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.
Lines and Totals
- Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals – 5
- Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – 5
Braden Holtby ($8,500): For most of the season Holtby seemed he was on-pace to be a shoe-in for the Vezina trophy. His play as of recently has been solid but he has allowed eight goals against in his last three games even though he has won two of those three starts. If it weren’t for the two games that the Capitals had postponed over the weekend Holtby would be in the top-five in the league in game started, and since the beginning of last season he is second overall in games started behind another goalie playing tonight Jonathan Quick. But I love Holtby tonight because he is on eight days of rest due to the blizzard that hit Washington over the weekend and has not started a game since last Tuesday when he beat the Blue Jackets. He has been impeccable at home this season posting a 16-2-0 record while sporting a 1.87 GAA and .932 SV% at Verizon Center. The Caps welcome the Flyers tonight and in his only start vs Philadelphia this season Holtby picked up the win while holding Philly to two goals.
Top Line of the Night
Alex Ovechkin ($8,800) – Nicklas Backstrom ($6,700) – T.J. Oshie ($5,800)
Also on eight days rest are Holtby’s teammates and the Capitals top-line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie. They looked nearly unstoppable last week against the Blue Jackets and this entire line found the scoresheet. Ovie has points in two straight games with a power-play goal in each of his last two games, with eight SOG, and adding an assist in the Columbus game. Backstrom found the back of the net twice in that game with two goals on three shots and he as well has power-play points in his last two games. Oshie added an assist in that game on one of Backstrom’s goals and is now up to 28 points in 46 games. This team has been very good this season with all three members averaging at least 3.1 FPPG and putting at least two of the three in your lineups tonight is a great play.
Top Upside at Defense
Victor Hedman ($5,800): Hedman is the fifth-most expensive defenseman available tonight from a salary point but he is also one of the most productive in the league lately with 10 points in his last 10 games. He has points in his last two games and in five of his last six games which has produced a goal and six assists. Over the six games he’s put 18 SOG and has added 18 blocked shots as well. He’s one of the top all-around defensemen in the league and on this limited night of action Hedman is one of the best available for your rosters.
Mattias Ekholm ($3,800): I wrote about Ekholm yesterday for last night’s action and he continues to produce from the Nashville blueline. Going into last night’s game with the Canucks Ekholm was riding a three-game point streak and he extended that with an assist on Craig Smith’s first period tally that opened the scoring for the Preds 2-1 win. Since the Seth Jones trade Ekholm is averaging well over 21 minutes of ice time per game and is seeing an increased offensive role. He is still the third or fourth option on the blueline offensively for Nashville but thanks to his recent run of productivity and his price, Ekholm is a great value pick tonight to pair with a higher priced rear-guard.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Anze Kopitar ($6,200): Kopitar has been one of the leading scorers in the league since early December with 19 points over his last 14 games. Fresh off his big extension Kopitar added an assist on Sunday against the Sharks. He has points in seven of his last 10 games (3G, 9A) with four PPP and 30 SOG. He is playing on one of the most dynamic lines in the league that has powered the Kings to the top of the Pacific Division. He had been held scoreless his previous two outings before picking up that assists but Kopitar is one of the best in the league at the center position and he faces the Avalanche, a team he has owned in his career, on Wednesday night and in 35 career matchups with Colorado he is a point-per-game player with 35 points in those contests. The Avs are coming off a tough loss last night and will likely start Calvin Pickard for a second-consecutive night after he allowed four goals against last night in their loss to San Jose.
Andre Burakovsky ($3,600): Burakovsky has settled in nicely on the Capitals second line with compatriot Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams and has been super productive as of late. He has points in four of his last five games with three multi-point games in that span. He has points in the Caps last two games with two assists against the Rangers and a goal against Columbus. With the new offensive responsibility and his recent run of production, Burakovsky is a great value play tonight.
Vincent Lecavalier ($3,500): Vinny has be reinvigorated since his trade to the contending Kings and is beginning to produce offensively like he used to. After seeing only a single point in seven games with the Flyers this season, Lecavalier has five points in nine games in Kings black so far. He’s centering the LA third line with Dwight King and Trevor Lewis and has four goals in his last six games. It will be hard for him to maintain the level of production but at the moment he has a new jump to his step and at that price could be a great guy to take as a flier tonight with a limited player pool.
Semyon Varlamov ($8,000) Due to personal reasons Varly did not make the trip with the Avs on their two-game road trip going into the All-Star break. He was on fire before this time off, allowing one goal against in each of his last four starts, so when the Avs come back from the ASG he should be a target for your lineups, but tonight look elsewhere.
John Carlson ($6,400) Carlson skated in practice on Tuesday for Washington but it seems unlikely that he plays tonight against the Flyers. Still, monitor his progress to see if the Capitals activate him to give him a game before the break. He seems on pace to return next week when games resume, but at the moment he is doubtful to see action tonight vs Philly.