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
- The Lightning are -170 favorites to beat the Flyers
- The Penguins are -155 favorites to beat the Blue Jackets
- The Flames are -135 favorites to beat the Coyotes
- Chicago at Dallas has a total of 5.5 goals
- Arizona at Calgary has a total of 5.5 goals
- Pittsburgh at Columbus has a total of 5.5 goals
Jake Allen ($7800): Allen has been great since coming back from injury and has now posted four straight wins with save percentages of .930 or better in all four games. Allen hasn’t just been a warm body either, as he’s faced over 30 shots in all four of those games that he has won. The Blues are one of the best defensive teams in the league but do have a tough matchup against the Ducks tonight in a game which could easily end up being a tight low scoring affair. I’m not particularly fond of either team’s skaters in this matchup and like the Ducks skaters even less given how well Allen has performed of late. If you’re looking for a potential tournament play in net keep Allen in mind as a win here could mean huge fantasy points for the young goalie.
Sergei Bobrovsky ($6600): This pick isn’t so much about talent as Bobrovsky has proven that he can be an elite goalie, but its more about the fact that Bobrovsky will be making his first appearance in quite some time due to injury. The Blue Jacket net-minder has had a roller coaster and mostly forgettable season and will be making his first start since late January against a Pittsburgh team who needs wins to ensure a playoff spot, and who should smell blood against the rusty Bobrovsky. I wouldn’t hesitate to load up on Pittsburgh skaters if so inclined, as they’ve been more productive offensively of late and their captain, Sidney Crosby, looks determined not to let them miss the playoffs. Avoid Bobrovsky as a play in net until he proves he’s back in form.
The Triplets line was finally reformed a week or so ago and the results have been fruitful once again. On top of getting good production from the duo of Kucherov and Johnson, Ondrej Palat has also caught fire of late and now has four goals in his last four games. The nice thing about this line is that there is almost some correlation scoring going on when one of them lights the lamp and so targeting two or even all three is never a bad move. Against the Flyers, who sport a bottom third penalty-kill, there is certainly the potential for this line to land a big game. The game total between these two isn’t huge but the Lightning are the biggest favorites on the board making a three or four goal team total here for Tampa fairly likely. With this line already having a big role offensively and on the power-play, I wouldn’t hesitate to target them tonight and they might even go overlooked in tournaments given some of the other juicy matchups on the slate.
Mark Giordano ($7200): I don’t mind either of the top salaried players on defense tonight as both Kris Letang and Mark Giordano are in great spots for with their respective matchups. However, with the Flames on a bit of a roll and the Coyotes dealing with injuries to their already very thin and inexperienced backend I’ll take Giordano for his potentially big upside. The Coyotes have one of the worst penalty-kills in the league and with Giodano quarterbacking the PP for the Flames and seeing over 27 mins of ice per night, on a game in game out basis, I think paying up for the near point per game defenseman makes a ton of sense. The workhorse defenseman has now scored 5 or more fantasy points in three straight games and looks to be making the most of his huge playing time towards the end of the year.
“…targeting Murphy as a cheap value pick makes a lot of sense.”
Connor Murphy ($3300): Murphy has been filling in admirably for the Coyotes on defense, playing nearly 24 mins per night while also seeing time on the power-play. With Oliver Ekman-Larsson potentially out tonight and the Coyotes going up against the Flames, who have the worst penalty-kill in the league, I think targeting Murphy as a cheap value pick makes a lot of sense. Not only is he getting the ice time and offensive opportunity, but he’s in a great matchup against one of the worst defensive teams in the league. If there was ever a shot for a big game from the young defenseman, this would be it, and I think he makes for a great value target on D tonight.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Sidney Crosby ($7800): Crosby has been fantastic of late recording 10 points over six games as he attempts to push the Penguins back into the playoffs. While Pittsburgh has been up and down offensively all year, lately the team has had more better games than poor ones, recording four or more goals in four of their last seven games. I already discussed how this is potentially a great goalie matchup for Pittsburgh, with Sergei Bobrovsky making his first start since January, and given Columbus’ general struggle all year to limit other teams top units I think a Crosby blow-up performance is definitely a good possibility tonight. I wouldn’t hesitate to target him (or his linemates) and think that at under 8k he’s actually a bit under priced, considering how well he’s been playing. I’d make him my target if looking for one superstar to carry your lineup.
Best Value Plays
Martin Hanzel ($3900): If anyone is due for a decent scoring game on this slate, it’s Martin Hanzel. Hanzel hasn’t hit the scoresheet in ten straight games but has been playing well over 15 mins a night for the Coyotes and is still seeing time on the power-play. Hanzel is still getting a few shots through every night and does contribute occasionally with blocked shots too, so he’s not putting up fantasy bagels, and against the Flames, who are awful defensively, the idea of him getting a cheap assist or even a goal isn’t that hard to imagine given his role on special teams. I’d target him if you need a cheap centre, he can’t go scoreless the rest of the year can he?
“Shaw’s a good way to get exposure to the Blackhawks forwards…”
Andrew Shaw ($4300): Shaw is sometimes forgotten about in Chicago, but the young forward has been spending most of his time on the first line for the Blackhawks, playing alongside Jonathan Toews and newly acquired Andrew Ladd. Shaw isn’t a huge point producer, but in a matchup tonight with the Dallas Stars, who tend to give up as many goals as they score, I like targeting Shaw as a sort of contrarian play at wing. Shaw’s a good way to get exposure to the Blackhawks forwards in the game with the highest expected total on the slate.
Also check out: The Flames Michael Ferland ($3000)
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries. Be sure to follow injury news throughout the day.
- Jakub Voracek is out tonight for the Flyers
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson is questionable for the Coyotes
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions!