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 Totals and Biggest Favorite

Biggest Favorite: The Washington Capitals are -165 favorites to beat the Hurricanes

Largest Totals: The Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers have the greatest chance of going over 5.5 goals according to odds makers.

Stud Goalies

Semyon Varlamov ($7500): Some people may just naturally avoid Colorado goalies every night due to their teams slow start and penchant for giving up a lot of goals but Varlamov has been brilliant lately winning 6 games in a row while only letting in 6 goals total in that span. Varlamov’s been so good that in his last 4 games he’s posted a save percentage of .970 or better and now has his season long save percentage up to .921. The Maple Leafs have been hot offensively of late so there’s no guarantee here but I’d still consider Varlamov as my goalie tonight and possibly just avoid Toronto skaters until a better matchup came about. Varlamov’s playing the best hockey of any goalie in the league at the moment.

Dud Goalies

Mike Condon ($7300) or Dustin Tokarski ($6800): Just in case you haven’t been following the Canadians have really been in freefall mode lately after their hot start losing 7 of their last 8 games. The Canadians have obviously been hurt by the absence of their number one goalie and have allowed at least three goals in 7 of their last 8 games as well. Both Condon and Tokarski have been pretty unreliable of late with Condon posting sub .900 save percentages in 5 of his last 6 starts. It’s likely Dustin Tokarski will get the start tonight but he’s not been great either and has a sub .900 save percentage on the year as well and a losing record. Regardless of which one plays I’d avoid using them as your goalie and target a Nashville skater or two. Things could get worse before they get better for the Habs tonight.

Hottest Lines

Nicklas Backstrom ($6300) – Alex Ovechkin ($8900) – TJ Oshie ($6000)

After a slow stretch this line has once again caught fire of late as the Capitals continue their surge up and through the Eastern Conference. This line now has 13 points in its last two games and comes in full of confidence after dismantling two conference rivals in the Lightning and the Rangers in back to back games. With the Caps facing off against the generally inept Carolina Hurricanes tonight another big outing could be in the cards here. The Hurricanes have the third worst penalty kill in the league and shaky goaltending bad news against the high powered Caps who have scored 12 games in their last two games. Don’t be shocked to see some or all of this trio have a big night. I’d try to get some exposure if you can.

Top Upside and Top Value at Defense

Shea Weber ($6000): The Preds have a decent matchup tonight at home against the free-falling Canadians. Weber has seen a slight reduction in ice time this season but still plays a majority of the time on the PP for the Preds and has only recorded 1 SOG less this season than his higher priced playing partner Roman Josi. With the Preds power play clicking (9th in the league) and the Canadians struggling I like this spot to target the Nashville defensemen and think Weber is a good target if paying up on D. He’s capable of those game changing fantasy nights and in a spot here where he could record one.

Trevor Daley ($3500): Ever since he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins Trevor Daley has been manning the first unit power play for the Penguins and its actually been working out quite well. With Kris Letang still out Daley will once again be counted on tonight and will look to build on his two game point streak. Daley’s a pretty decent puck moving defenseman who’s proven he can produce offensively in the past. His new role in Pittsburgh makes him a must play for me tonight at only $3500 and easily the best values on the board at D.

Also check out: Nick Leddy ($3700) or the Isles and Justin Schultz ($3200) of the Oilers

Best Superstar

Taylor Hall ($7300): There’s quite a few big names going tonight but I think value and potential wise Taylor Hall is my favorite “superstar” to build your lineup around. Hall has just been flat out dominant at times this season and even though he’s only got two points in his last four games his 8 SOG from last night prove that he can get you fantasy points in more ways than one. The OiIers really need a win and have a good matchup at home versus the Jets who are 4th worst in the league at killing penalties and 5th worst in goals against. I’d make Hall as target as he’s cheaper than some other high priced talent but offers similar big game upside in a good matchup.

Best Value Plays

Conor Sheary ($2600): The diminutive Sheary was a recent call up for the Pens from the AHL where he was producing at over a PPG. Playing with Sidney Crosby for the most part Sheary produced a couple of points in his first two games and looks likely to see more time in the top 6 tonight. Sheary is most likely going to skate beside Evgeni Malkin tonight with Crosby out which again boosts his value considerably. At only $2600 you’re getting a decently talented winger who will be playing one of the leagues best centres, it’s a great deal. I like using Shear tonight as a cheap play at wing.

P.A. Parenteau ($3600): The Maple Leafs recently moved Parenteau to the wing beside Tyler Bozak and James Van Riemsdyk and the results have been outstanding to say the least. Parenteau himself has 5 points in his last 5 games and the Leafs as a team have bene picking things up offensively of late as well. If you need a cheap winger who will see first line PP time and is riding a hot streak Parenteau should be your target.

Also check out: Sean Couturier ($3500) of the Flyers and Alex Wennberg ($3200) of the Blue Jackets

Injuries

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

Sidney Crosby is questionable to play tonight for the Penguins

Kyle Okposo is day to day and questionable for the Isles tonight

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