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.

Lines and Totals

Biggest Favorite: the Bruins are -210 favorites over the Blue Jackets

Largest Totals: The Avalanche and the Stars have the greatest chance of going over 5.5 goals according to odds makers.

Stud Goalies

Cory Schneider ($8200): There’s a couple of very elite goalies playing on this slate tonight but Schneider for me is most deserving of being in this column today. Sometimes overlooked due to the fact he plays on the sometimes boring New Jersey Devils, Schneider is putting together an MVP like season and has now led the Devils to three straight wins. With a GAA of barely over two there’s not many nights you’ll see Schneider give up a ton of goals which makes him a nightly target in fantasy where that kind of consistency is great for cash games. I’d avoid Jets skaters and think about rostering Schneider in a tournament or two.

Dud Goalies

Pekke Rinne or Carter Hutton (Preds): The Predators are playing on the backend of back to back games tonight so its likely Hutton will get the start here, but in case he doesn’t I’ll still include Pekke Rinne too. The goaltending has been awful for Nashville this season and before he posted a rare shutout last game, Hutton had posted three straight performances with save percentages of under .900. The Oilers are in semi-freefall mode themselves right now but I’d still not hesitate to roster any of their offensive stars against this duo. The game looks ripe for a lot of goals on both sides and I’ll be staying away from the Nashville goalies.

Hottest Lines

Patrice Bergeron ($7400) – Brad Marchand ($6300) – Matt Belesky ($4100) or Landon Ferraro ($2600)

The duo of Bergeron and Marchand have been incredibly hot of late for the Bruins recording 8 points and 6 goals between them in their last 4 games. With Matt Belesky looking questionable for tonight with an illness it’s possible that Landon Ferrarro will skate with these two at even strength and could be a nice play alongside them. Regardless of who suits up as the third man of this trio I’d definitely try and get some exposure to this line as it’s not only been on fire lately but has a great matchup versus the very bad Columbus Blue Jackets. With the Bruins power play being one of the top in the league it’s very possible this line goes off and is one of the better plays for fantasy on a busy slate.

Defensive Thoughts

Shea Weber ($6300): Weber’s my choice on D tonight for a few reason, but consistency is the main one. In his past 5 games Weber has at least 2 Blocked Shots, which doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but those points add up very quickly and it means he has a fairly safe floor. Webber also shoots the puck more than the average defenseman and has averaged 3 SOG over his last four games, which again, makes him a very safe play. Against the Oilers, who have allowed 9 goals in their last two games there’s every chance Webber supplements his awesome secondary stats with some actual points tonight and turns into a big play on DK, he’s my first choice if paying up on D.

Shea Theodore ($3300): There’s a couple different value options you could turn to tonight on D but I like Theodore the most. Since getting inserted into the lineup, and being given time on the top power play unit, he’s been very consistent for fantasy and is now on a 4 game point streak. Theodore has essentially taken over the Cam Fowler role for now and saw well over 50% of the PP time on the point for the Ducks in their last game, which really gives him big upside every night. He also has 2 or more blocked shots in his last three games which is a great boost too. He’s a great value target and probably my favorite play on D tonight for the price.

Superstar Worth Paying For

Ryan Johansen ($6100): On a big slate numerous big names come to mind for this spot in the column, but I think value-wise and level of play wise, Johansen is your best option tonight. Since joining the Predators Johansen has quite frankly looked like a different player (the highly skilled one we all knew he could be) and has been very productive playing with James Neal as his winger. These two have produced a couple big fantasy nights recently and I think with Johansen going up against an Oilers team, who is very thin at centre right now, it presents him another great opportunity to produce a big game for fantasy. This is case where you’re getting a player who is still very underpriced due to some poor play earlier in the year but who is playing at an elite level right now, he’s a great and affordable cornerstone for tonight.

Value Options

P.A. Parenteau ($3800): With injuries and a lack of offensive firepower hurting the team, I don’t like targeting Maple Leaf players most night but PA Parenteau still looks like a pretty good bargain for tonight. Parenteau is picking up extra minutes on the top line and top PP unit for the Leafs with the injury to James van Riemsdyk and has produced nicely in fantasy since getting the opportunity. Parenteau hasn’t been a scoring machine but he’s been shooting a lot and has 14 SOG in his last 4 games, as well as over 3 fantasy points in three of his last four games. The Canadians are a different and much easier opponent without Carey Price in net and a big game here for Parenteau is highly possible, I love the price tag and think he’s a great value target.

Alex Tanguay ($3900): Tanguay has been playing alongside Matt Duchene and Nate MacKinnon lately and been producing nicely with 3 points in his last three games. The best part about Tanguay though is that his new first line role means his ice time and SOG stats go up significantly, and that gives him more upside each night and better fantasy potential. The Avalanche take on the Dallas Stars tonight in a game with the highest projected total on the slate. A big game here is possible and using Tanguay makes for a great way to save salary space.

Also check out: the Oilers Nail Yakupov who’s back form injury and playing in the top 6 at the moment.

Injury Notes

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

  • Nik Kronwall is out for the Red Wings
  • Brandon Pirri is questionable for the Panthers
  • Matt Belesky is questionable for the Bruins
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out for the Oilers

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