The NHL Cheat Sheet is your quick-hit daily look into odds, fantasy studs, value picks, and more to help you navigate your DFS Hockey lineups.
Highest Vegas Totals
– Buffalo Sabres vs. Washington Capitals – 5
– Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – 5
– New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – 5
Braden Holtby ($8,400): It should pretty much go without saying how good Holtby is at the moment and that he is unquestionably the top goalie for your lineups tonight. He was my top goalie on Monday night and he proceeded to shutout the Sabres in Buffalo with a 31 save performance to notch his 23rd win of the year. Now the Capitals welcome the Sabres to DC to complete their home-and-home series and on home ice this year Holtby is 13-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA and .931 SV%. Holtby is riding a three-game winning streak and has lost in regulation only once in his last 10 starts.
Top Line of the Night
Alex Ovechkin ($8,800) – Nicklas Backstrom ($6,200) – T.J. Oshie ($5,800)
Much like Holtby, this has been a line that I have talked about in the past and after the combined for one of the Capitals two goals in Monday’s win against the Sabres, they are a great play for your lineup tonight with a limited player pool. Ovechkin netted his 18th goal of the season on Monday off a feed from Backstrom. Oshie picked up the secondary assist on that goal. It was Ovie’s first goal in three games and gives him 31 points in 34 games to go along with a league-leading 168 SOG. Backstrom checks in as the seventh-most expensive center available on Wednesday night despite having the second most points of all centers on the night with 32. He has managed to put up 10 points in his last 10 games for Washington. Oshie has seen his inconsistencies this season, but he managed that assist on Monday which snapped a three-game pointless streak and with 23 points in 35 games he’s on pace right now to challenge the 55 point season he managed last year in St. Louis. This line is capable of putting up offense quickly and in a favorable matchup like this, they should be looked at heavily for your lineup.
Top Upside at Defense
Erik Karlsson ($7,600): Karlsson has overcome his scoring slump from earlier this month and is now riding a seven-game point streak for the Senators and is up to 41 points on the season (4th in the NHL). On his current offensive outburst he has three goals, six assists, three power-play points, 12 blocked shots and 16 SOG. The Senators face the Devils tonight and their starter Cory Schneider has allowed three goals against or more in three of his last four games. If you can afford putting a high-priced talent like Karlsson in your lineup, then do it tonight and ride the streak.
Andrej Sustr ($2,900): Sustr has never been an offensive weapon from the Lightning blueline, sitting behind both Hedman and Stralman, but he is beginning to see some production on the offensive end. He has points in four of his last six games, is riding a two-game point streak, and is adding about one blocked shot and one shot on goal per game this season. He’s playing in the Lightning top-four defense rotation and, while he only has nine points on the season, he could be an interesting value play for your lineups tonight with his recent offensive outburst and his low salary.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Joe Pavelski ($7,500): I have written about Pavelski in the past, and he continues to be one of the more underrated superstar players in the league. He currently sits 10th in the league in scoring with 36 points and has the highest FPPG of any center playing tonight at 4.4 FPPG. The Sharks star has points in five straight games, three multi-point games, and points overall in six of his last seven. He has 10 points, five power-play points, 16 shots on goal and has added four blocks in his last six games and a looming matchup with the Flyers makes him an excellent play tonight. Despite not seeing much action against Philly in his career, Pavelski has had the Flyers numbers when they have met with 10 points (7G, 3A) in 11 career meetings.
PA Parenteau ($3,700): The Leafs have been better than most expected in this first year under Mike Babcock and Parenteau is beginning to round into some offensive form now that he has settled into the system. He has been moved up to the Maple Leafs top line with JVR and Tyler Bozak. He’s riding a modest four-game point streak with three assists and a goal and has only been held off the scoresheet twice in his last 10 games. In that span he has nine points and 19 shots on goal and seems to have found a new jump in his offense playing prime minutes with two of the Leafs best playmakers. Toronto has a favorable matchup with the Penguins who are still missing Marc-Andre Fleury, although Matt Murray has looked solid in the Pittsburgh net in his absence. Still roll the hot handed Parenteau if you’re looking for a bargain-buy tonight.
Sean Couturier ($3,500): Another bargain for your lineups tonight is the Flyers Couturier. He has not produced much offensively this season but since his promotion to the Flyers second line with Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek he has seen a spike in his offensive numbers. Over his last five games Couturier has found the scoresheet in four of them with two goals and four assists. He is coming off a two assist game against Anaheim over the weekend, his second multi-point game in this time span, and he has put 11 shots on goal in these five games which is an increase in shot % with only 52 shots total on the season in 29 games. The Sharks goaltending situation has been shaky lately with Martin Jones allowing 16 goals against in his last four starts and his backup Alex Stalock posting a GAA over 3.00. Couturier should get some looks tonight in a favorable offensive matchup.
James Reimer ($6,400) After dressing the last two games, and coming in for relief last night against the Islanders, Reimer will get the nod tonight against the Islanders coming off his three weeks on the shelf with an injury. He was one of the top goalies in the league before the injury shelved him so DFS players can start looking his way again tonight against the Penguins.
John Carlson ($6,700) Carlson, the cog of the Capitals offense from the blueline, did not play Monday against Buffalo with an undisclosed injury. He’s being listed as day-to-day at the moment and should be monitored throughout the day to see if he will be in the lineup against the Sabres tonight. If he plays he is a great option for your lineups against the lowly Sabres, so watch the news about him as the day progresses.