We’ve got a HUGE slate of NHL games today with only four teams taking the day off. Fortunately for you, TheLooch breaks down every game for your daily fantasy hockey needs so you can dominate your league!
Where to play:
DraftKings has their usual daily freeroll, along with a number of double-ups and GPP’s. DraftDay has a number of GPP’s and double-up formats, and FanThrowDown also has a number of double-ups and GPP tournaments.
Washington Capitals @ Boston Bruins
The Capitals have been a tough team to figure out given their inconsistency all year. Despite some injuries, especially to their defensemen, they’ve been playing better defense of late. While they’ve had success against the Bruins the last couple years, I think Boston gets their revenge today. Last time these two teams met, the Bruins surrendered a three goal lead to lose in OT.
Puck Play #1 – I’m not spending top dollar for any of the Caps higher priced forwards. If you believe in lightning striking twice, Eric Fehr is cheap, and he potted the game winning goal to go along with two assists vs. the Bruins in the last game. However, he hasn’t done much of anything since then.
Puck Play #2 – Again, the Bruins line of Marchand, Bergeron and Seguin have been the most productive and remain the best bets to score. It’s been awhile since Marchand has put one in the back of the net, so his price may have dropped a bit. I’d start there, however if you’re playing in early only games you should consider taking all three. Chara has been picking it up with a few goals lately, but he’s usually a bit too pricey for my taste. Rask is also a good play, but keep in mind he’s never beaten the Caps. Having never faced them at home, I think he finally gets his first win vs. the Caps today.
New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins
The Rangers have dropped two straight games on this mini road trip, and to Buffalo and Winnipeg no less. They just can’t seem to score goals despite the addition of Rick Nash. The Penguins on the other hand are scoring goals at will, and finding a way to win at all costs. Crosby is looking like the runaway candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy this year, and is the best bet in this game for a big fantasy day.
Puck Play #1 – Ryan Callahan has been hot of late, and he’s had success against the Pens in the past. Being the captain of the team, I expect a big effort out of Cally to get the Rangers on the board and score a few goals. Fleury and the Pens have been a bit more generous on home ice as well.
Puck Play #2 – Of course Crosby is a great play if you can afford him, but I think the Rangers still play their defensive shell so that this game doesn’t get too out of hand. Lundqvist has been playing great, and the Penguins are so high-priced on some sites that it makes sense to find value elsewhere. There are a few cheap plays to target in Brandon Sutter and Beau Bennett, who are playing well on the second line with James Neal.
Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres
This game has “under” written all over it. Despite losing their best defenseman Erik Karlsson for the year, the Sens have allowed the fewest goals per game in the league. That’s what you have to do when you can’t score many goals, as they’re pretty close to dead last in that category. Misery loves company I guess, because Buffalo is barely scoring more than two goals per game over their last ten.
Puck Play #1 – Ben Bishop, the Ottawa goalie, has already been confirmed. Depending on his price he’s a decent play, as Ottawa allows the most shots on goal per game but the fewest goals. It has a lot to do with great goaltending, and with the Sabres struggling on offense, I could see Bishop having a high-save outing with just one goal allowed. Patrick Wiercioch on defense has been hot, scoring goals and picking up penalty minutes, but other than that it’s hard to trust any Sens.
Puck Play #2 – This might sound crazy, but Ryan Miller is a decent play if you can get him at a discount. Interestingly enough the Sens not only allow the most shots on goal, but they also take the most shots on goal. The Sabres allow a lot of shots on goal as well, so Miller could also have a very high save kind of day. As to who gets the win, it’s close to a coin flip, but it may be one of those rare situations where both goalies have solid fantasy outings. No Buffalo skaters for me, Ottawa is just playing too strong defensively.
Minnesota Wild @ Colorado Avalanche
Both of these teams are towards the bottom of the league in scoring, but for some reason when they’ve met recently a lot of goals have been scored.
Puck Play #1 – I’d look for Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to continue to find success against the Av’s as they have done previously this year. Devin Setoguchi and Jared Spurgeon are some cheaper value plays that have been productive of late.
Puck Play #2 – P.A. Parenteau and Matt Duchene have been really hot, but for a bit of a value play Gabriel Landeskog has been firing a lot of pucks on net, yet not scoring as many goals as he would like. Look for that to change as the young forward attempts to regain the success he had in his rookie year, en route to winning the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Phoenix Coyotes @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Phoenix comes into Columbus right on the bubble of getting into the playoffs, so they should be hungry. They’ve face a stiff challenge as Columbus has been playing the best defense of any team in the league, led by the red-hot Sergei Bobrovsky in goal.
Puck Play #1 – The Yotes do a lot more scoring at home, and with Bob standing on his head for the Blue Jackets, I’m avoiding all the Coyotes in this one.
Puck Play #2 – The aforementioned Bobrovsky has been stopping everything in sight, but he doesn’t get much help from his offense so getting a win will be tough. Mike Smith has struggled to recapture his form from last year, so you could take a flyer on Jack Johnson. He has been more productive lately, not to mention he’s familiar with facing Phoenix from his days with the Kings.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Tampa Bay Lightning
Now this is the game I expect the most scoring from, and Vegas agrees, as this is the only game with an over/under of six. I’ll give a slight edge to Carolina, as they’ve been scoring a lot more goals lately and playing a bit better defense than the Lightning. That being said, Carolina’s goalies have been shaky and I would bet the farm that TB does not get shutout again.
Puck Play #1 – The Canes top line of Semin, Staal and Tlusty has been the second most productive line in the NHL, and that should continue against a Lightning team that’s allergic to defense. I’ll give a special mention to Jiri Tlusty, who turns 25 today, as he is a bit cheaper than his linemates. I would suggest trying to fit two, or all three of them in your lineups. Joe Corvo on the blue line is riding a three game point streak, and won’t break the bank either.
Puck Play #2 – The Lightning hit a low point last game by getting shutout by the Islanders at home. I expect a much better effort as they adjust to life without Vinny Lecavalier, who is on IR. Stamkos was held without a point last game out, and if his price has dropped I would not hesitate to use him as the Lightning have been a lot more productive on home ice. Martin St. Louis is also a great bet to bounce back, as he was riding a seven game point streak prior to last game. Alex Killorn presents a nice cheap value play after being moved up to the top-line between MSL and Stamkos.
Montreal Canadiens @ New Jersey Devils
Montreal has been one of the best road teams, not to mention one of the best teams in the league, so the Devils have their work cut out for them as they continue to miss Martin Brodeur in goal. The Devils are on a back to back as well, and they really have no other choice but to send Johan Hedberg, aka The Moose, back out there in the net.
Puck Play #1 – PK Subban is just on fire right now for the Habs, with four goals and seven assists in the last seven games. Nearly all his points have come on the power-play, an area the Devils have struggled to defend. Brian Gionta has been hot with four points in his last three games, and could have some extra jump in his legs skating against his younger brother Stephen. Michael Ryder is expected to miss the game with an injury, so rookie Brendan Gallagher should see more ice-time and is already skating on the top line with Pacioretty and Desharnais. He’s a nice value play, not to mention he has two goals and an assist in his last three games.
Puck Play #2 – The Habs goalie Carey Price has not been too sharp of late, so the Devils do have an opportunity to score some goals here. Kovalchuk snapped his point streak last night, but before that he still had three goals and three assists in his last six games. David Clarkson finally scored a goal after an extended drought, and earlier in the season had a monster game vs. the Habs with a goal and two assists. If he can keep it going he presents excellent value since his price should be really low. Loktionov, one of my recent sleepers, left last night’s game with an injury so you should avoid him. Ponikarovsky and Adam Henrique may need to step up in his absence, and should also come at a discount.
Winnipeg Jets @ Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs have opportunity for revenge after they lost 5-2 on the road to the Jets just a few days ago. Having dropped a heart breaker to Pittsburgh, they could come out a little flat, but I expect them to be excited to have Joffrey Lupul back in the lineup. He’s arguably their best playmaker and second leading scorer from last year. The Leafs defense has been suspect of late though, and I do expect a few goals on both sides of this contest.
Puck Play #1 – Captain Andrew Ladd has been really consistent on the season, registering nearly a point per game and he’s also got a goal and an assist in his last two games. Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler have been scoring lately, while Kane continues to fire a ridiculous number of shots on goal. Also, Byfuglien has been picking up a lot of assists and presents a rock-solid option at defense if you can afford him.
Puck Play #2 – Kessel remains a great pick since he’s on fire and loves to score against Winnipeg. It will be interesting to see how the line’s shake up with Lupul’s return, and if you want to take a flyer on Lupul in a GPP that’s fine, but I’d give him one game to get his timing back before going all in on him. Cody Franson continues to be undervalued on a lot of sites, while James Van Riemsdyk is also coming at a discount relative to his upside. He’s still scoring points, but it’s been awhile since we’ve seen one of those two goal games from him.
New York Islanders @ Florida Panthers
The poor Panther’s just can’t catch a break, or should I say they catch too many of them. It seems half their roster is injured, with the latest casualty being Kris Versteeg. All those injuries, combined with inconsistent goaltending, have Florida being the weakest defensive team in the league by a pretty wide margin. However, the Islanders defense is just about as bad, so if ever they have a chance to score a few goals and pick up a win at home, it’s tonight.
Puck Play #1 – John Tavares continues to establish himself as a star in the NHL, and is by far the most talented skater in this game. A multi-point night is not out of the question, and I like his linemates Moulson and Boyes as well, with Boyes coming at a discount on a lot of sites. On the blue line, Lubomir Visnovsky continues to be under priced in relation to his offensive potential.
Puck Play #2 – Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Kopecky have been the few bright spots for the Panthers this year. While Hoobie has been quiet the last few games, I think it’s a prime time for him to find the back of the net once again. Both of these guys should come at a nice discount to boot.
Anaheim Ducks @ St. Louis Blues
The Ducks will still be missing Corey Perry, so their offense is likely to struggle again. It won’t help that Blues goalie Jake Allen is finding his stride, and seemingly getting better with each game. The Blues on the other hand are scoring a lot of goals, and now have Alex Steen back in the lineup. Viktor Fasth could be back for the Ducks, and if he’s in goal I actually like the Blues offense more, as he could be a little rusty. If Hiller is in goal it might be tougher, as Hiller has been stopping everything lately.
Puck Play #1 – Teemu Selanne filled in for Perry on the top line with Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. Selanne hasn’t been picking up too many points lately, so he should come at a serious discount and he’s always a threat to score. I don’t expect Allen to post back to back shutouts either.
Puck Play #2 – On sites like FanDuel and DraftKings you simply have to take Jake Allen at his price. He’s already confirmed, he’s at home and he’s playing great. As for the Blues forwards, they have so many talented guys that its tough to hit the right ones. You can’t ignore the recent success of Chris Stewart and David Backes, as well as Alex Steen in his first game back coming off injury. Pietrangelo is a stud on the blue line, and has been picking it up in March after a bit of a lull in February.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Dallas Stars
The Blackhawks busted their historic streak in wild fashion, giving up six goals apiece to Edmonton and Colorado, before getting back on track to stifle the Blue Jackets on the road. They face Dallas on the road tonight in what should be a relatively low scoring affair. Lehtonen should be in net for the Stars, and while he’s had two hiccups since returning from injury, he’s mostly been his usual stout self.
Puck Play #1 – I’m not sure if you’ve noticed the trend yet, but I don’t like paying top dollar for stud wingers who don’t have favorable matchups, especially on the road. Patrick Kane is hot and he’s always a good play, but I prefer the value plays in these spots. Brandon Saad skates on the top line with Toews and Hossa, and keeps registering assists and chipping in a goal here and there.
Puck Play #2 – I’m going to pass on the Stars here, even at home. If you want to take a few in a GPP as a zig-zag play, go for it as Crawford has shown he can get lit up from time to time. Otherwise the Hawks defense is a close second to Ottawa’s, allowing just a hair over two goals per game. If I were to take anyone, it would be Loui Eriksson, who’s been really solid with the assists and is due to score some goals like we know he is capable of.
Detroit Red Wings @ Vancouver Canucks
The Wings are another team that are on a back to back and on the road, so by now you should know I’m not going to be too high on them. Plenty of people will remember the eight goal explosion they laid on Luongo in Detroit, who has already been confirmed for Vancouver. I’m a fan of the revenge card, and I think @Strombone1 (Luongo’s twitter handle) and the rest of the Canucks play better defense in their second home game after a rough road trip.
Puck Play #1 – Vancouver is just a better defensive team at home, and I don’t see the Red Wings scoring much this time around as they have struggled to score on the road. Filppula is a decent value play as he’s got two goals in his last two games since returning from injury, and could be making up for lost time. Brunner had a monster game last time out against Luongo, and should be cheap, but that was the last time he scored a goal. I’d only take him at a discount and not invest too heavily. As an aside, I’m not someone who buys into trends like that until we see them over a much larger sample size.
Puck Play #2 – It was pretty funny how the Canucks scored seven goals last time out, and Daniel Sedin didn’t have a shot on goal. He’s ice cold yet he’s still the most talented forward on Vancouver. If his price has dropped significantly there’s excellent value to be had there. Edler, on the blue line, busted out with a goal and an assist after a long dry spell, and presents excellent value as well if his price has dropped. I like the Canucks more if Gustavsson is in net, as Howard has been pretty sharp lately. The Raymond/Ebbett/Hansen line really clicked last time out and I’d lean towards Hansen as a cheap value play, but be sure to check to see who is in goal for Detroit.
San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings
This is the back end of a home and home series between these two teams, and it’s safe to say that the intensity will be high in this one. They are tied in points and both need this win to remain in the playoff picture. Last game was a high scoring affair, but in large part to an extended power-play the Sharks had. The Kings are not the same low-scoring team they were last time out, and they will look for revenge on their home-ice this time around.
Puck Play #1 – Other than the offensive outburst by the Sharks on Thursday, they have been the lowest scoring team in the league recently – yes even worse than Columbus. If Quick is back in the net, I like their chances more given how inconsistent he’s been this year, even getting pulled for Bernier halfway through last game. Bernier was great in relief, so if he’s starting I’d steer clear of the offensively challenged Guppies, I mean Sharks. Brent Burns is a nice value play for defense if his price is still low, as he is now playing forward on the top line and has two goals and an assist in his last three games. Otherwise, Logan Couture is the only Shark who is scoring right now.
Puck Play #2 – It seems as though the goal scoring torch was passed from Jeff Carter to Dustin Brown. As soon as Carter stopped, Brown started scoring and hasn’t stopped with five goals in his last three games. I’m also looking at Jake Muzzin, who has been a revelation on the blue line for the Kings, with three goals and four assists in his last six games. Muzzy will have some extra motivation because he has to feel somewhat responsible for the loss last time out. He got called for the penalty that led to two San Jose power-play goals. Justin Williams has also been firing plenty of shots on goal, but hasn’t had as many go in as he is accustomed to. He’s provides an under the radar play that could help you win a tournament at the end of the night. If Bernier is confirmed he’s a great play at home vs. a struggling Sharks team that fires a ton of shots on goal, yet can’t seem to score.