We’re down to the last 10 days of the NHL season, and there is a lot still to be decided. Games that could have huge playoff implications are on the docket for tonight with some of the best players in the league on the ice. Let’s take a look at some of the top and bargain buys for today’s slate of games:
Henrik Lundqvist – NYR @ CAR – $8,500 – In the middle of a packed race in the Metro Division the Rangers have an imperative game tonight on the road against a surprisingly competitive Hurricanes team who sit just five points out of the Wild Card. This is the kind of game that Lundqvist has always stepped up in, especially with the Rangers being able to clinch a playoff spot with a regulation or OT win tonight. He may not be at the top of his game right now, but he has been playing better as of late and has always played well against the Canes both this season and for his career. On the year he’s 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA and a .960 SV% against the Canes, which have padded his career numbers against them to 23-9-1 overall and a 2.03 GAA. Roll Henrik tonight on the road against Carolina.
Devan Dubnyk – MIN vs OTT – $8,300 – It was going to be tough for Dubnyk to replicated his stellar half-season last year with Minnesota, but he has more than backed up the Wild’s faith in him as their number one goalie this year, especially in his last 10 games. Dubnyk’s last 10 have been stellar… posting a 7-1-1 record with a 1.99 GAA and .931 SV%. He has not allowed more than two goals in a game in his last six starts, posting a 29-save shutout in that span, and has picked up the win in all six. The Wild are holding tightly onto the second Wild Card slot in the West sitting five points up on the Avalanche with five games still to play.
Martin Jones – SJ vs VAN – $7,300 – Perhaps the only goalie playing tonight who has been better over the course of his last 10 than Dubnyk is the Sharks’ Martin Jones. Jones is enjoying a fantastic breakout season for the Sharks in his first year as a full-time starter sporting 36 wins, good for third in the league, as well as being well inside the top-10 in both GAA and shutouts. Despite only a 6-4-0 record in his last 10 games Jones has only allowed more than two goals against once in those 10 outings on his way to posting a 1.81 GAA and .931 SV% giving up a total of 18 goals against. The Sharks beat the Canucks on Tuesday night in Vancouver with James Reimer in and come home tonight to welcome Vancouver to San Jose, and with Jones being 2-0-0 against the Nucks on the year he is one of the top goalies available tonight with a fantastic matchup.
Others to Consider: Ben Bishop ($8,300), Roberto Luongo ($8,200), Jonathan Quick ($8,100), Chad Johnson ($7,500), Kari Lehtonen ($7,400)
Kris Letang – PIT vs NSH – $7,100 – Letang is enjoying the best offensive season of his career and is helping Sidney Crosby to will the Penguins into the playoffs. With his assist in the Penguins comeback win against the Sabres on Tuesday night Letang broke his prior career-high of 43 assists with his 44th of the year. That assist also set a new high for him with 59 points and he has already set a new high-mark in goals on the year with 15. His has eight points in his last 10 games and is currently riding a three-game point streak with a goal and three assists. He’s one of the top defensemen available tonight if you’re willing to pay the premium up to nab him.
Victor Hedman – MON vs TB – $6,000 – Despite having a season output lower than most expected Hedman is turning things on when the Lightning need it most right now in the middle of a hotly contested Atlantic Division and having recently lost offensive defenseman Anton Stralman. Hedman’s 44 points in 75 games are the second-best mark of his career for a season and he has the chance to play more than 80 games for the first time in a season too, but after putting up 38 points in 59 games last year more was expected in this offense. Still, he has turned it on as of late for the Lightning with points in five of his last six games, two multi-point games, that have seen the Swede put up two goals and five assists and 12 SOG. Tampa has a must-win tonight against the Canadiens and they have been a team that Hedman has historically performed well against with 20 points in 22 career matchups.
Nick Leddy – NYI vs CLS – $4,600 – Leddy has quietly put together the best offensive season of his young career this year for the Islanders despite posting half as many goals this year as his did for NY last season. Leddy’s five goals are not what the Islanders were expecting after 10 last year, but he has set new career highs with 34 assists and 39 points with seven games still to play. Leddy possess elite-level speed and puck-possession ability and has been one of the highest-scoring defensemen in the league since the start of February posting 21 points in that two month span. He has three points in his last four games for the Islanders who are beginning to find their offense and stride again heading into the playoffs and they have a very favorable matchup tonight against the Blue Jackets.
Others to Consider: Brent Burns ($8,500), Roman Josi ($7,000), Mark Giordano ($7,400), Ryan Suter ($6,000), Rasmus Ristolainen ($5,900), Zach Bogosian ($5,000), Trevor Daley ($4,100), Jake Gardiner ($4,000), Jason Garrison ($3,200)
Steven Stamkos, C – TB vs MON – $7,700 – Stamkos pushed his point streak to six games, seven of his last eight overall with four multi-point games, thanks to two assists on Monday night against the Maple Leafs while adding two blocks and two shots on goal to cap off a 6.0 fantast point night. Stammer has 12 points in those seven out of eight games that he’s put point on the board with seven goals and dishing out five helpers. He’s put 28 SOG and has been a special teams nightmare with five points combined between the power-play and short-handed (3 PPP, 2 SHP). He’s putting up more than 1.5 FPPG in his last 10 than his season average with 5.4 FPPG lately compared to 3.7 for the year. He has a great matchup tonight against the Canadiens and is a must start tonight for your lineups.
Logan Couture, C – SJ vs VAN – $5,900 – Couture has had his struggles this season after coming back from injury, struggling to find consistency with his scoring. That was evident as of late with only two points in his last 10 games before playing his best game of the year on Tuesday against Vancouver, breaking out with a hat-trick and five shots on goal. Couture has put up 32 points in 47 games on the year which is a solid output but he has gone through long streaks of not scoring. Hopefully this will jump-start him going into the playoffs but with a matchup tonight against these same Canucks, against whom he has the hat-trick and two additional assists earlier in the year, Couture should be at the top of your list for centers on the night.
Mikko Koivu, C – MIN vs OTT – $4,900 – Koivu is quietly having his best season in five years this year for the Wild and has rounded into his scoring form at the right time with Minnesota battling to hang onto the second Wild Card slot out West. He’s on the cusp of hitting the 40-assist mark for the fifth time in his career with 38 to date on the year and his 55 points are his most since a 62 point season in ’10-11. He’s caught fire lately putting up nine points in his last seven games for Minnesota, who have won six straight to climb back into contention. Coming in at $4,900 with a very favorable matchup against the Senators tonight I like Koivu as one of the best bang-for-your-buck centers on the night.
Ryan O’Reilly, LW – BUF vs TOR – $5,800 – O’Reilly is enjoying a great first season in Buffalo netting 55 points in 66 games on the year on his way to leading the Sabres in both points and assists. We saw a brief glimpse of him playing with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart on Tuesday against the Penguins and the trio looked solid. O’Reilly had a great game for Buffalo despite the team blowing it late and losing in the shootout. The Sabres winger netted a sweet short-handed goal and added an assist and two shots. He has been tearing it up since returning after missing a month with an injury putting up points in five of his seven games back. In a matchup of non-playoff teams jockeying for position in the draft tonight we could see the game in Buffalo quickly turn into a high-scoring affair and O’Reilly is the hottest scorer on either side.
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW – FLA vs NJ – $5,500 – Playing on one of the more underrated first lines in the NHL Huberdeau has hit the 50-point barrier for the second year in a row and should pass his high total from last year of 54 points. He has scored a goal in three straight for the Panthers and has been a point-per-game player over his last 10 games with 10 points. Huberdeau will set a new career-high in shots this year, needing only eight in his final six games to do so. With as good as the Panthers first line has been as of late with Huberdeau, Jagr and Barkov leading the team in scoring as of late putting any of the three in your lineup is a good move but Huberdeau is my pick tonight at a solid value for the production and matchup.
Others to Consider: Sidney Crosby ($8,100), John Tavares ($7,500), Jamie Benn ($7,900), Joe Pavelski ($7,500), Anze Kopitar ($6,600), Aleksander Barkov ($6,600), Jason Spezza ($6,100), Nazem Kadri ($5,700), Jeff Skinner ($5,600), Cam Atkinson ($5,500), Alex Galchenyuk ($5,300), Anders Lee ($4,700), Nino Niederreiter ($4,500), Erik Haula ($4,200), Anthony Duclair ($3,800)
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