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 Kings are -180 favorites over the STL Blues

Largest Totals: The Wild v Stars and Bruins v Senators have the greatest chance of going over 5.5 goals tonight according to odds-makers.

Stud Goalies

Jonathan Bernier ($7100): It might be a little soon to call Bernier a “stud” but he’s definitely done a 180 since the start of the year when he couldn’t stop a beach ball. Since returning from a stint in the AHL Bernier has putt together three straight quality games and has now stopped 117 of the last 120 shots he’s faced. Bernier has a tough matchup on the road tonight versus a Sharks team who ranks 11th in the league in goals scored and who is getting healthier with the recent return of top 6 forward Logan Couture. I’m not sure if I’d start Bernier given the matchup but starting skaters versus him isn’t as great a proposition as it appeared to be a couple weeks ago either. Bernier is playing at a high level right now and might be a hard target for the Sharks skaters to generate fantasy points against.

Dud Goalies

Anton Forsberg or Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus): It’s not been announced yet who will start in net for the Blue Jackets tonight but whoever does is someone I’d 100% avoid and 100% think about targeting with skaters. Columbus is down to their 3rd and 4th string goalies and with the recent trade of arguably their best offensive player, they are clearly playing for next year. The Jackets have allowed 3 or more goals in 7 straight games and face the same offensively challenged Hurricanes team tonight, a squad they allowed to score 4 times last night. This is an easy spot to avoid goalie wise and I’d definitely take a look at some of the value options on Carolina for your skaters.

Hottest Lines

Thomas Plekanec ($5200) – Max Pacioretty ($7400) – Brendan Gallagher ($6300)

This line has 11 points in their last 4 games and 5 goals in that same period. The Canadians have been struggling without Carey Price but with the return of Brendan Gallagher their top offensive line has been reunited and is once again that consistent every night force in fantasy. These three players play a ton of minutes together in all situations (power play, 4 on 4 etc) and so correlation scoring with these three are always good. As a value play I like Gallagher the most as he scores more than Plekanec and typically is good for multiple SOG as well. The matchup tonight for these 3 is tough against the Pens but they are relied on so much by the Canadians that I still think getting some exposure isn’t a bad idea.

Upside/Value Defensemen

Torey Krug ($5900): Krug isn’t your typical high end defensive target simply because he’s more of a power play specialist than a full time top 2 pairing stud, but in good matchups he’s always a good bet to get you multiple points. The Bruins power play has been the best in the league thus far in the 2015-16 and Krug is a huge part of that unit playing the most of any D-man on their team in that situation and almost always seeing time with the Bruins main group of offensive forwards. Tonight the Bruins take on the Sens who have the third worst penalty kill in the league making this a prime matchup not only for Krug but all of Boston’s special team players. I’d definitely consider paying up for the Bruins specialist tonight.

Ryan Ellis ($4000): With the trade of Seth Jones comes more opportunity for some of Nashville’s other young defensemen and the one who could benefit the most from the move is the offensively gifted Ryan Ellis. Ellis is still behind Weber and Josi on the depth chart in Nashville but was already a regular part of the power play unit even before Jones was traded and should only see his time increase in that area now. The Preds power play has been efficient this year and the Coyotes penalty kill is the 6th worst in the league making this a good matchup too. Target Ellis tonight if you need value at D.

Superstar of the Night

Sidney Crosby ($7100): Well, it’s taken nearly half the season but it looks like Sidney Crosby is finally back. Crosby and the Pens offense has been ineffective the first 30 games of the year or so but look like they finally turned the corner after the firing of Mike Johnston. Crosby himself has seen the biggest turnaround scoring 5 times in his last 5 games while recording 7 total points in that same span. The Pens get the Montreal Canadians tonight who have been up and down as a team and a lot easier to score on overall without Carey Price. With Crosby’s price still depressed and well under other elite players I like using him here to build around and think he makes for a good anchor for your fantasy rosters.

Value Options

Valeri Nichushkin ($3700): The Stars have done some rearranging of their top lines and are featuring a top line of Jason Spezza, Jamie Benn and the aforementioned Nichushkin. The young Russian has been injured and hard to rely on for fantasy at times this season but he’s also produced but when given a shot to play with the Stars best offensive players. I expect the increased opportunity will ignite Nichuskin here and like the value you get with a player who is in a great position to possibly nab you a multi point night.

Ryan Spooner ($4600): Spooner is now riding a four game point streak where he’s produced 6 points in that span. Filling in for the injured David Krejci, Spooner has been all kind of effective as Boston’s second line centre. At $4600 you’re getting a player who now plays in a pivotal top 6 role at even strength, plays on the top power play unit, and gets a dream matchup against one of the worst defensive clubs in the NHL. He’s great value for tonight’s slate.

Also check out: Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm of the Hurricanes


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

David Krejci is out for the Bruins

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