.4, 8, 9.6, 8, 11.7 and 9.6 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively. Scott Mayfield ($3,800) has been very impressive in recent games, especially considering his price tag. He doesn’t get time on either power-play unit but has points in back-to-back games and in four out of his last five games, recording five assists, eight shots and six blocks in his last five games. Mayfield has earned 20.8, 12.8, 8, 9.6, 11.2, 12.8, 24.8 and 8 fantasy points in his last eight games, respectively.
Also consider: John Carlson ($6,900), Matt Dumba ($5,800), Keith Yandle ($5,600), Seth Jones ($5,400), Aaron Ekblad ($5,100), Alex Edler ($5,000), Rasmus Ristolainen ($4,900), Samuel Girard ($4,400), Josh Morrissey ($4,300), Mike Matheson ($4,100), Noah Hanifin ($4,000), T.J. Brodie ($3,900), Nate Schmidt ($3,700), Michal Kempny ($3,600), Jakob Chychrun ($3,500)
Goalies will be discussed in chat later today once confirmations have been announced since there are too many unknowns to make proper recommendations.
Join me in the FTA+ NHL discord chat to further discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.
Featured image courtesy of Sports IllustratedFantasy Hockey