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

  • Biggest Favorite: The Sharks are -240 favorites to beat the Canucks
  • Largest Totals: The Senators v the Maple Leafs has the greatest expectation of going over 5.5 goals.

Stud Goalies

Ben Bishop ($7900): Bishop has now posted wins in his last five starts, a streak which has also seen him post save percentages of .935 or better in every game. After a slow start to the season Bishop’s overall numbers have now approached Vezina territory and at $7900 he’s probably a little too cheap considering how well he and the Lightning are playing. The Lightning play the Hurricanes tonight who just traded away one of their best players in Eric Stall and have struggled to score goals all year. While Bishop may not see many shots, a shutout or one goal performance is certainly possible here and he’ll be in great shape for a W too. As for Hurricane skaters go, I’d fade them completely in this matchup as Bishop is simply at an elite level right now and makes an already poor offense even less appealing for fantasy.

Dud Goalies

Louis Domingue ($6500): The Coyotes have gotten hammered lately, losing seven straight games while allowing 29 goals over that same span. Now down to what seems like their fifth string goalie as their backup the Coyotes have no choice but to play Domingue every night from here on out despite his recent struggles. While the young goalie had a nice mid-season streak his recent play has shown regression and he’s now posted three straight starts with a save percentage of .880 or worse. On top of everything the Coyotes play the very good Florida Panthers who are tenth in goals scored this year and make for a great target tonight given this matchup. If you’re looking to go contrarian at Goalie, look elsewhere and don’t be afraid to get some exposure to the Panthers if possible.

Hottest Lines

Joe Pavelski ($7500) – Tomas Hertl ($5400) – Joe Thornton ($5700)

The Sharks have been on a bit of a roll lately and have now crept all the way up to fourth overall in terms of goals scored as a team. Even more important for this line is the fact that they are the fourth best team with the man advantage in the league, a situation this line thrives in even if they don’t always play together on the PP as a unit. As a trio however these three have put up 13 points across their last three games and get a pretty plum matchup versus the failing Canucks who, like most Canadian teams, have goaltending issues and are already looking ahead to next season. Today is a big slate but I’d still recommend getting a piece of this line if possible. The Sharks offense is rolling and the men on this line have been a big reason why lately, they’re in a good spot to produce again for fantasy here.

Defensive Thoughts

Erik Karlsson ($7900): Do you like points? Do like lots of goals? Well the Leafs and Senators are playing tonight in a matchup of two very bad goalies and two very bad defensive cores. While Karlsson is a member of the Sens D, he’s also their most talented offensive player and is playing over 30 mins a night with Ottawa still in the playoff hunt. While I don’t usually like paying this much for defensemen, I think Karlsson is potentially in for a massive game here given what is at stake for Ottawa and given their very weak opponent. I’d try and leave some room for the PPG defenseman tonight and take advantage of the fact he is being ridden hard down the stretch by his coach

Ryan Murray ($3700): Murray had a pretty decent game last night against the Oilers and has another nice matchup today against the Flyers so I thought I’d leave him here for today’s column. Murray is more of a puck mover than scorer and was over shadowed by his teammate David Savard yesterday who scored twice, that being said Murray is less expensive than Savard and plays quite a bit more on average as well. With the Flyers having a bottom ten penalty killing unit I think Murray makes for a great value play again (he’ll see lots of PP time) and wouldn’t be shy rolling him out if you need some space elsewhere.

Superstar to Build Lineups Around

Claude Giroux ($7300): While Giroux and the Flyers big line was held off the scoresheet in their game versus Edmonton there’s reason to think he’ll bounce back today with a big game. The Flyers get a plum matchup with the Blue Jackets, who are on the tail end of a back to back, and as a team should be hopping mad after getting shutout by the lowly Oilers on Friday. Philadelphia is still in the playoff hunt but needs to win badly here to stay within reach. Giroux was fired up last game (likely due to his team’s poor play) and should be fired up again tonight. Given the fact the Jackets allow a ton of shots and have a below average penalty kill he’s someone I’d want on my roster tonight if possible. The Flyers big line should rebound in this game.

Best Value Plays

Mika Zibanejad ($4500): The Senators are down their top line centre—Kyle Turris—who was playing most of the year injured anyways. Zibanejad has therefore gotten a promotion to top line centre for the Sens and will be centring Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffmann today on a line that has produced some big games together in the past. To round things off for Zibanejad he’ll not only get power-play time tonight, but he’ll also be going up against the Leafs, a team who has lost eight of their last nine games and allowed three or more goals against in seven of their last nine. I think you’re getting a great deal here with Zibanejad who is a great, cheap way to get exposure to Ottawa’s top line.

Lars Eller ($3700): Eller has really picked up his play of late as he’s now scored four or more fantasy points in four of his last five games. With the trade deadline making Montreal thinner up front Eller has benefitted by getting more playing time (from about 15 mins to around 17 mins) and is now seeing consistent time on the power-play as well. The matchup tonight with the Jets certainly isn’t a bad one for Montreal and at his price of well under 4k I think Eller’s actually a great value play. He’s really upped his SOG totals of late and jutst been a more consistent force offensively.

Also check out: The Bruins Lee Stempniak ($4400)

Injuries

This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries

  • Jonathan Huberdeau is out for Florida
  • Jiri Hudler is questionable for Florida
  • Kyle Turris is out for Ottawa

As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!