As usual for a Tuesday, it’s a busy night on the ice in the NHL this evening. Today’s NHL game breakdown will dive into each of the eleven games on the schedule and highlight some of the better (and worse) options for your DFS hockey lineups.



Vancouver Canucks @ Boston Bruins

Vegas Line: No Line Posted


Game Analysis

After shutting out the New York Islanders on Long Islander Sunday, the Canucks continue their grueling schedule of road games as they head to Beantown to take on the Boston Bruins. On the surface, the 4-0 victory over the Islanders is quiet impressive, but take it with a grain of salt as they were outshot 37-24 and lost their starting goalie (Ryan Miller) in the process. This is a tough matchup for the Canucks, and one that I’ll likely be avoiding. They rely heavily on the Sedin brothers to produce offensively, and unfortunately for them, they’ll be shadowed by the Bergeron/Marchand line all night. They’re still talented enough to warrant GPP consideration, but there are safer cash game options. Aside from the Sedin twins, the only other player’s I’d consider targeting are Zack Kassian, Radim Vrbata and Yannick Weber. Kassian plays the third wheel alongside the Sedin’s on the Canucks top scoring line, and has also seen extended run on the top power-play recently. Also on the top power-play is sniper Radim Vrbata and a solid value option on the blue-line in Yannick Weber. With Alex Edler out of the lineup, Weber scored a goal on Sunday and logged over three minutes of playing time on the point of the #1 power-play unit.

After dropping six straight games and just barely hanging onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, did Boston save their season on Sunday? The Bruins walked into the United Center and defeated the Blackhawks 6-2, reminding their Eastern Conference foes that they’re still a threat. This team is much better than their record indicates, so I’m certainly not expecting the Canucks to be able to roll past them like they did two weeks ago in Vancouver. With Bergeron, Marchand and Reilly Smith primarily focused on locking down the Sedin line, Boston will be looking for its other forward lines to pick up the slack offensively. With David Krejci likely out once again, Ryan Spooner should once again find himself centering Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak on the Bruin’s second scoring line. Spooner has tallied 46 points in 49 games for AHL Providence this season and saw over three minutes of power-play time against the Blackhawks. At the minimum price, he’s one of the better “punt” plays of the night. My preferred targets on Boston tonight come from their blue-line. Both Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug man the point of the Bruins top power-play and continue to pile up points


Players to Watch:
  • Dougie Hamilton
  • Tuukka Rask
  • Daniel Sedin


Buffalo Sabres @ Columbus Blue Jackets

Vegas Line: CBJ (-260), O/U 5


Game Analysis

I’ll keep it short and sweet regarding Buffalo; they’re terrible. Even against a defensively challenged Blue Jackets team they’re just not fantasy relevant outside of a complete flier in a GPP. With that said, they have been playing much tighter defense lately, so stacking against them is not quite as appealing as it was several weeks ago (although it’s still rather appealing).

In my cash games, I’ll be hard pressed to avoid some exposure to the Blue Jackets tonight. Not only is Buffalo potentially the worst team in the league (perhaps ever) by Corsi standards, but they’ve also allowed an ugly 3.89 goals against per game on the road and sport the league’s worst penalty kill. Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen are two of my favorite options today as both players see big minutes on the team’s top power-play unit where they’ve each tallied 20+ power-play points this season. Joining them on that top power-play unit are Scott Hartnell and Mark Letestu, as well as Jack Johnson on the blue-line. All three are also terrific options here. James Visniewski was, somewhat surprisingly, a healthy scratch in their last game and is one of the few guys from Columbus I’d be hesitant to roster tonight.

At just $7,400, Curtis McElhinney is a fine cash game option in net. He sports a 5-2-1 record with a very respectable 2.11 GAA and .937 SV% in eight starts this month.


Players to Watch:
  • Ryan Johansen
  • Nick Foligno
  • Jack Johnson


Arizona Coyotes @ New York Islanders

Vegas Line: No Line Posted


Game Analysis

After being shut out by the New Jersey Devils last night and now in the midst of a six game losing streak, handicapping the Coyotes is fairly easy; avoid them. An argument could be made to target this abysmal New York Islanders penalty kill, and in GPP’s, firing up both Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson could pay off but that’s the extent of recommended exposure to the Coyotes.

The Islanders on the other hand are big favorites by Vegas standards and will likely be rather popular selections tonight. Their top forward line consisting of John Tavares, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey has been on fire and are fairly obvious plays this evening. While I would usually be comfortable targeting their second line here as well (Nielsen, Strome, Grabner), Frans Nielsen is questionable to play, and his absence would really shift the entire offensive burden back to the Tavares line. On defense, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk remain viable fantasy options, but it’s been Travis Hamonic who has run away with the job on the point of the team’s top power-play unit, and he’s an excellent play tonight against the Coyotes 26th ranked penalty kill. Hamonic has scored one goal and added eight assists in just 12 games this month and is still fairly reasonably priced at $4,300.

Jaroslav Halak shutout these Coyotes in their only other meeting and sports an impressive 19-7-0 record at the Nassau Coliseum this season. He’s a rock solid cash game option in net.


Players to Watch:
  • John Tavares
  • Travis Hamonic
  • Anders Lee


Philadelphia Flyers @ Carolina Hurricanes

Vegas Line: CAR (-120), O/U 5.5


Game Analysis

Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia Flyers have picked up at least one point in 12 of their last 13 games and are now well within striking distance for one of the Eastern Conference’s Wild Card playoff spots. Tonight they’ll head to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes for the third time this season. These teams have split the first two contests, but the Hurricanes have dropped four of their last six games and find themselves in the cellar of the Metropolitan Division.

Vegas is expecting the Flyers to get two points here, but don’t get too carried away. Somewhat surprisingly, no team in the NHL has allowed fewer goals against on home ice than the Hurricanes. The biggest fantasy news regarding the Flyers is that, after several weeks of treading water, Craig Berube finally split up the dynamic offensive duo of Voracek and Giroux. The moves seems to have worked as Giroux scored his first goal since the All-Star break on Sunday and Voracek has picked up a goal and added a pair of assists over the last three games. Wayne Simmonds now joins Giroux (and Michael Raffl) on the Flyers top scoring line, and he’s been their most consistent scorer lately; scoring six goals and picking up four assists in nine games this month. On defense, Mark Streit leads the way with 8 goals and 30 assists this season, but it’s been Michael Del Zotto making noise lately, as he’s picked up a pair of goals and added three assists over the last five games.

As for the Hurricanes, you’ll want to focus on their power-play, if you choose to go that route, as the Flyers enter tonight’s game sporting the league’s 28th ranked penalty kill (76.5%). Eric Staal spearheads the ‘Canes #1 power-play unit, and he’s found the back of the net in both previous meetings with the Flyers this season. The once very dangerous, and now just very cheap, Alexander Semin picked up an assist and saw some extended minutes on the power-play against the Devils on Saturday Night. Jeff Skinner, Elias Lindholm, and Jordan Staal also see plenty of time with the man advantage, but Eric Staal remains the only real cash game option. On the blue line, Justin Faulk actually leads this team in points and is a solid contributor, but his $5,300 asking price is a bit of a turn-off.


Players to Watch:
  • Claude Giroux
  • Wayne Simmonds
  • Michael Del Zotto


Montreal Canadiens @ St. Louis Blues

Vegas Line: STL (-155), O/U 5


Game Analysis

In what could be a preview of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Canadiens will look to stay atop the Eastern Conference and escape St. Louis with two points. However, they’ll have their hands full as they invade the Scottrade Center where the Blues own a 22-7-2 record this season. The Canadiens skated to a 4-1 victory when these teams met back in November, but the game was much closer than the score may indicate.

Montreal’s Max Pacioretty carries the offensive load for the Habs and scored a pair of goals in the first meeting, so he’s always an acceptable target. However, with an asking price of $8,800, some severe home vs. road splits, and likely seeing a full dose of the very defensively sound David Backes line, I’ll be staying away. Alex Galchenyuk missed Saturday’s game with the flu and is questionable once again tonight. Dale Weise has been quiet lately, but he scored a goal against the Blues in their first meeting. He has the luxury of playing alongside Pacioretty on the team’s top scoring line and has picked up three goals and three assist over the last ten games. For just $2,700, he’s an acceptable “punt” option. Defensively, the Canadiens really only have two attractive options (especially with Gonchar out). However, both Markov and Subban are fairly expensive, and it’s tough to justify their price-tags in this tough matchup.

As for St. Louis, they’ve had a fairly uneventful home stand thus far, and it seems that they’re really missing Kevin Shattenkirk’s presence on the blue-line. The Oshie, Backes, Steen line is more the capable of producing offensively, and considering their very reasonable asking prices, are viable options here, despite the tough matchup. With that said, they should be more focused on playing a sound defensive game. I don’t expect this game to be a shootout by any means, but if I’m targeting anyone it’s going to be the STL Line of Schwartz, Tarasenko, and Lehtera. Tarasenko scored the Blues only goal against the Habs in that first meeting and has two goals and two assists in the last two games. He owns 17 goals and 17 assists in just 31 home games. Alex Piertangelo has picked up Shattenkirk’s minutes on the team’s top power-play unit but hasn’t produced much. With Montreal sporting an 85.5% penalty kill, he’s better served as a GPP flier.


Players to Watch:
  • Vladimir Tarasenko
  • Alex Steen
  • Carey Price


Colorado Avalanche @ Nashville Predators

Vegas Line: NSH (-190), O/U 5


Game Analysis

These two teams will square off for the fourth time this season, with Nashville having won two of the first three games. The Avalanche may be entering Music City having scored nine goals during their current two game winning streak, but they’ll be hard-pressed to get many pucks by Pekka Rinne tonight. Not only do the Predators sport a 25-3-1 record on home ice this season, but they’ve allowed just 2.07 goals per game in the process. To make things worse for opponents, the recent acquisitions of Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli will only make them a better defensive squad. Nathan MacKinnon erupted for a hat trick in his last outing, but his $8,000 price tag is just too much to cough up in this tough matchup. His linemate, Gabriel Landeskog, brings a six game point streak into tonight’s game, but his price-tag seems a bit too high here as well. Defensively, with Erik Johnson M.I.A., there’s just not much to like.

Nashville is obviously a big favorite here, and there’s plenty of value to be had tonight from their roster. Both of their top two forward lines have proven to be very capable of putting up solid offensive numbers. Pekka Rinne and some of their defensemen all carry reasonable asking prices. Nashville’s top four defensemen can rival any team in the NHL, and all four (Weber, Josi, Franson, and Jones) log big minutes on the power-play and are very solid cash game options tonight.


Players to Watch:
  • Roman Josi
  • Filip Forsberg
  • Pekka Rinne


Dallas Stars @ Winnipeg Jets

Vegas Line: WPG (-140), O/U 5.5


Game Analysis

Winnipeg has taken two of the first three meetings against Dallas thus far this season, and with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, this is a game they simply can’t afford to lose. The Tyler Seguin-less Stars enter tonight’s game having lost three straight games, and they’re one bad week away from being sellers at next week’s trade deadline. Breaking down their fantasy outlook is rather simple lately; target John Klingberg on defense and Spezza/Benn up front. Winnipeg’s 19th ranked penalty kill shouldn’t scare you off, and the Jets have been atrocious in their own end lately, allowing 20 goals over their last five games.

Obviously, this is a huge game for Winnipeg, and it would be a bit surprising to see them lay an egg in front of their home fans tonight. Dallas has been allowing football-type scores to their opponents lately and has coughed up an ugly 3.31 goals against per game this season on the road. Target the Jets top two forward lines here with confidence; they’re all reasonably priced, and all six players see plenty of run on the Winnipeg power-play. Dustin Byfuglien, listed as a defenseman on DraftKings, has been shifted back to forward to play alongside Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford in practice lately, so he’s a tough fade in your cash games. On the blue-line, Tobias Enstrom is a former 50 points performer and looks to be finding his groove, and newly acquired Tyler Myers has now picked up points in four straight games.


Players to Watch:
  • Blake Wheeler
  • Dustin Byfuglien
  • Jamie Benn


Edmonton Oilers @ Minnesota Wild

Vegas Line: MIN (-280), O/U 5.5


Game Analysis

Minnesota cruised to an easy 4-0 shutout victory when these teams squared off last week and have won both prior meetings this season, so they may be popular selections tonight. Edmonton has now dropped four of their last five games and have surrendered 21 goals in the process. The Oilers have officially thrown their hat into the Connor McDavid sweepstakes and really have no true incentive to win games at this point. They’ve won just 7 of their 31 road games thus far this season and shouldn’t be targeted as anything more than GPP fliers tonight against a goalie who has already defeated them FIVE times this season, who sports a 9-1-1 record with a 1.63 GAA and .939 SV% in 11 starts this month.

Picking on Edmonton has been a recipe for success all season, and things shouldn’t be much different tonight. Only the Buffalo Sabres are allowing more goals per game on the road (3.50) this season than the Edmonton Oilers, and the Wild have won 11 of their last 13 games. Zach Parise is a clear top tier option and well worth the $8,200 investment. He tallied a pair of assists against the Oilers in their last meeting and lit the lamp twice on Sunday. He’s centered by the offensively gifted Mikael Grandlund who racked up three points on Sunday against Dallas and has six points over the last five games. Other solid cash game options are Jason Pominville, Mikko Koivu, and Thomas Vanek, who all team up with Parise as forwards on the team’s top power-play unit. Pominville sports some drastic home vs. road splits, and, despite being eerily quiet lately, seems like a bargain at $4,700. Ryan Suter is the team’s biggest workhorse and easily the most reliable fantasy option from their blue-line.


Players to Watch:
  • Devan Dubnyk
  • Zach Parise
  • Ryan Suter


Florida Panthers @ Chicago Blackhawks

Vegas Line: CHI (-205), O/U 5


Game Analysis

Heading to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks is never an easy task, but heading to Chicago to take on an angry version of the Blackhawks is downright scary. After a 6-2 drubbing by the hands of the Boston Bruins on Sunday, the Blackhawks have now dropped three straight games for the first time this season. Tonight’s game happens to be the front half of a home-and-home series against with the Florida Panthers, and I agree with Vegas that this could be a long night for the Panthers.

The Panthers have been clobbered in back-to-back games and outside of Aaron Ekblad, and perhaps Nick Bjugstad, there just aren’t many appealing fantasy options on this team right now. The matchup is terrible, and the Panthers are averaging just 1.43 goals per game over their last seven games. I, along with the majority of other users, will happily play the fade here.

As for Chicago, we pretty much know what we’re dealing with by now; both of their top two scoring lines can be offensively destructive. While the Saad, Toews, Hossa line is often asked to play tough minutes against opposing team’s top offensive weapons, that won’t really be the case tonight against the Panthers. Florida enters the game sporting an ugly 79.1% penalty kill, so feel free to target all six guys. Defensively, it’s Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook that hog nearly all of the power-play minutes, and with both players being very similarly priced, Keith makes the stronger cash game option.

Scott Darling is set to get the start between the pipes for the Hawks, and his $7,000 asking price makes him a viable cash game option in net.


Players to Watch:
  • Patrick Kane
  • Duncan Keith
  • Scott Darling


Detroit Red Wings @ Los Angeles Kings

Vegas Line: No Line Posted


Game Analysis

We knew it was going to happen eventually, but the Los Angeles Kings have officially “gotten their sh*t together” once again. They’ve now rattled off seven straight wins and are by no means a team I’m eager to pick against in DFS hockey right now. Detroit has been playing well lately, but after being in action last night against the Ducks and with Henrik Zetterberg unlikely to play once again, it’s hard to consider any of them overly solid cash game options tonight. I’d expect Anze Kopitar and Pavel Datstyuk to grow quite acquainted with each other in this one, which really limits the fantasy upside of both players. With that said, the Wings do own the league’s best power-play, and the Kings have struggled on the PK (79.2%), which makes anyone on Detroit’s top power-play viable GPP targets.

This is not a game that screams fantasy goodness in my opinion, but if I’m digging for options tonight they’re going to come from the Los Angeles bench. With Kopitar and Datsyuk showing off their defensive prowess against each other, the “That 70’s Line” will be leaned on to carry the offensive load and with 11 goals over their last ten games, they may be happy to oblige. Jeff Carter’s home vs. road splits are rather extreme, and he’s riding a six game scoring streak, so give him a look. Defensively, Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty both routinely log 22+ minutes of ice-time and see the bulk of the playing time on the power-play.


Players to Watch:
  • Jeff Carter
  • Jonathan Quick
  • Tomas Tatar