The NHL Cheat Sheet is your quick-hit daily look into lines, fantasy studs, value picks, and more to help you navigate your DFS Hockey lineups.
– Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames – 5.5
– Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres – 5
– Colorado Avalanche vs. Vancouver Canucks – 5
Semyon Varlamov – COL @ VAN – $8,000: The market is thin when it comes to goalies tonight with some high-profile teams, and a few teams are coming off games last night, starting backup goalies. There are a few big name goalies who are on the bench tonight and other starters who have been shaky-at-best lately. Varly is the most expensive goalie on the night who is confirmed to be starting and he has been solid in his last three outings for the Avs. Yes, he is coming off allowing three goals against to the Jets in a loss on Saturday night but overall, in his last three games, that game included, he is 2-1-0 and has only allowed four goals against while posting a shutout against the Ducks. It will be Varlamov vs. Ryan Miller in a battle of goalies who have combined for a 2.67 GAA on the season but Varly has been playing well as of late and I’d pay up for him over some of the other top backups going tonight.
Top Line of the Night
The Blackhawks have been struggling offensively lately and have been struggling to put W’s in the win column in the month of March with a 2-4-0 record in the month so far. I like this line tonight to snap out of their funk and begin to gel heading down the playoff stretch. This will only be the third game this line is together, so their early struggles are understandable, but in their two games together they have combined to put 12 shots on goal. Toews has been held scoreless his last two games after having points in seven of his previous eight outings. Ladd opened with points in four of his first five games in a Chicago uniform before being held scoreless his last two, as well. Hossa is only two games into his return from a month on the injured list, but has not lost his shooting touch, putting seven SOG so far since returning. I like this line, and the Blackhawks as a whole, to break out of their slump against a tired Philly team that played last night in Philadelphia.
Top Upside at Defense
Mark Giordano – CGY vs WPG – $7,300: Giordano remains one of the top producing defensemen in the league and is a key cog of the high-powered offense that the Flames are capable of playing. He has been especially solid as of late with seven points in his last six games. He had a four-game point streak snapped on Friday against the Coyotes but picked right back up on Monday night with a goal and an assist against the Blues, while adding a block and three shots. Both points came on special teams, one power-play goal and one short-handed assist. Going against the Jets on Wednesday night is a formidable matchup for Giordano and the Flames in what could turn into a high-scoring matchup, making him a top defensive play tonight.
Mark Barberio – MON @ BUF – $2,900 – Barberio has stepped in and handled the responsibility left by P.K. Subban’s injury swimmingly so far. He pushed his point streak to three games, four in his last five, with an assist on the Habs only goal last night by Alex Galchenyuk. It was his second consecutive game of playing well over 20 minutes of ice time, and with a favorable scoring matchup tonight against the Sabres and Barberio playing on the Habs top pair, he is receiving plenty of opportunities to see production.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW – STL @ EDM – $7,400: Fresh off being named the NHL #1 star for last week after posting six points in three games, Tarasenko was held in check on Monday night against the Flames while putting up two SOG. The Blues sniper is now up to 33 goals on the season, tied for fifth in the league with Tyler Seguin, and he could potentially break his career high of 37 that he set last season in 77 games. Tarasenko has a very strong matchup tonight when the Blues travel to square off against the Oilers in Edmonton. So far this season in two previous matchups with Edmonton, Tarasenko has had their number putting up two goals and seven shots.
Marko Dano, C – WPG @ CGY – $3,300: After the Andrew Ladd trade that brought him over from the Blackhawks, Dano has settled in nicely within the Jets lineup now that he is receiving the chance to get adequate and consistent playing time. It took Dano a handful of games to find his way, but now that he has the production that was hyped about Dano in the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks systems is beginning to show through. In his last four games Dano has put up three goals and two assists and is coming off his best game of the season on Monday night against the Canucks with two goals and an assist. The Jets face off against the Flames in a matchup of bottom-10 scoring defenses, which means Dano and the Jets will have a very favorable fantasy matchup to see production.
“In his last four games [Gagner] has two goals, two assists, two PPP and six SOG“
Sam Gagner, C – PHI @CHI – $3,400: Gagner has taken over for Jakub Voracek on the Flyers second line flanking Sean Couturier on the RW and has found success there. He has been in and out of the Flyers lineup all season but he has had decent production when he has found himself on the ice with 14 points in 38 games. In his last four games he has two goals, two assists, two PPP and six SOG. He comes in at $3,400 making him a very solid value play against the Blackhawks and their backup Scott Darling who has posted a 2.57 GAA on the year.
Dustin Byfuglien, D – WPG @ CGY – $6,700 Big Buff practiced with the Jets fully on Tuesday after being forced to miss their game on Monday night with an illness. He is still listed as day-to-day, but with his return to practice on Tuesday, it bodes well for a return against the Flames tonight.
P.K. Subban, D – MON @ BUF – $6,200 Subban will miss yet another game for the Canadiens tonight, as he is still dealing with the residual effects of the neck injury he sustained last week. Mark Barberio has filled in admirably for the Habs in his spot, and for at least one more game, Subban will be out of the Montreal lineup.