Last night’s five-game slate gives way to a stack 11-gamer tonight. There are a handful of teams tonight who are on the second night of back-to-backs and some top teams who are on the ice in favorable matchups. There are still a ton of playoff implications on the line and it should be a great night of hockey action. Let’s take a look at some of the top and bargain buys for today’s slate of games.
Braden Holtby – WAS vs NYI – $8,400 – Holtby has weathered the storm from his stretch between February and March when his stats ballooned a bit. He has settled things down and since allowing five goals against the Penguins on March 20 he has only allowed six goals against total in five games since. Holt posted a 4-0-1 in those five games and is on the cusp of tying Martin Brodeur’s regular season wins record (48), sitting on 47 at the moment. Holtby has already been named the starter against the Islanders tonight, who are coming off a win last night in Brooklyn and have to travel to DC, and he has dominated NY over the last two seasons. On the season alone Holtby has not lost to the Islanders and has surrendered only five goals to NY in three matchups. That’s good for a 1.63 GAA and .940 SV%, padding his career stats against the Isles which now stand at 10-1-2, 2.08 and .934. Roll Holtby tonight in his chase for history and a Vezina.
John Gibson – ANH vs WPG – $7,900 – Partnering with Frederik Andersen for a majority of the season, the Ducks net-minding tandem have back-stopped Anaheim to the second-best team GAA in the league. With Andersen nursing a concussion at the moment Gibson has a chance to really take control of the Ducks net going into the playoffs and he has done just that. Andersen has allowed 12 goals in his last three appearances and Gibson has stepped up in his absence going 3-1-0 and allowing a total of five goals against in his last four starts. He is coming off a fantastic outing against the Stars on Sunday, stoning Dallas left and right and stopping 24 of 25 shots coming his way. With four games left in the season the Ducks sit a point ahead of the Kings in the Pacific division with 98 points. He gets the Jets tonight who he has managed to keep in check this season, going 2-0-0 and allowing only three goals against, making Gibson one of the top starters on the night.
Cory Schneider – NJ vs BUF – $7,300 – Schneider is an absolute steal tonight at $7,300 when you consider his last few starts and a month ago before his injury he was in the $8,000 range. He made his return over the weekend against the Lightning and picked right up where he left off despite taking the loss, holding the Lightning to two goals against on 35 shots. The Devils were more competitive than was expected this year and Schneider was a big part of that. He looks to finish the last week of the season strong and it starts tonight against the Sabres, a team he has beaten twice this season and is 5-2-2 against in his career.
Others to Consider: Tukka Rask ($8,300), Roberto Luongo ($8,200), Pekka Rinne ($7,900), Scott Darling ($7,700), James Reimer ($7,300).
Brent Burns – SJ @ MIN – $8,500 – I know what you’re thinking… $8,500 for Burns? Yes, but when you think about it, it makes sense. On a night where Ovechkin, Kane, Pavelski, etc. Burns actually has the highest FPPG of any skater playing tonight, owning a 5.3 FPPG average on the year. He has matched that average over his last 10 games with 10 points, 12 blocks and a fantastic 52 SOG. Burns all-around has had an incredible season shattering career-highs in all major categories. He has 27 goals, 47 assists, 29 PPP, 74 points, 137 blocked shots and 344 SOG. All have blown his previous highs out of the water and the 344 shots, with three games remaining, are 100 better than his previous high and he joins Ovechkin as the only players this year over the 300-shot mark. Burns is riding a six-game point streak and if you are willing to pay up he’s a top option regardless of position tonight.
Kris Letang – PIT @ OTT – $7,200 – Start Letang. Start Crosby (I’ll get to that soon). I wish I could stop there but I will expand on that a bit. The Penguins are good and are the hottest team in the league at the moment, winning 12 of their last 13 games and have jumped into second in the Metro Division. They can’t challenge the Caps, but come the playoffs they will be dangerous. Letang has been one of the key cogs on this team all season but as of late especially. Riding a six-game scoring streak at the moment, Letang has points in eight of his last nine games that has produced three goals, eight assists, 18 blocks and 36 shots on goal. The Penguins go for seven in a row tonight against the Senators and Letang has been dominant against Ottawa on the season with three points and seven SOG in two games.
Aaron Ekblad – FLA @ MON – $4,900 – I wrote about Ekblad last night and he pushed his point streak to three games by putting up his second-consecutive multi-assist game, picking up two helpers against the Maple Leafs and adding three SOG. He is now up to 35 points on the season and is picking up the offense at the right time. The Panthers travel to Montreal for a showdown with the Habs and Ekblad looks to push his streak to four games against a team he has four assists in three games against this season. Roll the young blueliner at a solid price.
Others to Consider: Erik Karlsson ($8,200), Roman Josi ($7,100), Torey Krug ($6,200), Drew Doughty ($6,100), Brent Seabrook ($5,900), Zach Bogosian ($5,100), Justin Schultz ($3,800), Jason Garrison ($3,100).
Sidney Crosby, C – PIT @ OTT – $8,100 – It’s hard to write something that hasn’t been written about Crosby this year. He started badly over the first two months and then has been one of the top scorers in the league since the start of December. When you think Crosby had only nine points through his first 18 games of the year and now he has 82 points in 78 games and sits a solid third in the league in scoring, it’s an incredible thing to see. Crosby has netted half of his points, 41, since the beginning of February and currently has points in nine of his last 10. Crosby has always been a must-start and he is, at this moment, the best player in the league and should be strongly considered for your lineup.
Joe Thornton, C – SJ @ MIN – $5,800 – Thornton is having a fantastic season for the Sharks. Thornton has hit the 60-assist mark for the eighth time in his future HOF career. The playmaking center was one of the top-10 scorers of the month in the league for the month of March, posting 16 points in as many outings. He’s riding a four-game point streak and has points in eight of his last 10 games overall. The Sharks are one of the best teams in the West and Thornton, along with Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl, is part of one of the best scoring lines in the league. He may not be as old as Jaromir Jagr, but he is proving that age is but a number, and he can still be an incredibly productive player. At $5,800 he is a great value tonight for your lineups and should easily be a top center consideration.
Artem Anisimov, C – CHI vs ARI – $4,700 – When you think of the season that his linemates have had, Anisimov gets overlooked a lot despite having a solid year. Fresh off missing two games, Anisimov came back and has netted points in back-to-back games and picked up a goal and two assists against the Bruins on Sunday. Playing with Kane and Panarin again Anisimov opened the scoring with a PPG and assisted on Kane’s final two goals of his hat-trick. Anisimov is enjoying the second-best offensive output of his career this season with 42 points and with four games left he has a chance to break his previous career high of 44. With four points in his last two games, and two points in two games against the Coyotes this season, Anisimov is a solid value play tonight at a very affordable $4,700.
Blake Wheeler, RW – WPG @ ANH – $7,300 – When you look at his season Wheeler could easily make the case of being one of the most underrated superstar players in the league. This was Wheeler’s breakout season for the Jets, smashing the 70-point barrier for the first time while posting a career-high 50 assists to date. He’s tied with Tyler Seguin for 10th in points and sits fourth in the league in assists. Wheeler is riding an eight-game point streak and has only been kept off the scoresheet once in his last 10 outings. He has gotten to the Ducks this season as well, posting a goal and an assist in two games this year. Like Thornton above, he is playing on one of the more underrated scoring lines in the league and despite the tough matchup tonight against the Ducks he and his linemates are a solid play.
Brad Marchand, LW – BOS vs CAR – $7,100 – Marchand hit a wall with his production with only four points and two goals in his last 11 games. He has had a fantastic and unexpected fantasy season posting career-highs in goals, points and shots on goal. His 36 goals are eight more than he had every posted in a season and his 58 points is only the third time in his career he has hit 50 points. He is an incredibly effective shooter with a 15.1% shooting % for his career and he has kept his numbers that high even though he has shattered his previous high of 180 shots with 237 this year. He has three points in his last three games and has two goals in those games so it seems he is beginning to see the confidence return in his shots. He has a solid matchup tonight in an important game for the Bruins who now find themselves in a race for the Wild Card after being firmly in the division race for most of the season, so expect to see Marchand and Co. leaned on for production tonight.
Others to Consider: Patrick Kane ($8,500), Joe Pavelski ($7,500), John Tavares ($7,400), Patrice Bergeron ($7,400), Johnny Gaudreau ($7,000), Aleksander Barkov ($6,900), James Neal ($6,700), Jeff Carter ($6,400), Brendan Gallagher ($5,900), Jeff Skinner ($5,800), Ryan Kesler ($5,600), Mikkel Boedker ($4,900), Carl Soderberg ($4,700), Chris Kreider ($4,700), Victor Rask ($4,400), Adam Henrique ($4,300), Alex Tanguay ($3,600).
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