While the NCAA Tournament is getting going, the NHL playoff picture is heating up and it continues tonight with a six-game slate that has playoff implications. The Blackhawks, Predators, Capitals and more are on the ice tonight meaning there are some great superstar and value plays in the player pool. Let’s take a look at some of the top and bargain buys for tonight’s slate of games:
Braden Holtby – WAS vs. NSH – $8,600 – Holtby has been shaky overall lately after his great start to the season but has started to turn it around and has allowed one goal against in two of his last three games. I like Holtby tonight against the Preds if he gets the nod because he has beaten the Preds already this season, and Nashville is playing on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Islanders last night. Holtby is coming off a 25-save, one goal against performance beating the Canes on Wednesday night to push his league-leading win total to 42 on the year, so if he gets the start tonight, he’s a top goalie on the board.
Semyon Varlamov – COL @ CGY – $8,100 – I picked Varly as my top goalie on Wednesday night and he paid off, so with an equally as good of a matchup tonight I’ll roll him out again vs the Flames. The Avs netminder held the Canucks in check, allowing one goal on 29 saves, giving him his third win in his last four starts. He’s allowed more than one goal against in those four games only once, his only loss, and is brimming with confidence at the moment. He is one of the more expensive goalies on the evening, but he has a solid matchup against the Flames.
“He has been fantastic as of late, posting a 6-3-1 record with a 1.89 GAA and a .941 SV percentage in his last 10 games
Cam Talbot – EDM vs. VAN – $7,200 – I like Talbot tonight despite his recent struggles of allowing eight goals against in his previous two outings combined. Overall, he hasn’t had a bad season considering the team and defense he has had in front of him, but he has been fantastic as of late, posting a 6-3-1 record with a 1.89 GAA and a .941 SV% in his last 10 games. He and the Oilers welcome the Canucks anemic offense to Edmonton tonight, with Vancouver icing the 27th-ranked scoring offense in the league and averaging only 2.36 GF/G on the road this season. Talbot took the OT loss to the Canucks in his only appearance against them on the season, but for those who are looking for a less expensive option tonight, I’ll roll Talbot vs Vancouver.
Others to Consider: Frederik Andersen/John Gibson ($7,700/$7,600), Scott Darling ($7,900), Joni Ortio ($7,000)
Erik Karlsson – OTT @ BUF – $8,300 – Karlsson currently sits tied-third with Tyler Seguin in the league in points on the season with 73, and is running away with the lead in assists with 60 on the season. He is coming off a three-point game on Tuesday night against the Wild when he netted a goal and two assists. He has points in two of his last three games and both games have been multi-point efforts, also adding a goal and an assist against the Panthers last week. The Senators are on the cusp of being eliminated from playoff contention, but they still have a chance and this game is a must-have for Ottawa against the Sabres. He has posted solid numbers against Buffalo on the season despite only having one goal in three games against them, because he has 18 shots and four blocks and is averaging 4.7 FPPG against them.
Mark Giordano – CGY vs COL – $7,400 – For those players who can’t bring themselves to spend over $8,000 on a defensemen, save yourself $900 and take Giordano tonight. Gio has put up points in eight of his last 10 games and has nine points in his last seven overall. He has put up a multi-point game in the last three games that he has points in (2G, 4A) with 16 shots in those four games. He has a goal and an assist in back-to-back games against the Blues and Jets and faces an Avs team tonight that he has two points and six SOG in two games against this year. The Flames are playing at home tonight, and in 37 games at home on the year Giordano has put up 30 of his 48 points.
Jordan Oesterle – EDM vs VAN – $3,000 – With the Oilers out of it, and with so many injuries on their blueline, Oesterle is getting his chance to show what he can do. He was sent down to the AHL at the end of February but was re-called last week and has played solidly since. He had his best game of his limited season on Wednesday against the Blues when he picked up two assists and was only one of three Oilers with over 20 minutes of ice time. It was his third-consecutive game seeing at least 22 minutes of time on ice (TOI), and he also banked six minutes of power play (PP) time in that one. He is not averse to putting up solid offensive numbers, having posted 23 points in 42 games with the Oilers AHL affiliate the Bakersfield Condors. It seems that the Oilers will give him the time and the opportunity to produce, making him a great value play at only $3,000.
Others to Consider: Roman Josi ($6,900), Dustin Byfuglien ($6,700), Duncan Keith ($6,000), Rasmus Ristolainen ($5,900), Zach Bogosian ($4,600)
Connor McDavid, C – EDM vs VAN – $7,100 –McDavid is kind of a good player, he’s okay. Kidding aside, he’s an amazing talent. He has 26 points since the start of February when he returned to the Oilers lineup after missing most of the season with a broken collarbone. Overall, he has 10 points in his last 10 games, including four points in his last four games. He is coming off a multi-assist game with four SOG in the Oilers 6-4 win over the Blues on Wednesday night and looks solid centering the Edmonton top line of Eberle and Maroon. The Oilers face the struggling Canucks tonight, and in his only game against Vancouver this season, McDavid has an assist and a SOG.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, C – WAS vs NSH – $6,700 – Easily the breakout star of the season to date, Kuznetsov has been the most consistent scorer for the already stacked Capitals on the year. The 23-year-old Russian needs just four points to double his season output from last year, and leads the Caps with 70 points and 50 assists. He is riding a four-game assist streak and has points in eight of his last ten. Not much more to be said about Kuz and the Caps this season, he is one of the top centers available on the night, and with the possibility of facing Nashville backup Carter Hutton, he becomes almost a must-start.
Mark Stone, RW – OTT @ BUF – $5,700 – Stone has been the most consistent player for the Senators this year, in a season where Mike Hoffman and Kyle Turris were expected to take a step forward. He has ridden a six-game point streak, and points in nine of ten overall, to jump into second on the Senators in points behind Karlsson with 58 on the season. He’s been the Senators leading scorer in that span with 13 points (3G, 10A) in those 10 games. On his current six-game run, he has eight points and he faces the Sabres tonight for the fourth time this season, with two assists and six SOG in his previous three games against them this year. He is one of the hottest scorers in the league at the moment and has a great fantasy matchup tonight.
“He’s been the Senators leading scorer in that span with 13 points (3G, 10A) in those 10 games
Mikkel Boedker, LW – COL @ CGY – $5,000 – Boedker has settled in very nicely on the Avs top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Blake Comeau and seems to be a good fit in their system. He’s looked good for the most part, with points in four of his seven games in an Avs uniform. He has not shot too much, only 10 SOG in his seven games with Colorado, but he has two goals and three assists in seven games. This will be his first game against the Flames in an Avs uniform, but in three previous games against them this season when he was with Arizona he had two assists and nine SOG.
Brandon Pirri, C – ANH vs BOS – $3,800 – Pirri missed a month and was traded to Anaheim while he was hurt. He made his return on Wednesday against the Rangers and promptly found himself on the wing for the Ducks top line with the highly-productive pair of Ryan Getzlaf and David Perron. The Ducks eased him back into the lineup with Pirri only playing 15 minutes but putting up two SOG. He had a solid season with the Panthers before his trade, putting up 24 points in 52 games. The Ducks haven’t been able to find a solid winger for Getz and Perron so far, so expect Pirri to get a good look going forward to try and solidify that line heading into the playoffs. At $3,800, he is a very solid value pick on the night against the Bruins.
Others to Consider: Patrick Kane ($8,500), Alex Ovechkin ($9,000), Patrice Bergeron ($7,300), Nathan MacKinnon ($6,700), Jack Eichel ($6,100), Sean Monahan ($5,900), Loui Eriksson ($5,500), Ryan Johansen ($5,100), Bobby Ryan ($4,900), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($4,700), Michael Frolik ($4,300), Jamie McGinn ($4,000), Patrick Maroon ($3,400)
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