The NHL Cheat sheet is your nightly look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate…

Highest Vegas Totals and Biggest Favorite

Biggest Favorite: The Red Wings are -185 favorites to beat the Canucks

Largest Totals: The Sharks and Senators have the best chance of going over 5.5 goals on the evening according to odds makers

Stud Goalies

Henrik Lundqvist ($8000): The Jets have some depth at forward but tonight’s matchup with the Rangers is a sub-par one in more ways than one. The Rangers will be starting Henrik Lundqvist in net who’s now up to 15 wins on the year and near the lead in every statistical category. While the Rangers will be on the road fr this game they’ve been playing better defensively as a team lately and with Lundqvist in net are a difficult opponent to score on. I’d consider rostering Lundqvist tonight in this matchup and would definitely stay away from rostering any Jets.

Dud Goalies

Ryan Miller ($7200): Ryan Miller got hammered in his last start and has now allowed 9 goals over his last two games. Miller has been shaky all season stringing together a few good games with several bad performances. The Canucks as a team have also been falling fast and are now losers of 8 of their last 10 games so a win bonus is also far from assured here. The Red Wings are a deep team and not someone I’d want to play if looking to break out of a funk like Miller and the Canucks are desperate to do right now. Target Miller with your skaters tonight and avoid rostering him as your goalie.

Hottest Lines

Mika Zibanejad ($4500) – Bobby Ryan ($5600) – Mike Hoffman ($5900)

With eight points in their last two games this line has been on fire since getting put together. Mike Hoffman’s been one of the best players in the league period this season and since being paired with Bobby Ryan the two have been a great source of offense for fantasy players. Mika Zibanejad recently has had the pleasure of centring these elite wingers and the first game they played together they gelled instantly. The Sharks haven’t been the shut down defensive team they’ve been in past years and this matchup has lots of potential for a big game. All three of these men will get time on the PP, with Hoffman and Ryan taking a big chunk of time on the first unit. This is a great night to get exposure to this up and coming trio.

Top Upside at Defense

John Carlson ($6800): There’s some very skilled defenseman on this slate including Brent Burns of San Jose and Erik Karlsson of Ottawa. However, if you have to chose one I like using John Carlson over both of them. The Lightning have been bad at killing penalties this season and are also fighting off numerous injuries to some of their best players. Carlson and his booming shot gets to play on a one of the most effective and talented power plays in the league and is in a great spot here to build off of the two goals he’s scored in his last two games. With points in 4 straight games Carlson should continue to post decent returns tonight.

Dmitry Kulikov ($3200): Since returning from injury Kulikov has been playing well over 20 minutes a night and seeing very consistent time on the PP. While a breakout has been slow in coming Kulikov finally found the score sheet last night and with Florida’s offense humming right now more performances like that could be on the way. At $3200 I think Kulikov is under priced for the amount of ice time and power play time he receives and would definitely suggest using him if you need a cheap play at D on this slate.

Superstar to Build Lineups Around

Nikita Kucherov ($5600): With injuries hurting the team the Lightning have been relying heavily lately on Kucherov and he’s responded with some of his best play of the season. Kucherov is now playing on the first line with Steven Stamkos and has 4 goals in his last 4 games and 5 points in that same span. While the matchup versus the Capitals isn’t the best I’d still consider him as a near play simply due to price and the fact he’s been playing a ton (over 20 mins) due to injuries. Kucherov offers you some serious elite upside at a reduced price tonight and is a good cornerstone for any lineup.

Value Plays

Jeff Skinner ($4400): Skinner had a remarkably slow start to the year but recently has really started to heat up and now has 7 goals in his last 4 games including two hat tricks. On top of playing on a pretty good line with the talented Victor Rask, Skinner sees time on the power play and might even see an increased role in that regard due to his hot play of late. The whole Hurricane team is scoring right now so Skinner is a great way to get some cheap exposure, he’s one of the best value plays on wing for this slate.

Brandon Pirri ($4300): Pirri’s a nice young player who’s been part of a very effective second line for the Panthers lately. On top of the fact that he’s now riding a 5 game scoring streak Pirri had a massive night against the Devils yesterday recording a goal and two assists. At a mere $4300 Pirri’s a great value play today and a great way to get exposure to a Panthers team who’s been lighting the lamp a ton lately too.

Injuries

**this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries

Tyler Johnson is out tonight for the Lightening

Ondrei Palat is doubtful tonight for the Lightening

Logan Couture is out for the Sharks

As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!