The NHL Cheat Sheet is your nighty look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate.

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Totals and Biggest Favorite

Biggest Favorite: The NY Islanders are -180 favorites to beat the Arizona Coyotes

Largest Totals: The Red Wings/Senators is pegged as the game most likely to go over 5.5 goals according to odds makers

Stud Goalies

Jaroslav Halak ($7400): Halak has been very solid over the past couple of weeks and his save percentage is now a gaudy .926 on the year. While the Arizona Coyotes aren’t the joke offensively they have been in years past they’re still not a powerhouse and will be in tough versus Halak tonight who has allowed 2 or less goals in 5 out of his last 6 games. Halak can be streaky but when he’s playing well he’s a legitimate number one and not someone I’d target skaters against. Consider him for your lineups tonight and don’t go overboard on any Coyotes skater.

Dud Goalies

Eddie Lack ($6300): Lack hasn’t been great this year for the Hurricanes and will be starting in net tonight versus the Anaheim Ducks. Over four appearances Lack has posted a save percentage of under .900 every time he’s seen the ice and has let in some pretty questionable goals. The Ducks aren’t exactly an offensive powerhouse right now but they still have a pretty mean first unit powerplay and a couple of really skilled forwards. I’d definitely target some of the Ducks tonight for my lineups and avoid rostering Lack under any circumstance, he’s been one of the worst backups in the league thus far in 2015-16.

Hottest Lines

John Tavares ($8100) – Brock Nelson ($4100) – Kyle Okposo ($5900)

This line is up to 9 points in their last three games and has been producing nicely ever since joining together. Pairing Nelson on this line with Tavares and the steady Okposo has seemingly worked out well for all involved. While Okposo and Tavares are generally paired together on the PP together Nelson is still worth using and might be a great value play tonight too since he’s more of a shoot first type player and has seen a rise in his SOG since joining this line. I like using all three together in tournies as the Islanders have a decent matchup versus the streaky Mike Smith and the Coyotes and getting at least a piece of this line in any lineup is definitely a good idea, one or all could have big nights.

Top Upside at Defense

Johnny Boychuk ($5500): Boychuk has really picked up his game of late and now has recorded 16 shots on net over his three games… good for 2.5 fantasy points every night on DK alone. This type of production is extremely valuable and the fact Boychuk plays a lot of minutes and gets a lot of time on the PP means he’s literally a threat to produce in every category every night. Boychuck is the fifth most expensive defenseman tonight but his production has been on par or better than pretty much anyone of late. He’s once again got my vote if you’re paying up on D and has a nice matchup too against Arizona.

Jeff Petry ($3700): There’s really not a ton of super cheap defensemen I like so I think you’re best bet tonight is to pay up a little bit and get one for under 4k. Petry has been seeing more time on the PP for MTL of late and is also recording a lot of SOG. He’s a pretty underrated skater too and can get involved in the rush at even strength from time to time as well. At $3700 I really like the fact he plays quite a few minutes and has been consistent in putting up SOG and blocked shots every night. Good value with decent upside too.

Superstar to Build Lineups Around

Vladimir Tarasenko ($7700): Tarasenko has been heating up recently and now has two goals and three points in his last two games. I really like the matchup versus the Jets tonight who have been struggling defensively of late and could will have problems stopping Tarasenko from at least getting some quality chances. Tarasenko is 7th in the league on SOG so far this year and also has one of the highest shooting percentages amoung top line players in the entire league. This is a big game waiting to happen versus the Jets who have given up over 3 goals or more in each of their last 5 games. He’s my must play for Monday.

Best Value Plays

Rickard Rakell ($3200): Rakell has been playing on the Ducks top line ever since he returned from injury and has been producing with 3 points and 8 shots in his last two games. With the added production has come more playing time and Rakell is now not only playing at even strength with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf but also seeing time out on the PP with them too. I like the matchup tonight for the Ducks versus the Hurricanes backup goalie and think there’s a good chance we could see some production from their top unit. Don’t be shocked if Rakell gets in on the action and posts a decent game, at $3200 he’s worth the speculation.

Also check out:

Brock Nelson ($4100): see above in line hottest line section

Vincent Trocheck ($4100): With the Panthers Alex Barkov out for an undisclosed period of time the Trocheck has been a force on the PP for the Panthers with three PP goals in his last 9 games and seeing more and more ice time with Florida’s top 6 skaters. He’s great value today too at only $4000.


Alex Barkov: is still out with a hand injury

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