The NHL schedule is packed Thursday with 26 teams in action. All playoff spots are clinched in the Western Conference, while two post-season berths in the Eastern Conference remain up for grabs for the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. There are plenty of high-intensity rivalry games chock full of great fantasy talent, including the Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals, New York Islanders at New York Rangers and, most importantly, the Bruins taking on the Red Wings with major playoff implications on the line. Owners have nearly the entire register of NHL players to choose from tonight. Here are a few that could have you rolling in the dough.
Henrik Lundqvist – NYR vs. NYI – $8,500 – World-class goaltenders like Lundqvist can be depended upon at crunch time. Considering how important the Rangers-Islanders game is tonight regarding playoff positioning, owners would be smart to spend the money on The King at home. Lundqvist boasts a 22-5-3 record with a 2.26 goals-against average through 31 home games this year and is 29-16-6 with five shutouts and 2.19 GAA in 52 career games against the Islanders. There are a bunch of bargain-priced goalies out there that could help gain big fantasy points, but with Lundqvist appearing to be in full-on playoff mode already, it’s better off to just stick with what works.
Keith Kinkaid – NJ vs. TB – $7,500 – The 26 year-old faces the Tampa Bay Lightning at home tonight, where he is 5-3-0 with a 2.38 GAA in eight games this season. The young goaltender is 9-8-1 on the season, and he will look to reach double-digit wins tonight. Facing Tampa Bay seems difficult, but without Steven Stamkos, they aren’t nearly as intimidating. The Lightning have lost 2 out of 3 games since Stamkos went down for the year, so it’s clear that they aren’t as deadly without him. Kinkaid will have a decent shot at the win tonight, and he makes for a pretty good value play.
Others to Consider: Tuukka Rask ($8,300), Kari Lehtonen ($7,400) or Antti Niemi ($7,300), Martin Jones ($7,200)
Alex Pietrangelo– STL vs. CHI – $6,100 – Rivalry games usually bring out the best in players and especially when that player is on a team that is fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference. Owners can save a good chunk of change with Pietrangelo as the veteran is in the midst of a three-game point streak with two goals, three assists and 11 shots on goal over that span. Pietrangelo has also been good against the Chicago Blackhawks in his career with 21 points (two goals, 19 assists) in 31 games.
Roman Josi – NSH vs. ARI – $7,200 – The Predators are one of five teams from the Central Division going to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs and draw a favorable matchup tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. Josi has already eclipsed career highs with 59 points and 46 assists through 80 games and needs just two more goals and five more SOG to tie career highs in those respective categories. Playoff positioning has not yet been determined for Nashville, so owners should expect a full effort at home against Arizona. Josi will try for a three-game point streak with two assists, nine blocked shots and six SOG in the past two games.
Others to Consider: Kevin Shattenkirk ($6,900), Shayne Gostisbehere ($6,400), Tyson Barrie ($5,800), Keith Yandle ($5,100), Cam Fowler ($4,700)
Aleksander Barkov, C – FLA vs. OTT – $6,900 – No one is expecting the Panthers to lie down now that they clinched the Atlantic Division title. Owners should not hesitate to slot in Barkov as their top center since the young Finn is not likely to garner top ownership due to the deep player pool. Barkov is in the midst of a seven-game point streak (including an active four-game goal streak), with five goals, six assists and 22 SOG over that span. Carrying momentum into the playoffs is very important for the inexperienced Panthers and owners can definitely benefit from the favorable matchup at the Ottawa Senators.
Rick Nash, LW – NYR vs. NYI – $6,000 – The bad news is that Nash is in the middle of a three-game pointless streak, but the good news is that the past three games in which he has registered a point have all been goals. The price is right to take the risk on the veteran winger, considering that Nash has 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) and 95 SOG in 24 career games against the Islanders and will no doubt be inspired Thursday playing in a game that has such a great impact on the Metropolitan Division playoff race.
Others to Consider: Sidney Crosby ($8,200), Claude Giroux ($7,200), Artemi Panarin ($6,400), Andrew Ladd ($5,300), Alex Galchenyuk ($5,100)