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 Kings are -240 favorites to beat the Oilers
The Blackhawks v the Flames has the highest probability of going over 5.5 goals
Pekka Rinne ($8200): Rinne has seemed to find his form lately after struggling mightily in the first half of the season. In four straight wins the Preds netminder hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals in a game once and has recorded save percentages of .909 or better in each of these games. For fantasy purposes he’s been money lately as well, getting you at least five points in each of his last five starts. With Nashville playing so well and Columbus being well, Columbus, I think this is an ideal night to use Rinne and avoid using too many Columbus players. While the Blue Jackets offense can be a nice source of value many nights I don’t see them having a great shot at a big game against one of the most consistent goalies in the league over the past two weeks. I’d consider paying up for Pekka in all formats tonight as he provides some piece of mind in net.
Mike Condon ($7300): The Canadians have really struggled since losing their top goalie in Carey Price and while you can’t 100% blame the goalies for this debacle it’s a pretty solid place to start. The Canadians have allowed 3 or more goals in six of their last seven games and Condon has been partially to blame. The Canadians netminder hasn’t posted a save percentage of better than .900 in three of his last four starts and will be facing a Rangers team who is jockeying for position in the very tight Eastern Conference playoff race. I don’t trust the Canadians to suddenly start playing tight defense in this game and as a result don’t really trust Condon either. The Ranger forwards all make for intriguing plays tonight and might be a good source of lower owned tournament options. There’s fantasy upside every night in the team facing Montreal but maybe even more so tonight with Subban out.
These three were my choice for this column last night and they’ve done nothing to lose their grip on this spot after yesterday. This line put together a four-point night in the Lightning’s thrashing of the Islanders and will be back at it against another pretty decent Eastern conference team in the Panthers. The Panthers have certainly been playing more solidly than the Isles of late but it’s still not a matchup I’d shy away from considering how well this line and the Lightning in general are playing. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each have 4 goals scored in their last four games and are dangerous every time they touch the puck right now. And while using both of those players is expensive using one or both with Alex Killorn isn’t as pricy. The winger gets to ride shotgun with these two every night and has been a really consistent source of fantasy points lately recording 3 or more SOG in five of his last six games, while also recording four assists in his last four outings as well. All in all, getting some exposure to this line tonight isn’t a bad idea even in a less than ideal matchup as all three men have been producing consistent fantasy result on a nightly basis.
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($6100): The Coyotes finally got their top defender back a couple of games ago and since his return he’s not missed a beat. Larsson has recorded assists in each of his first two games back and played 25 mins and recorded four SOG in his last game. The Coyote defensemen is one of if not the best young defenseman in the league and gets to face a Flyers team who has a below average penalty kill. The Coyotes really have a pretty decent young group of forwards and defenseman and with nothing to lose have been playing decent hockey down the stretch. Ekman-Larsson is definitely the guy I’d lean towards rostering at the top of the salary charts tonight on D as the Coyotes look to spoil the Flyers post-season plans.
Dan Boyle ($3800): A big part of this pick is the fact the Rangers are playing the Canadians who, on top of being pretty pathetic lately, will also be without the services of their best defender and player in PK Subban. Boyle has been playing between 18 and 20 mins a night for the Rangers of late but still sees a lot of time on the power-play and, even at his advanced age, is capable of racking up a multi-point night. With the Rangers in need of a win to fend off some challengers to their current playoff seeding, I’d expect Boyle to get decent run down the stretch and think he makes for decent play under 4k today. The Canadians make for good targets for forwards and offensive defenseman like Boyle right now.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Claude Giroux ($7200): There’s definitely a lot of ways you could go when thinking about what high priced players you could and should roster tonight but for my money I’ll take Claude Giroux at only $7200. Giroux is a feisty player (especially for one so skilled) and is really trying his best to push Philadelphia into the playoffs. On top of scoring in three straight games Giroux has compiled 17 SOG in his last three games and gets to face off against an Arizona squad who is giving it up in pretty much every offensive category. On top of having one of the worst penalty-kills in the league the Coyotes also allow over 31 SOG per game (6th worst in the league) and make for a ripe target for a guy like Giroux who will see a ton of power-play time and will be playing with a ton of desperation given his teams precarious position. I like the price and think Giroux makes for a great backbone for your teams tonight.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Jamie McGinn ($4100): McGinn has truly been hot fire for the Ducks since being traded to them at the deadline, having scored five times in his last six games, all while playing only 13-15 mins a game most nights. McGinn is definitely taking advantage of the fact that he gets to play with two all-stars in Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf but his production right now is unmatched by any winger who has played alongside those two in the past few years. McGinn’s not a player who gets a ton of SOG or assists, so he’s more of a boom or bust option, but with the Ducks taking on the Senators, who give up lots of SOG and Goals in general, there’s a decent chance McGinn’s hot streak keeps up. He’s great value on the wing tonight for fantasy.
“He’s [Hanzal] not only recorded four points and three goals in his last two games but he’s also got an incredible 11 SOG in that span too”
Martin Hanzal ($4100): I spoke about how the Coyotes make for good targets but truth be told the Flyers don’t make for bad targets either. Philadelphia gives up the fourth most SOG per game in the league (more than ARZ) and make for a decent matchup for your forwards as well. Hanzal is so hot right now that he’s not only recorded four points and three goals in his last two games but he’s also got an incredible 11 SOG in that span too. I love his price and the way the Coyotes have played lately. I think you could see a shootout in Arizona tonight and see a decent fantasy game again from Hanzal (so hot).
Also check out: The Lightnings Jonathan Marchessault ($3100):
**this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula are questionable tonight for the Lightning
PK Subban is out for Montreal
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!