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.

Totals and Favorites

Biggest Favorite: The Tampa Bay Lightning are -150 to beat the Predators

Largest Totals: The Flames v the Coyotes have the greatest shot at going 5.5 goals according to odds-makers

Stud Goalies

Petr Mrazek ($8000): I’ve mentioned Mrazek in this column a few times in the past couple weeks and since then he’s actually started playing even better than he already was (if that’s even possible). Mrazek has allowed two goals over his last three games, a stretch which includes a shutout of the surging Florida Panthers. The Red Wings have climbed up to 2nd in their division on the back of Mrazek’s strong play and will play the talented but streaky Avalanche tonight at home. I’d consider using Mrazek and his league leading .934 save percentage would definitely fade the Colorado skaters in this spot. This is a player you want to acquaint yourself with for fantasy purposes very fast as he looks poised to become one of the best young goalies in the league over the next few years.

Dud Goalies

Louis Domingue ($6600): Domingue and the Coyotes had a nice early to mid season run, but lately the wheels have come off. The Coyotes have lost five games in a row and even though Domingue bounced back with a fairly solid effort against the Flames in his last start (two goals on 26 shots) I still wouldn’t bet on him maintaining any kid of lasting form the rest of the way. Domingue’s now allowed 17 goals in his last five appearances and as a team the Coyotes have fallen to second last in goals allowed per game. I’d avoid Arizona goaltenders and consider the Calgary offense a decent target overall tonight.

Hottest Lines

Anze Kopitar ($6300) – Milan Lucic ($4600) – Dustin Brown ($3800)

These three players have been on a tear recently recording 14 points between them in their last three games. Dustin Brown has looked rejuvenated of late and it’s important to remember that despite his poor numbers this year, he was once a pretty solid two-way player. With Brown now playing with the talented Kopitar and Lucic at even strength, this line has produced a couple big games for fantasy. Kopitar remains the lynchpin of the Kings top power-play unit as well giving him added upside. The Kings have a tough matchup tonight against the Rangers who have one of the best goalies in the league playing for them but as a team they do give up their fair share of power-play goals against and rank as the 6th worst team in the league in killing penalties. It’s not the best matchup but this line has been producing lately and should be considered for fantasy tonight.

Defensive Thoughts

Kris Letang ($6700): Outside of their last game versus the Rangers the Penguins offense has been in good form of late and Kris Letang has been a huge part of their resurgence. Letang now has five or more SOG in four of his last six games and is again looking like an every night offensive force. As the main point-man for the Penguins on the power-play Letang will also get to see lots of time with the hot Sidney Crosby which boosts his chances for multiple points. I like the matchup for the surging Penguins offense versus the not so great goaltending of the Hurricanes and think Letang is a great way to get yourself some exposure to Pittsburgh tonight.

Brian Campbell ($3700): There aren’t a ton of value plays I like tonight but getting some cheap exposure to the explosive Panthers offense through Brian Campbell doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Campbell is priced well under $3700 but has actually seen more time on the power-play for Florida than any other defender over their past three games. Campbell has played well of late and has three points over his last three games and is consistently seeing over 20 mins of ice-time per game. I like the price-tag on him and think he’s a great salary saver at D.

Superstar to Build Lineups Around

Sidney Crosby ($8100): There’s a lot of superstars playing tonight but Crosby remains the best of the bunch, even after a slight price increase to $8100. Crosby has been on a tear recently and when he is playing at the level he is now he’s virtually impossible to completely shut down. I’m leaving him as a choice in this section until he cools off or his price gets out of hand, but for now I’d consider him a must play every time he suits up.

Pavel Datsyuk ($6000): If you’re fine fading Crosby or just like to live dangerously my cheaper alternative superstar play is Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk took some time getting back into form after starting the season on injured reserve but lately he’s been his usual magnificent self with five points in his last three games. Datsyuk is now playing on a super line of sorts with teammate Henrik Zetterberg and the results have been great. In a matchup with the Avalanche, who allow the third most SOG per game, and have the 8th worst GAA as a team, I love targeting Datsyuk as a backbone for my rosters.

Value Plays

Alex Galchenyuk ($4400): The talented Galchenyuk was finally moved around and slotted in on a line with two of the Canadians top players in Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec. He’s responded nicely and has just looked like a more aggressive player on the wing playing with two very skilled players. I love the matchup tonight against the Sabres who are on the tail end of a back to back and coming off a 5-1 shelling at the hands of the Flyers. Use the savings on Galchenyuk to get some exposure to MTL’s top line tonight.

Nick Bjugstad ($4500): With injuries come opportunity and the injury to Alex Barkov has created an opportunity for Nick Bjugstad to regain his form and start producing again for fantasy. Bjugstad has had an awful year that has been marred by injuries and seen him get bumped out of the top 6 by younger players. Still only 23 years old himself however Bjugstad remains talented and will now play on the Panthers top line in place of Barkov tonight. I’d take advantage of the cheap price tag on Bjugstad for now as his new role could see him return to form quickly. He’s nice value on tonight’s slate.

Also check out: The Rangers J.T. Miller ($4500) and the Lightings Alex Killorn ($3900):

Injuries

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

  • Alex Barkov is out for the Panthers
  • Carey Price is out for the season for the Canadians
  • Evgeni Malkin is out tonight and day to day with a strained oblique

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