The NHL Cheat Sheet is your quick-hit daily look into the top lines and line changes, fantasy studs, value picks and more to help you navigate your DFS Hockey lineups.
Top Lines of the Night
Washington Capitals vs New Jersey Devils
Alex Ovechkin ($8,100) – Evgeny Kuznetsov ($5,500) – Justin Williams ($5,000)
Despite the Caps taking the loss on Tuesday in NY, this line produced and gets another great matchup tonight. Ovechkin notched a two point evening netting his 16th goal and adding an assist, while firing nine shots on goal (SOG). Kuznetsov stopped a three-game scoring drought with an assist on Ovie’s goal and added four SOG of his own. Williams had a goal and an assist on the evening and put up five SOG, giving this line 18 SOG on the night. The trio will face the Devils tonight, a team that has lost nine of 10 and are allowing the second-most goals per game in the NHL in the month of December.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Nikita Kucherov ($6,800) – Tyler Johnson ($5,200) – Ondrej Palat ($4,600)
The Triplets line was reformed last night and immediately paid dividends for a depleted Lightning offense. Kucherov, the team’s leading scorer, notched two assists and five SOG in his first game in almost two weeks. Johnson had his second two-goal game of the season netting his ninth and 10th goals on four shots. Palat broke a long scoring drought of his own with a goal and an assist. This line will have a great matchup tonight against the Leafs, who are on their second night of a back-to-back and are likely to start backup Antoine Bibeau.
Superstar to Build Around
Connor McDavid ($8,000) – McDavid used a two-point night on Tuesday night to stay in a tie for the NHL scoring lead with Sidney Crosby at 42 points. That’s three points for McDavid in his last three games. He will look to continue his league-leading point dominance against the Kings tonight. Los Angeles is on the second night of a back-to-back, coming off a tough loss last night in Vancouver.
Value on Offense
Scott Hartnell ($4,100) – Hartnell has five points and four goals in his last three games. The veteran forward is reaping the benefits of Columbus’ high-octane offense and is skating on their underrated second line with Dubinsky and Blue Jackets’ leading scorer Cam Atkinson. Overall, he has points in three of his last five games.
Anthony Mantha ($4,900) – Mantha has settled in well on the Red Wings’ top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Tatar and is turning on the production. The highly-touted prospect is riding a four-game point streak that’s produced two goals, three assists and eight SOG. Mantha, who had 55 points in 70 AHL games since the beginning of last season, has 12 points in 20 games overall in the NHL this year.
Devan Dubnyk ($8,300) – Dubnyk rides a nine-game winning streak into tonight’s matchup with the Islanders. In his last 10 games he is 9-0-1 and has allowed only 15 goals against. The Wild netminder leads the league in goals against average (GAA), save percentage (SV%), shutouts and is third in wins. He leads the Wild tonight in a very favorable showdown.
Braden Holtby ($8,200) – Holtby struggled with the Islanders on Tuesday night but has been fantastic this season, especially his last 10 games overall. Last year’s Vezina winner has a 1.88 GAA and a .935 SV% over that span, even with the Isles game factored in. He gets the Devils tonight who rank 27th in the league in scoring offense and 28th in scoring in December. The game is at home, and this season on home ice Holtby has a 1.88 GAA.
Value on Defense
Dmitry Orlov ($4,200) – Orlov has benefited from increased exposure to the Capitals’ top lines as of late and is well on pace to set new career-highs in assists and points this season. Orlov has assists in three straight games, four of his last five overall, and has eight assists in his last 10 games.
Nick Holden ($3,400) – Holden sits second among Rangers’ defensemen in points this season with 18. He is only seven points shy of tying his career-high of 25 and should shatter that this year. Holden has points in three of his last five games and had a multi-goal game on Tuesday against the Senators. He is skating on the Rangers’ second pairing.
Power Play Defensemen
Victor Hedman ($5,500) – Hedman is on an absolute tear right now with 12 points in his last seven games. He has found the scoresheet in six of those seven contests and has one power play point (PPP) in each game. He had a goal and a power play assist last night and has a goal in his only game against Toronto this season.
Shea Weber ($6,000) – Weber is beginning to slip out of a long scoring drought with points in two of his last three games. He had a PPG last night against the Lightning, and in his last 10 games is also averaging over two SOG and two blocks.
Make sure to check out the Cheat Sheet every day, and, as always, for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is HardingJ2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.