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. Ottawa Senators – 5.5
– Chicago Blackhawks vs. Carolina Hurricanes – 5
– Nashville Predators vs. Vancouver Canucks – 5
Corey Crawford ($8,400): Crawford has been outstanding season and continued that this past weekend shutting out the Blues for his league-leading seventh shutout this year. He is beginning to make his case for the Vezina and has been absolutely fantastic lately allowing two goals or less in nine of his last 10 starts with two shutouts over that time span. He’s won eight of those contests. Crawford is up to 28 wins on the season, just two shy of Braden Holtby in that category. On top of that he is eighth in GAA at 2.08 and third in SV% with a .932 mark. The Hawks face the Hurricanes, losers of three of their last five, tonight making Crawford almost a must start for those willing to spend big in net.
Top Line of the Night
Joe Pavelski ($7,900) – Joe Thornton ($5,200) – Tomas Hertl ($4,700)
I love how dynamic this line has been since they were put together. Pavelski is one of the more underrated players in the league, thanks to playing in a small market, and sits in a tie for fifth in the in scoring with 48 points in 47 games. If it weren’t for Patrick Kane, Pavelski might be my superstar of the night. He is currently riding a three-game point streak with two goals and three assists and had a three point game against the Wild on Saturday night. Thornton is one of the best value picks in the game right now. He’s riding a nine-game point streak and continues to be one of the savviest playmakers in the league, currently tied for seventh in assists with 30, and has two goals and 10 assists on his nine-game run. Hertl is beginning to show flashes of his rookie year and since being bumped up to the top line has been on fire. Since January 9 he has points in six of the Sharks nine games with two multi-point games and he has found the scoresheet in the last two games.
Top Upside at Defense
P.K. Subban ($6,400): I wrote about Subban yesterday before the Canadiens matched up with the Blue Jackets and even though the Habs came out on the losing end, Subban had a great night. Subban saw well over 23 minutes of ice time last night in Columbus and assisted on Brendan Gallagher’s first period tally before adding a marker of his own on a slapshot that slipped past Joonas Korpisalo from center ice. Subban had a six-game point streak snapped over the weekend against Toronto but bounced back quickly and put up a fantastic two-point, three SOG game. The Canadiens face off against the Jackets again tonight in Montreal and Subban is one of the top blueliners of the night.
Mattias Ekholm ($3,800): The Predators are one of, if not the, deepest team on the blueline in the entire league as evidenced by their trading of Seth Jones earlier in the month for Ryan Johansen. Ekholm has seen an increase in offensive responsibility since then and has taken that role to heart. In eight games since the Jones trade Ekholm has points in four of them, including in three straight for Nashville. He had an assist last week against Chicago, followed by an assist against Winnipeg and then capped the week with a two-goal game against the Oilers on Saturday night, with one of those markers coming on the PP. On top of the offensive outburst he has eight SOG and four blocked shots in the three games. Nashville continues their Western Canada swing by facing the Canucks tonight in a favorable offensive matchup for the Preds.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Patrick Kane ($8,900): I had tried to find another superstar to build around, and there are some contenders, but Kane is the play tonight especially with the matchup against Carolina. Kane has points in seven of his last 10 games and has extended his lead in the scoring race to 15 points over Jamie Benn and now sits at 73 points in 52 games. He has 10 points in his last six games and with three multi-point games he’s upped his league-leading total in that category to 20. He continues to lead the league in both goals with 30 and assists with 43. He has never put up stellar numbers vs Carolina but this season Kane cannot be counted against in any game. If you’re willing to pay up to put him in your lineup, there is no one better tonight.
Joonas Donskoi ($3,300): Donskoi, another Sharks forward, has come on very strong lately playing on the Sharks third line with Logan Couture. Couture is not a bottom-six forward, but coming off his injury the Sharks are giving him time to shake the rust off and he has made Donskoi fantasy relevant since they got together. He has points in five straight games for San Jose with a goal, five assists, a multi-point game and eight SOG. He has two PPP in the five games so he is seeing chances in all situations for the Sharks and is putting up the production at the moment to warrant consideration for your rosters.
Joseph Blandisi ($3,000): Blandisi has settled in on the wing for the Devils second line with Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. He has been up and down between the AHL and NHL but looks like he will finally stick with the big club. He’s only played 10 games at the NHL this season and it took him a while to settle in, no points in his first four games, and he had to deal with being sent down for a month in early December. But in his last six games he has points in four of them and he has four points in his last two games. He had a goal and two assists last week against the Senators for his multi-point game and then followed that up with an assist against Winnipeg on Saturday. The Devils face the Penguins tonight in a tough matchup but as long as Blandisi is so inexpensive and playing in the top-six he is a great value-play who will be seeing ample chances.
Sergei Bobrovsky ($6,800) It’s a shame the Bob can’t stay healthy and on the ice because he could be a top-10 goalie when he’s on the ice. He had another setback being placed on the DL for the third time this season with another groin injury. No time table has been released for when he could be expected back.
Bryan Little ($5,600) Little left the Jets practice on Monday with an undisclosed injury and is now considered day-to-day. His availability for the Jets contest tonight with the Coyotes is not yet known, so check back during the day. On the season Little has been an impact player for Winnipeg with 38 points in 48 games.