There are 10 games on tonight’s slate, which locks at 7:00pm EST. Minnesota and Anaheim are both skating in the second half of back-to-back’s, while Montreal, Carolina and Vancouver will play tomorrow as well. Every team in the NHL has played between 73-76 games, which means we are truly headed into the final stretch of the regular season with fewer than 10 games remaining for all 31 clubs. With very few teams truly out of the playoff picture, tonight’s slate should be an interesting one.
Today’s schedule is color-coded based on teams’ positions in the playoff race. All of the teams in orange and red essentially must win their matchups, while the teams in blue need points but are likely going to make the playoffs. Tampa Bay and Calgary have both clinched playoff berths; the Lightning have already locked up the President’s Trophy as the best team in the NHL.
BUF @ MTL – 7:00pm EST
MIN @ CAR – 7:00pm EST
NYR @ TOR – 7:00pm EST
BOS @ FLA – 7:00pm EST
NSH @ WPG – 7:00pm EST
PIT @ DAL – 8:00pm EST
TBL @ STL – 8:00pm EST
CGY @ VAN – 10:00pm EST
DET @ VGK – 10:00pm EST
ANA @ LAK – 10:30pm EST
Out of playoff picture
Fighting for playoff positioning
Fighting for playoff spot
True do-or-die mode
Clinched playoff berth
THURSDAY NIGHT’S RESULTS: Patrice Bergeron scored two goals and an assist on four shots for 38.4 fantasy points in Boston’s 5-1 win against the Devils. Johnny Gaudreau was a massive disappointment once again, earning just 1.6 FP with only one shot on goal; however, his ownership was above 50 percent, which was a big reason why he was part of the core. That being said, Matthew Tkachuk came through with a goal and an assist and added four shots and a block for 28 FP. David Perron tallied an assist and 11.2 FP, while Jaden Schwartz was held off the scoresheet. The two value defensemen recommended in chat both scored goals; David Savard came away with 15.2 FP, while Dylan DeMelo had another strong game with a goal, one shot and four blocks for 20 FP. All three recommended cash goalies came away with wins. Tuukka Rask made 21 saves and earned 24.8 FP, while Jordan Binnington came away with 20 FP thanks to his 20 saves in a 5-2 win for the Blues. Mike Smith gave up one goal on 19 shots for 22.4 FP.
Below are the stats for the core plays as well as the stats/results from one of the lines I used in FanDuel cash contests.
Auston Matthews ($8,600) and the Toronto Maple Leafs are pretty much solidified as the third seed in the Atlantic Division, though the Leafs need to turn things around as they head into the postseason. Toronto’s defense and goaltending has improved substantially over the last few games, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. Fortunately, Matthews is getting hot at the right time of the season, and he and his teammates will have a favorable matchup at home against the Rangers. New York will be without Chris Kreider, and the Rangers have been one of the worst road teams in the league all season, especially over the last six weeks. In fact, the Blueshirts have the third-worst Corsi For percentage on the road (43.8) and the second-worst Corsi-Against-per-60 rate (66.43) since Feb. 1. That being said, one thing to keep in mind is that Alexandar Georgiev is expected to man the crease for the Rangers. He notably made 55 saves on 56 shots when these teams met in New York in early February, though it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to replicate that performance. There’s always risk in rostering Toronto’s elite options since there have been too many times throughout the season when the team hasn’t shown up or played to its potential; however, Matthews has elevated his game in recent contests, which bodes well for his chances tonight. He has found the scoresheet in five out of his last six games, scoring five goals and eight points in that stretch. Also, his shot volume has taken off as he’s managed to rack up 32 shots in his last five games (and clearly Toronto had no trouble generating chances in the Feb. 10 meeting). Matthews skates on the second line and first power-play unit and is averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game this season. John Tavares ($8,300) is also very much in play.
Patrice Bergeron ($8,400) and the Boston Bruins will be in Sunrise, Florida tonight as they take on a Panthers team that is in do-or-die mode. Not many consider Florida to even be in the playoff race, but a win today would go a long way towards preserving the team’s slim playoff hopes. Having said that, the Bruins are coming off a dominant 5-1 win against the Devils in which Bergeron potted two goals and an assist for 38.4 fantasy points. He has goals in three straight games and in four out of his last five games, collecting five goals and eight points in that span. Bergeron skates on Boston’s top line and top power-play unit and is averaging 19 fantasy points per game this season. With David Pastrnak back in the fold, it’ll be tough for Roberto Luongo and Co. to keep Boston’s high-powered top line off the scoresheet.
Tyler Seguin ($8,300) has five points in his last two games but has been shooting the puck at an incredible clip. In fact, he has registered 28 shots in his last four games, which comes out to 11.2 fantasy points per game as a floor. Plus, he’ll see plenty of ice time tonight as the Stars continue to fight for playoff positioning. Dallas is coming off a disappointing 3-1 loss to Colorado and will have a tough matchup against Matt Murray and the Penguins, but Seguin’s floor has been very reliable in recent games. His role on the top line and top power-play unit puts him in a favorable spot to produce once again tonight.
Aleksander Barkov ($8,200) seems to be scoring regardless of his opponent, or at least providing a solid floor. Though tonight’s matchup against Boston will be tricky, Roberto Luongo and the Panthers had some end-of-season success against the Bruins last year, and it’s possible they could pull it off once again in 2019 (update: Luongo is not starting). Barkov has one goal and five points in two games against the Bruins this season, and the Panthers’ power play has been difficult to contain. He enters tonight’s game with points in eight straight games, a stretch during which he has produced six goals and 19 points. He has recorded four consecutive multi-point games and is averaging 16.8 fantasy points per game this season.
William Karlsson ($6,700) and Paul Stastny ($5,600) find themselves in good spots tonight as the Knights host the struggling Red Wings. Vegas will be without Max Pacioretty, so the top six won’t be quite as strong as usual; that being said, the Knights are playing their best hockey of the season and will look to continue that strong play tonight. Karlsson is coming off his third three-point performance of the season and has recorded three straight multi-point efforts, scoring three goals and seven points in that time. He skates on the team’s top line and top power-play unit. Stastny centers the second line and plays on the second power-play unit; he demonstrated chemistry with Alex Tuch earlier in the year, so there shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment as Tuch moves up to the second line in Pacioretty’s place. Stastny has points in five out of his last six games, collecting two goals and seven points in that stretch. While Vegas’ wingers may be stronger options than the centers, both pivots are affordable plays tonight. Vegas is 10-1-0 in its last 11 games, so they are definitely heavy favorites tonight against Detroit.
Also consider: Sidney Crosby ($9,100), Sebastian Aho ($7,200), Elias Pettersson ($6,800), Ryan O’Reilly ($6,500), Anze Kopitar ($6,300), Bo Horvat ($6,100), Andreas Athanasiou ($5,400), Jordan Staal ($4,900), Anthony Cirelli ($4,500), Derek Ryan ($4,400), Oskar Sundqvist ($3,900)
Jonathan Huberdeau ($7,500) is a risky cash play considering Florida will go head-to-head against the Bruins; however, he and Aleksander Barkov have been so productive of late that it’s difficult to ignore the Panthers’ top line, which also features Evgenii Dadonov ($5,700). Huberdeau has three goals and six points in two games against Boston this season, and he enters tonight’s game with points in four straight and in seven out of his last eight. He has scored one goal and eight points during his current four-game point streak, and he’s racked up five goals and 17 points in his last eight games. He skates on the top line and top power-play unit and is averaging 15.6 fantasy points per game this season.
Alexander Radulov ($6,700) and the Stars have a tough matchup, but Radulov is a safe floor play in cash contests and always offers upside. He skates on Dallas’ top line and top power-play unit and has recorded 21 shots and eight blocks in his last four games, good for an average of 7.25 shots+blocks per contest. That’s an elite floor for a player that continues to be underpriced on FanDuel. Radulov tallied an assist and two shots when these teams played earlier this season; though tonight’s matchup against Matt Murray and the Penguins will be challenging, Dallas’ “star” players are firing on all cylinders.
Reilly Smith ($6,400) has points in three straight games, in seven out of his last eight games and in 11 out of his last 13 games. He skates on Vegas’ first line and first power-play unit and has recorded three goals and eight points in his last three games, good for an average of 31.4 fantasy points per game. He and the Knights have a very favorable matchup tonight against Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings, and Smith is playing his best hockey of the season. He’s registered at least three shots in six consecutive games and tallied an assist and three shots in a game against the Red Wings earlier this season. All of Vegas’ top-six wingers are in play tonight.
Dustin Brown ($6,400) quietly has goals in three straight games and in four out of his last five games. He has scored three goals and five points in his last three games, earning 31.2, 17.3 and 25.3 fantasy points, respectively. He skates on Los Angeles’ first line and first power-play unit and will have a very favorable matchup tonight against a Ducks team that played last night; assuming Ryan Miller is in net for Anaheim, Brown and the Kings will be in a great spot that should go very much under the radar.
David Perron ($6,000)‘s price tag continues to climb, but his point streak continues to grow. He now has points in 17 straight games and in each of his last four games since returning to the lineup after a two-month absence. Perron skates on the Blues’ second line and first power-play unit and has three goals and six points as well as 11 shots and one block in his last four games. He and the Blues will take on a surging Lightning team tonight, though St. Louis has been strong defensively. It’s possible this game could be a tight-checking, low-scoring affair, but Perron continues to find ways to get it done, so he’ll continue to remain on my list of cash plays until his hot streak cools off. Another thing to keep in mind is that Patrick Maroon ($3,600) has goals in four straight games, scoring four goals and five points and adding 10 shots in that span.
Ryan Donato ($3,800) has been fantastic for the Wild since coming over in a trade for Charlie Coyle. Donato has 15 points in 15 games with Minnesota, and he’s managed multi-point efforts in three out of his last four games, scoring two goals and six points in that stretch. Donato skates on the Wild’s second line and second power-play unit.
If you’re looking for a true punt play, consider Detroit’s Taro Hirose ($3,000), who has points in back-to-back games since making his NHL debut earlier this week. Hirose skates on Detroit’s third line and second power-play unit and is a decent min. price option.
Also consider: Nikita Kucherov ($9,400), Brad Marchand ($8,600), David Pastrnak ($7,900), Mark Stone ($7,500), Jonathan Marchessault ($7,000), Matthew Tkachuk ($6,800), Zach Parise ($6,600), Nino Niederreiter ($6,100), Rickard Rakell ($6,100), Jakob Silfverberg ($5,600), William Nylander ($4,900), Andreas Johnsson ($4,600), Alex Tuch ($4,400), Loui Eriksson ($4,100), Ilya Kovalchuk ($4,000), Andrei Svechnikov ($3,900), Tanner Pearson ($3,800), Brandon Pirri ($3,500), Andrew Mangiapane ($3,400), Garnet Hathaway ($3,200)
Victor Hedman ($6,700) has been great in recent games but has a very tough matchup tonight against a Blues team that is strong defensively. Even so, Hedman has managed two goals and 10 points along with 20 shots and five blocks during his current seven-game point streak. However, there are some less expensive options in better spots tonight.
One such option is Montreal’s Shea Weber ($5,800), who has earned at least 8 fantasy points in eight straight games. Weber has goals in back-to-back games and has scored four goals and seven points in his last eight contests. He has recorded 15 shots and five blocks in his last three games while earning 24.8, 23.2, 8, 8, 22.4, 33.3, 8 and 28 fantasy points in his last eight games, respectively. He and the Habs are heavy favorites tonight against the visiting Sabres.
Alex Edler ($5,200) has hit the $5,000 plateau on FanDuel but remains underpriced. Edler offers one of the safest floors in NHL DFS, and he’s been finding the scoresheet in recent games, making him a solid option once again tonight. He skates on the team’s top power-play unit and is averaging 13.8 fantasy points per game this season. Edler has one goal and five points in his last two games as well as three goals and eight points in his last eight. He’s earned at least 8 fantasy points in all 10 games he’s played in since returning to the lineup at the end of February. Edler has recorded 23 shots and 35 blocks in his last 10 games, good for an average of 5.8 shots+blocks per game.
Also consider: Mark Giordano ($7,100), Morgan Rielly ($6,400), Jacob Trouba ($5,400), Ryan McDonagh ($5,100), Jake Muzzin ($5,000), Shea Theodore ($4,700), Rasmus Dahlin ($4,300), Alex Biega ($3,900), MacKenzie Weegar ($3,800), Brett Pesce ($3,700), Zach Bogosian ($3,700), Roman Polak ($3,600), Michael Del Zotto ($3,500)
Carey Price ($9,000) is coming off a 28-save shutout for which he earned 42.4 fantasy points. It was his second straight game with 30-plus fantasy points and the fifth straight game in which he surrendered under two goals. In fact, Price has given up just six combined goals in his last five starts, averaging 26.1 fantasy points per game in that stretch. The Canadiens are -200 favorites in a game with a projected goal total of 5.5, which puts Price in a strong position tonight on home ice. It’s a crucial game for the Habs, who are battling several other teams in the conference for one of the wildcard slots. Price had an ugly game against Buffalo earlier this season, but the Sabres’ offense has declined; plus, Montreal is playing better defense, which gives Price a good shot at coming away with a win.
Malcolm Subban ($7,700) and the Golden Knights are -325 favorites as they take on the Detroit Red Wings. Subban has won three games in a row and is coming off his first career shutout. Though another shutout is unlikely, Subban is certainly favored for the win, making him a solid value option for tonight’s slate.
Also consider: Frederik Andersen ($8,400), Petr Mrazek ($8,000)
Join us in the FTA+ discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate and core plays.
Featured image credit: Jae C. Hong-AP Photo