The lightest night of NHL action this week sees only five games on the docket. Still there are some great matchup and top teams facing off against each other in games that could turn into some high-scoring outings. Players like Kane, Toews, Benn, Tarasenko and more will be on the ice tonight with some solid value plays out there as well. Let’s take a look at some of the top and bargain buys for tonight’s slate of games.
Ben Bishop – TB vs. PHI – $7,800 – Bishop continued his strong play this season despite dropping his last outing against the Bruins. The Lightning netminder held Boston in check, shutting out the B’s through three periods before surrendering the game winner in OT and stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced on the evening. The overtime loss (OTL) snapped a five-game winning streak for Bishop, who hasn’t lost in regulation since mid-February, but it did pad some of his top-of-the-league stats. He stayed atop the league in GAA, lowering his average to 2.04 and now sits directly behind Brian Elliott, Thomas Greiss and Corey Crawford’s three-way tie at .929 in SV% with a .927 mark of his own. Bishop has allowed more than two goals against in a game just once in his last seven, and he faces a Philly team against whom he has posted a 1.95 GAA this year.
“Columbus is a team that he has dominated over the course of his career”
Marc-Andre Fleury – PIT @ CLS – $8,200 – Fleury has dropped his last two outings despite his strong play, especially in the Penguins’ loss on Tuesday to the Islanders. Overall, he has posted solid numbers in his last 9 outings with a 5-3-1 record, a 2.22 GAA and a 925 SV%. Before dropping his last two games, Fleury posted two one-goal games and a shutout. In his last five games, he’s allowed eight goals against, with four coming in his loss to the Flames. It’s hard to pay up for a goalie sometimes, but Fleury is playing the Blue Jackets tonight, and Columbus is a team that he has dominated over the course of his career. He’s 7-4-2 in his career against the Jackets and so far on the season despite posting an 0-1-1 record, he has a 2.00 GAA and .944 in two contests against them.
Others to Consider: Corey Crawford ($8,300), Frederik Andersen/John Gibson ($7,700/7,600), Joni Ortio ($6,800)
Shayne Gostisbehere – PHI @ TB – $6,000 – I remember writing about Gostisbehere when he first came up in November and was less than $3,000. He has been one of the best and most productive defensemen in the league since he came in, and despite only putting up points in two of his last seven games, he’s still one of the top defensemen available tonight even in a tough matchup against the Lightning. His points lately have come in his last four games and is coming off a two goal night on Monday night against these very Lightning in Philly. On the season, he has put up 37 points in 47 games and is easily going to be a contender for the Calder Trophy come the end of the year. It’s not just the points with Ghost, either. He does it all, adding 17 blocks and 24 SOG in his last 10 games with two power play points (PPP), making him a great all-around asset from the blueline for your defensive slot tonight.
Seth Jones – CLS vs. PIT – $5,200 – Jones has settled in nicely with the Blue Jackets after the trade that brought him there from Nashville. He was held scoreless in his first three games in a Jackets uniform, but in the 23 games since then, the young blueliner has put up 15 points, besting his totals from Nashville before the trade of 11 points in 40 games. He has points in three of his last five games and had two power-play assists in Columbus’ last games against the Red Wings on Tuesday night. The most astonishing stat about his short time in Columbus is his playing time. He’s averaging a career high 24:07 average time on ice (ATOI) with the Jackets, after never seeing an average higher than 20 minutes in his two-plus years with the Preds. It’s leading to more chances at both even strength and on the power play (PP) and makes Jones a great play.
Michael Stone – ARI @ CGY – $4,900 – With Oliver Ekman-Larsson (OEL) banged up and potentially missing his second-consecutive game tonight, Stone is the man to look at from the Coyotes blueline. He has already had a career season this year with 29 points, surpassing his previous career high of 21, and he has set a new career high with 145 SOG to date, as well. He was the cog of the defense for the Coyotes on Wednesday night leading the team in time on ice (TOI) with over 24 minutes, a power-play assist, a blocked shot, and five shots on goal (SOG). Going against a weak defensive team in Calgary tonight, it’s reasonable to expect similar numbers from Stone tonight, especially if OEL is ruled out for another game.
Others to Consider: Kris Letang ($7,000), Mark Giordano ($7,200), Alex Goligoski ($4,700), Kevin Connauton ($3,400)
Sidney Crosby, C – PIT @ CLS – $7,800 – ‘The Kid’ keeps rolling and keeps producing for the Penguins, willing them into playoff contention in a hotly contested wild card race right now. He has been one of the hottest scorers in the league over the last two weeks, posting 10 points in his last six games. He has points in all six games and has three multi-point games in that span. He’s also added 13 SOG and one PPP. Despite only having one point in two matchups against the Blue Jackets this season, Crosby for his career has been very successful when taking on Columbus. In 16 career matchups with CBJ, he has 15 assists and 21 points. Roll Sid against a weak defense and the returning Sergei Bobrovsky, making his first start since January 21, who was activated off the team’s IR earlier this week.
“[He] still has 48 points in 67 games and will break the 50-point barrier yet again this season”
Jonathan Toews, C – CHI @ DAL – $6,000 – For those wanting a premium center and not wanting to pay a top price, look no further than the Blackhawks Captain tonight against the Stars. Overshadowed by the season that Patrick Kane is having, Toews is having a solid season, as well, going about his business and being a consistent and steady producer for Chicago. His offensive output has been a little lower this season due in part to injuries and inconsistencies with his linemates, but he still has 48 points in 67 games and will break the 50-point barrier yet again this season. Toews has come alive offensively since the trade that brought Andrew Ladd to Chicago before the deadline. In those five games Toews has points in all of them, and overall he has points in eight of his last nine games. With a legitimate threat on his wing in Ladd, and the presence of the Kane/Panarin/Anisimov line, the Hawks center will have a much greater chance to see his production jump down the stretch, and that should be the case tonight against the Stars, who are missing two of their top-four defensemen with injuries.
Jamie Benn, LW – DAL vs. CHI – $8,000 – On the other side of the Chicago/Dallas matchup tonight is Benn, who, along with linemate Tyler Seguin, are in a heated battle for the second spot behind the Blackhawk’s Patrick Kane in the race for the scoring title. Benn is having another fantastic season with 73 points in 68 games and is well on his way to a second-consecutive 80+ point season. He has been among the most consistent point-producers in the league since the beginning of last season. There really isn’t much to be said about Benn that hasn’t already this year. He’s second in points, fourth in goals, ninth in assists, and is in the top-15 with 213 SOG. In his last 10 games he has nine points (3G, 6A), six PPP and 31 SOG. Benn also has three assists in three games against the Blackhawks this season. For those looking for a top winger and wanting to save some money over Kane in what should be a high-scoring affair, go with Benn.
Alex Tanguay, LW – ARI @ CGY – $3,600 – Tanguay seems to have found a fountain of youth and jump to his step since the trade that sent him to Arizona from Colorado at the deadline. In three games in the desert, he has points in two of them and both games have been multi-point outings. He had two goals and an assist in his first game against the Panthers, and then on Wednesday night, he added two assists in the Arizona win against the Canucks. He’s settled in nicely on the Coyotes top line with Antoine Vermette and Anthony Duclair, and with Arizona out of the running and not going anywhere this year, it can reasonably be expected that Tanguay will continue to see plenty of time and opportunity to produce.
Others to Consider: Patrick Kane, RW ($8,600), Tyler Seguin, C ($8,300), Claude Giroux, C ($7,500), Johnny Gaudreau, LW ($6,900), Corey Perry, RW ($6,300), Andrew Ladd, LW ($5,400), Boone Jenner, C ($5,100)
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