Eight games and some really good line stacks available tonight lay the foundation for what should be a great night of hockey action. The Penguins, Stars, and Lightning are just a handful of top teams that are highlighted today, so let’s take a look at some of the top and value stacks on the ice tonight.
Dallas Stars (vs. Montreal)
Despite only having three points between the two of them in their last five games, I love the Stars matchup tonight against the Canadiens for Seguin and Benn. Benn did have a point on Sunday against the Senators, which pushed his team lead in points to 72 on the season. Both Benn and Seguin are still above a point-per-game average through 67 games with Seguin adding 68 points of his own. The duo did light it up against Montreal earlier this season in their lone matchup with the Habs, combining for three goals, two assists and eight SOG. With Patrick Sharp still uncertain to play after missing the last two games with an injury, it has been Ritchie who has filled in on the top line for the Stars the last two games, his first two games of the year. While he has failed to record a point, he has been effective and has not been afraid to shoot the puck, recording three shots on goal in both games. He is one of the top value picks on the evening, so long as he plays with Seguin and Benn.
Pittsburgh Penguins (vs. NY Islanders)
Crosby was my top superstar of the night tonight thanks to his current five-game point streak, with three multi-point games, and his incredible production in his career against the Islanders with 91 points against in 51 career regular season matchups. He is maintaining above a point-per-game average still, with 65 points in 64 games, and is producing as much as anyone in the league. Hornqvist has turned his season around playing with Crosby with 30 points since the second-half of December, after only 12 the first two-plus months of the year. He’s up to 42 points on the year, good for fifth on the team, and has matched Crosby’s last 10 game output of 12 points.
“He is maintaining above a point-per-game average still, with 65 points in 64 games”
Kunitz has been the permanent linemate on this line with Crosby and Hornqvist and should still get chances there. He has been moved around the lineup lately with Scott Wilson seeing some time in that spot as well. Wilson is penciled in the stay there tonight, especially after scoring a goal in the Penguins last game on a feed from Crosby. Expect Kunitz to be in line to get put back here if Wilson sees production dip or doesn’t play well, but right now he Wilson will be the guy on the wing and is a great value pick with the likes of Ritchie and Maroon tonight.
Tampa Bay Lightning (vs. Boston)
The “Triplets” line took the league by storm last season and powered the Lightning to the playoffs and eventually the Stanley Cup final against the Blackhawks. Injuries and inconsistencies have de-railed the production of this line this season after they were one of the only lines in the league last year to have all three members break the 60-point barrier. Kucherov has been leading the way for the team, playing in different situations among the top-six for Tampa this season. Kuch continues to lead the team in points with 54 on the season and is riding a four-game point streak after putting up only two points in his prior six games. Johnson is beginning to heat up at the right time for the Lightning, too, with 10 points in his last 10 games. He too is on his own four-game point streak that has produced three multi-point games and, overall, has points in seven of his last 10 games. Palat only has points in his last three games and eight points in his last 10. This line is one of the most lethal in the league when healthy and clicking, and that is exactly what they are doing right now. They face the Bruins tonight, who, like the Lightning, are on the second night of a back-to-back, and in three games this year, the Triplets have combined for five points against the B’s.
Buffalo Sabres (vs. NY Rangers)
Another young line that looks very formidable is the Sabres top trio at the moment. With the injury to Ryan O’Reilly, Eichel has stepped up into the top-line center role and has not missed a beat, gelling with Kane and Reinhart lately; this line could be scary good. Eichel is having a solid rookie season and hit the 20/20 plateau this season, racking up 20 goals and 25 assists in 67 games. The young center has a goal in each of his last three games for Buffalo, including a multi-point game on Saturday against the Wild, with three points coming on the power play (PP) and putting up 13 shots. Kane has not had the season many were expecting after moving to Buffalo last year via trade, but he has been solid enough. He has five points in his last six games and two multi-point games in his last three. Reinhart has points in each of his last two and three of four overall. All his points have been helpers and he has added seven SOG. The Sabres have a tough home matchup tonight against the Rangers, who are missing Henrik Lundqvist again, but this line will see a lot of time and opportunity to produce against a defense that has surrendered 12 goals against in their last three games to open up March.
Nashville Predators (vs. Winnipeg)
The Predators second line has been the line that has been powering the Predators offense since the trade that brought Ryan Johansen over to Nashville, and Johansen hasn’t been on it. Forsberg has put the Predators offense on his back since the middle of February and has the most goals scored in the league over the last 30 days. He has netted 13 in that time span including 10 in his last 10 games to go along with five assists and 40 shots on goal. Forsberg has nine points in his last four games and is riding back-to-back multi-point games against the Devils and Avs.
“[He] has put the Predators offense on his back since the middle of February and has the most goals scored in the league over the last 30 days”
Ribeiro is one of the better assist men in the league and is proving that in his last 10 games. He has nine helpers in his last 10, and eight of them have come over the course of his last six games, while adding a goal and three power play points. Smith rounds out the trio who are all over 10+ points in their last 10 games. He is riding a four-game point streak, and his one assist game on Saturday, which broke a three-game multi-point streak that he was on. The line is clicking at the moment and is one of the most productive in the league over the last month. They have a fantastic matchup tonight against the defensively weak Jets offense that is bottom-five in the league allowing 2.9 goals against per game.
Edmonton Oilers (vs. San Jose)
Hall saw his production slow in January and early February after 40 points through the first three months but only 14 in January and February. He began to pick things back up late in February and continued that into March with six points in his last nine games, including in his first three games of the month. He’s now up to 57 points in 68 games on the year and is on the cusp of his second-career 60+ point season. Draisaitl has turned into a very good top-six center this season after a sub-par first year last year. He has 46 points on the season playing with Hall, and now has points in his last two games and five in his last 10 games overall.
Maroon is the surprise of the group after spending most of his season in the Ducks bottom-six and putting up 13 points in his first 56 games there. He’s come on strong playing with these two playmaking linemates and has two goals, two assists and 10 SOG with points in all three of his games in an Oilers uniform so far. This line has looked solid and, along with the McDavid line, give the Oilers a solid one-two punch going forward. They face the Sharks tonight, who are coming off a hard-fought OT win last night against the Flames and should draw a favorable matchup against backup James Reimer, who allowed three goals and took the loss in his first game with the Sharks on Saturday.
Make sure to check out my NHL Cheat Sheet and NHL Targets posts today before finalizing your lineups. As always for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey