It’s a small three-game slate for this Thursday. The biggest injury news is on the Canadiens who will be on the road taking on Buffalo. Both Max Domi and Brendan Gallagher are questionable, although it should be noted that Domi is only battling the flu and Gallagher (head) looks likely he’ll return soon, if not tonight. PK Subban of the Devils is also questionable, but he is also only dealing with an illness and Drew Doughty of the Kings has been ruled out. The Devils take on Nashville at home while Arizona hosts LA to round out the slate.
TOP OPTIONS TO CONSIDER
Top Line StacksPhillip Danault ($5,800) – Ilya Kovalchuk ($5,400) – Tomas Tatar ($6,100)
The Canadiens take on the Sabres tonight, who make for a great matchup for their top line as Buffalo brings in the third-worst penalty-kill in the league. On top of being quite affordable, this line has proven it is capable of big games lately, going off for 60-plus DKFP three games ago against Philly, and they will see plenty of ice time on the power-play together, as well as even strength. It’s worth noting that Brendan Gallagher ($6,300) may return tonight and he could bump Kovalchuk down a line, although you’ll want to check on updates from the team since it’s not entirely known how that situation will play out. Either way, the Montreal top-line is in a good position tonight and slotting in Gallagher for one of the wingers if he does play may get you lower ownership on a player returning from injury.
Superstar to TargetTaylor Hall ($7,800), ARZ vs. LAK – Hall and the Coyotes first-line had a miserable time of it last night against Anaheim but they’re in a good bounce-back spot tonight against the Kings. On top of playing last night as well — and now having to travel for the second half of a back-to-back — LA continues to be one of the worst defensive teams in hockey, particularly on special teams where it sports the second-worst penalty-kill in the league. Hall is averaging 14.0 DKFP over his last 10 games and should see plenty of ice in an important bounce-back spot for the Coyotes. He and the Arizona first-line are in a good position tonight to make up for last night’s goose egg.
Value on OffenseAlex Iafallo ($4,000), LAK at ARZ – Iafallo has come on strong over the last month or so as the Kings first-liner has finally started to capitalize on his featured role. Averaging 9.3 DKFP over his last 10 games, which is far above his seasonal average of 7.5, he enters tonight game with five goals in his last 10 games and will be going up against a Coyotes team that has featured shaky penalty-killing and goaltending at times this year. At $4K, it’s hard to find a better value than Iafallo, who will likely see between 18-20 minutes of ice and plenty of special teams work.
Nikita Gusev ($4,400), NJD vs. NAS – This slate looks like a good spot to take a shot on Gusev, who has flashed brilliant skill in spurts in his first NHL season. The former KHL star has put up three or more shots on goal in his last three games and, more importantly, has a great matchup against a Nashville, a team that has continued to struggle defensively after the All-Star break, allowing four or more goals in two starts already. The Predators are also tied with Buffalo for the third-worst penalty-kill, making this a plus matchup for Gusev who should play over 16 minutes in a top-six capacity.
Stud GoaliesCarey Price ($7,500), MTL at BUF – Price is coming in off a loss but has been quite solid over the last couple weeks, posting save percentages of .923 or better now in three of his last four games. Montreal is actually -120 road favorites in this spot and Price’s DK salary looks more than palatable considering that Buffalo doesn’t really scare anyone from an offensive firepower perspective as they’re just 19th in goals per game. Price is a nice value option on a slate with not much to choose from in net.
Pekka Rinne ($8,100), NAS at NJD – Rinne would be a fade for me most nights in this spot, but on a three-game slate we have to consider everyone at the goalie position and it’s worth noting that despite Rinne’s poor play of late, the Predators do enter this game with the Devils as -140 favorites. Rinne was showing signs of improvement before he allowed four goals on 30 shots against Toronto two nights ago but the Devils are a far worse offensive team than TOR scoring just 2.6 goals per game, the sixth-worst mark in the league. It’s likely a good bounce-back spot for Rinne although his trend this year has been to disappoint even in good matchups.
Value on DefenseSean Walker ($3,300), LAK at ARZ – Walker could see an increase in ice time tonight given the injury to Drew Doughty, who has been ruled out for this game. Walker has been aggressive with his shot of late, averaging right around 3.0 SOG per game over his last 10 starts. He’s also seeing just under a minute of power-play time per game, at the moment, but that number could increase tonight given Doughty’s absence. Regardless of how the special team’s situation works out here, it’s hard to find defenseman at this price level who fires the puck at the net this much and given that Walker is in a spot to possibly find an extra two-three minutes of ice tonight he makes for a solid value under $3.5K.
Power-Play DefensemenOliver Ekman-Larsson ($4,300), ARZ vs. LAK– The Coyotes offense fell flat last night against another weaker West Coast opponent in the Ducks but they get a chance at some redemption as the Kings visit Phoenix. Since enduring a bit of a mid-season slump, Larsson has improved his offensive numbers over the last month and has now registered multiple SOG in seven of his last 10 games. The matchup though is what is so enticing here as the Kings bring in the second-worst penalty-kill in the league and Larsson is now averaging just under 3 minutes of power-play time per game, making him a great stacking target with Taylor Hall ($7,800). OEK looks like a good value on this small slate.
Damon Severson ($3,400), NJD vs. NAS – Severson is coming off a monster game in which he recorded 30 DKFP, played over 26 minutes of ice and hit both the SOG and blocked shot bonus. While we shouldn’t expect that kind of production every night it’s worth noting that PK Subban is ill and questionable to play tonight, which would likely mean more minutes for Severson. The matchup with the Predators is a plus one, too, as they feature the third-worst penalty-kill. Severson could see more power-play time as a result here and makes for a great value target given that his price actually went down after his big night.
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