We’re heading into the penultimate weekend of the season and things with many playoff races are still up in the air. Some teams who are fighting to get into playoff positions are playing each other tonight and other are looking to solidify their standing. There are some top teams and players on the ice tonight and some really intriguing value plays as well. Let’s take a look at some of the top and bargain buys for today’s docket of games:
Brian Elliott – STL vs BOS – $8,600 – Elliott picked up the win Tuesday night against the Avalanche stopping 20 of the 21 shots that came his way. The goal at the end of the first period was his first goal allowed in over three games, snapping a nearly 200-minute scoreless streak. He’s now won all four of his starts since returning from injury and has won nine-straight decisions dating back to mid-February. He is the best goalie in the league at the moment and continues to improve his league-leading numbers in both GAA and SV%. He faces a struggling Bruins team tonight who are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, scoring more than two goals in a game just twice in those 10 contests. Roll Elliott every night until he cools off.
Scott Darling – CHI @ WPG – $7,800 – Darling has stepped into a tough situation and done an admirable job taking over the crease duties for the injured Corey Crawford and trying to steer the Blackhawks to a division title and into the playoffs. Crawford isn’t expected back until perhaps the playoffs and Darling will get the nod tonight against the Jets. He blanked the Jets two weeks ago in Winnipeg for his lone shutout of the season and has been solid as of late allowing only six goals against in his last three games total. The Blackhawks, despite missing Duncan Keith and being streaky lately, will get Brent Seabrook back to help fortify the blueline tonight and with Winnipeg ranking in the bottom-seven in both scoring offense and defense in the league this should be a solid matchup for Darling to pick up the win.
Others to Consider: Braden Holtby ($8,700), John Gibson/Frederik Andersen ($8,000/$7,900)
John Carlson – WAS @ COL – $5,700 – Carlson is beginning to find his offensive form again after missing extended time this year because of injuries. He has two points in his four games back but it’s his all-around game that has done it as of late. In his four games back he has 16.5 fantasy points thanks to his two points but also 11 SOG and 12 blocked shots. He has increased his TOI in each game back and is seeing time running the Caps power-play as well. Against the Avs this season he has a goal in their only prior meeting, making Carlson a top defensive option tonight.
Matt Dumba – MIN @ DET – $4,300 – Dumba gets forgotten sometimes on the Minnesota blueline playing with the likes of Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon, but he is quickly developing into a solid offensive piece of the Wild future. His offensive output isn’t at an elite level yet, but he is a solid contributor for such a young age. His 26 points are third for Wild d-men but are a new high for the 21-year-old. He has managed to find the scoresheet in each of his last two games, picking up assists against the Blackhawks and Senators. He played an impressive 26+ minutes last night, over 10 minutes of action more than his season average as Dumba played a large chunk of the game with top-pair defenseman Ryan Suter. He could be in line for more playing time after a solid outing last night and is a good value on a limited night among defenders.
Shea Theodore – ANH vs VAN – $3,800 – I wrote about Theodore earlier in the week and he has looked very solid since he was re-called by the Ducks last week. He has averaged over 20 minutes per game in his three games back up in the NHL and on Wednesday he notched a goal on his lone shot of the game and added a blocked shot on top against the Flames. Theodore is slotted into the second pair with Cam Fowler and will continue to see big minutes going forward with the Ducks in a tight division race.
Others to Consider: Kevin Shattenkirk ($6,900), Dustin Byfuglien ($6,500), Ryan Suter ($6,000), Brent Seabrook ($5,800), Mike Green ($5,200), Niklas Kronwall ($4,000)
Alex Steen, C – STL vs BOS – $6,100 – Steen stepped right back into the lineup for the Blues on Tuesday night and picked up right where he left off a month ago before his went down with an injury. In only a few shifts on February 20 before getting hurt, Steen had a multi-point game and his first game back on Tuesday night he followed that up by posting two assists, both on the PP, with two shots and a block. He slotted into the second line center role on Tuesday night and should see that continue playing with long-time linemate David Backes..
Erik Haula, C – MIN @DET – $4,200 – Another player I wrote about earlier this week who is just not cooling off. All Haula does lately is score. The young Minnesota center is currently riding a 10-game point streak that has seen him put up five goals and six assists, including a multi-point game Tuesday against the Blackhawks and a goal last night against the Senators. He has picked up his shooting numbers with 10 SOG in his last three games and 23 shots on his 10 game streak, he previously had 70 shots in his first 62 games of the season. He is massively out-playing his current $4,200 price tag and should be a must-start tonight in any lineups.
Mikkel Boedker – COL vs WAS – $5,000 – Boedker was having a solid season playing for a bad Arizona team but he could turn out being one of the steals of the deadline if the Avs climb their way into the playoffs. The 26-year-old winger had put up 39 points for the Coyotes has settled in very well with Colorado so far and in 13 games in the “Mile High” city posting three goals and seven assists. Boedker has done the most damage as of late with points in six of his last seven games, putting up seven of his 10 points with the Avs in that run. He is heavily involved in the Avs offense and despite a tough matchup tonight against the Caps, the Avs could catch a break and miss Braden Holtby if the Caps decide to rest their Vezina-leading netminder.
Jamie McGinn, LW – ANH vs VAN – $4,500 – Not many, if any, would have seen this breakout from McGinn this season as he has now set a new career-high in points with 39 and a cracking the 20-goal barrier for the first time in his career as well. Largely looked at as a bottom-six forward McGinn is getting a prime chance playing on the wing of one of the best playmakers in the league on a line with Ryan Getzlaf. McGinn is currently riding a four-game point streak with two multi-point games, three goals, three assists, a +6 rating and14 SOG. It has been an impressive streak and when you factor in the three other games in his last 10 that he has points, he’s found the scoresheet in seven of eight and has nine points overall. The Ducks have a very solid matchup against the Canucks tonight who are coming off a win last night against the Sharks and Anaheim will likely draw Jacob Markstrom, who has allowed seven goals against in his last two starts.
Others to Consider: Alex Ovechkin ($8,500), Patrick Kane ($8,300), Vladimir Tarasenko ($7,400), Ryan Getzlaf ($6,800), Zach Parise ($7,100), Evgeny Kuznetsov ($6,500), Pavel Datsyuk ($6,300), Mark Scheifele ($6,200), Ryan Kesler ($5,400), Mikko Koivu ($4,900), Tomas Tatar ($4,700), Henrik Sedin ($4,600), Troy Brouwer ($4,100), Andrew Cogliano ($3,500), Anthony Mantha ($3,500).
Make sure to check out the Cheat Sheet and NHL Line Stacks posts today and as always for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey