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 Blues are -180 favorites to beat the Canucks
- The Lightning are -175 favorites to beat the Coyotes
- The Kings are -170 favorites to beat the Bruins
- The Islanders and Stars have a total of 5.5 goals
- The Canadiens and Senators have a total of 5.5 goals
- The Red Wings and Panthers have a total of 5.5 goals
Ben Bishop ($8000): Lost in all the great teams and players this year it’s easy to forget just how good Bishop has been this season. With the season winding down he’s now put up season long stats of .927 in save percentage and a 2.06 GAA. These are truly elite numbers and with the Lightning scoring more of late his great numbers make him an even better fantasy play than usual. Tonight Bishop’s the likely starter and if so makes for possibly one of the safest plays on the slate against the Coyotes. At 8k he’s cheaper than most elite goalies and not someone I’d rush to use skaters against in any matchup. I’d target Bishop tonight as my goalie in cash games or tournaments and leave the Coyote skaters at home.
Garret Sparks ($6700): The regression has arrived with Sparks, Toronto’s third or forth string goalie (who’s counting any more) who’s taken a larger role down the stretch with the trade of James Reimer. Sparks has allowed three or more goals in each of his last three starts while posting save percentages of .889 or worse. This is a goalie who started out well for Toronto but has come back down to earth lately and now has pretty pedestrian numbers on the year as well. With Toronto’s defense also lacking I’d make Sparks a target for my skaters tonight and roll with some Buffalo forwards where possible.
There’s a couple lines that have been rolling well of late but the one who has been most impressive and possibly the most consistent of late is the Kings top line. Anze Kopitar kept up this lines torrid pace in their last game potting two goals while winger Milan Lucic extended his point scoring streak to eight games. The Bruins got hammered by the Ducks last night and might be in a feisty mood here but will also be on the tail end of back to back games. The Kings have been riding high down the stretch and I think continuing to use this line for fantasy makes sense. I’d make Kopitar a definite target if you’re looking for a higher priced centre and consider pairing him with either or both wingers in tournaments. Kings Players generally aren’t heavily owned and I think this could still be a good line to stack for gpps despite their hot pace of late
Kevin Shattenkirk ($6700): The Canucks take on the Blues tonight and the Blues should be in a pretty sour mood considering they’ve lost two in a row to the cellar dwelling Alberta teams. Vancouver represents another soft opponent however and is coming off a 2-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Oilers themselves. Vancouver has slid down the GAA per game ranks as the season has progressed and as mentioned yesterday is throwing out a lot of AHL call-ups and rookies every night. This is likely to be a statement game from St. Louis and as such I like targeting their QB on the power-play in Shattenkirk. I think Blues offensive players are in a great spot tonight and I’d start getting some exposure to them by thinking about Shattenkirk as a play on the backend.
Kevin Connauton ($3600): The Coyotes are down their best player and best defenseman in Oliver Ekman-Larson right now which means other players are getting a bit of bump in minutes on the backend. One of the biggest beneficiaries of late has been Connauton who possesses a nice shot and has some offensive capabilities. Connauton broke 20 mins played in his last game out and also recorded a power-play point. While I don’t love the matchup versus Ben Bishop tonight I do love the price here and for $3600 think you’re getting a steal with a player who has offensive touch and should feature on special teams most of the night.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Vladimir Tarasenko ($7400): I mentioned above that I thought tonight was a spot you could see the Blues bounce back in a huge way after two disappointing losses. Targeting the Blues best defenseman is certainly a decent idea and pairing him with the Blues best forward is also a good play too. Vladimir Tarasenko has been strong lately, despite his team’s shortcomings and comes into tonight with 33 goals on the season and seven points in his last five games. Against a tired and inexperienced Canucks squad this is a spot where Tarasenko has the ability to put up a monster game and at $7400 won’t break your bank so to speak if you want to roster him. I like the fact Tarasenko is generally safe for at least 3 or more SOG every night and has that big game upside due to his pure goal scoring abilities. I’m not calling for a hat trick but I won’t be shocked if it happens here either.
Nikita Soshnikov ($3900): The young Russian is still the toast of the Leafs end of season run to the first overall pick and has played nicely on the top line for Toronto since being called up. While he was semi-quiet his last time out Soshnikov has recorded multiple SOG in four of his last six games and is seeing very consistent playing time at around 16 minutes a night. The Leafs offense is more miss than hit but against a tired Sabres squad, who isn’t much better defensively than TO, I’d not hesitate to use the Russian as a cheap play on wing tonight. At under 4k he’s good value for what he can bring to the table.
Sam Reinhart ($4300): My favorite play at under $4500 tonight is Sam Reinhart. With all the good young players that came into the league this year it’s easy to forget that Reinhart was a top 5 pick at one point himself and carries tons of offensive skill. With 20 goals on the year already Reinhart is playing well down the stretch with fellow youngster Jack Eichel and is in a great matchup here. I love the price and think it’s a no brainer to use him against the Leafs and goalie Garret Sparks who could be ripe for the plucking tonight.
Also check out: The Senators Jean Gabriel Pageau
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson is out for the Coyotes
- Tyler Seguin is out for the Stars
- Brendan Gallagher is out for the Canadians
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!