Below we’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Thursday’s eight-game evening slate of NHL contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.
As always, make sure to check Twitter for any injury news, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies and line combos.
Teams to Target
Pittsburgh Penguins v. Winnipeg Jets
The Pens continue their run of facing weaker Western Conference opponents tonight against a Jets team that is tied for the most goals allowed this season. The Pens lead the league in goals scored, so this isn’t exactly rocket science.
Where this game can deviate from the obvious a bit is which Pittsburgh line to use. Winnipeg’s Bryan Little line, with Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers on the wings, is a pretty solid possession unit, and you’d prefer to use Pens that will avoid that line. The only question is whether Pittsburgh will treat that line as Winnipeg’s top unit or whether they’ll treat the Scheifele/Laine line as the top unit. Sidney Crosby’s line is going to match up with whichever line Pittsburgh deems to be WPG1, and the guess is that the Little line gets Crosby. As a result, you might stay away from Crosby’s line tonight.
Patric Hornqvist leads the team in individual Corsi (shot attempts) per 60 (iCF60), and he leads the team in individual expected goals (ixG60), which is the fanciest of stats. He’s would definitely be my preferred way of getting Pens exposure. Hornqvist will be with Evgeni Malkin who is certainly an option if you have the funds. It’s always easier to fit in pricey players on FD, so give Malkin more of a look there. Scott Wilson skates with Hornqvist/Malkin at even and is super cheap on both sites if you want to stack the whole line. Wilson could also be used as salary relief in cash. Justin Schultz tends to skate with Malkin’s line at even and sees work on the second PP unit, so he’s the blue liner to use tonight.
Minnesota Wild v. Dallas Stars
The team that is tied with Winnipeg for most goals allowed is Dallas, and Minnesota ranks fourth in goals scored. Once again, this isn’t all that tough to figure out.
Dallas doesn’t present any individual matchups you specifically have to target or avoid outside of their predictably weak fourth line, so I’m inclined to go with Minnesota’s best ixG60 guys who see power play time, Zach Parise and Jason Pominville. Parise and Pominville are currently skating together at even on Minnnesota’s “third” line. The move “down” the lineup has been good for Parise as he’s seen some better matchups both at home and on the road. In fact, that line saw some of the opposing fourth line in their most recent game (also a home game), so it’s possible they get some ice time against Dallas’ weak fourth line tonight. Parise and Pom are both priced a bit better on DK than FD, but they’re not priced out of use on FD.
Charlie Coyle completes that third line and could be paired with Parise/Pom for a full-on stack. Another stack option is Jared Spurgeon who skates with that line plenty at even and who skates on a PP unit with Parise and Coyle.
Los Angeles Kings v. Arizona Coyotes
Tonight will be Los Angeles’ first game back from their “bye” week, and there is a narrative going around about how you should avoid teams immediately after the bye. Admittedly, the record for teams coming off their bye isn’t great, but it’s also an incredibly small sample size and not something you should be buying into yet. Instead you should be buying into the fact that this is the biggest possession mismatch of the night. Los Angeles ranks second in adjusted, even-strength Corsi For Percentage, which is simply their ratio of shot attempts compared to opponents, and Arizona ranks dead last.
Arizona unsurprisingly presents no tough individual matchups given that they rank dead last in possession, so you can go with whichever Kings you like. The preferred option is LA’s best possession trio of Jeff Carter, Tanner Pearson and Dustin Brown. Carter is an option to be the guy you spend big on tonight, Pearson is priced much better on FD than DK, and Brown is a nice salary relief option on both sites. The line stays together on the power play where they’re joined by D-man Alec Martinez who also skates with them often at even strength.
Another one-off option is Marian Gaborik who leads the team in ixG60 and is priced reasonably on both sites.
Edmonton Oilers v. Philadelphia Flyers
Edmonton broke out of a slump in a big way on Tuesday night with five goals. They had the fortune of playing a bad team playing for the second night in a row on Tuesday, and they’ll have the same good fortune tonight. Philadelphia has allowed the sixth most goals against this season, and they played last night in Calgary.
If you’re going to stack Oil, you have to do it with Connor McDavid’s line as McDavid and line mate Patrick Maroon easily lead the team in ixG60. Both guys are also cash game options, while line mate Jordan Eberle should only be used if you’re stacking the whole line. Maroon is priced better on FD and McDavid’s high price tag should be easier to fit in there, so that’s the spot to stack Oil if you want to.
Outside of the top line there are some very strong one-off or mini-stack options. Leon Draisaitl centers the second line and should see some nice individual matchups tonight. Philly’s first and fourth lines are their weakest possession trios, and Draisaitl’s line matched up primarily with Arizona’s top line on Tuesday night and also got a few shifts in against their fourth line. Draisaitl plays on the top PP unit with McDavid.
Also on that top PP unit is D-man Oscar Klefbom. Klefbom leads all Edmonton D-men in iCF60 and ixG60, and he’s coming off a big night on Tuesday in which he had a goal, two assists and four shots on goal.
- Connor McDavid
- Jeff Carter
- Leon Draisaitl
- Evgeni Malkin
- Nick Bonino
- Charlie Coyle
- Oscar Klefbom
- Jared Spurgeon
- Justin Schultz
- Nick Leddy
- Andy Greene
- Alec Martinez
- Zach Parise
- Patric Hornqvist
- Marian Gaborik
- Patrick Maroon
- Rick Nash
- Tanner Pearson
- Jason Pominville
- Dustin Brown
- Scott Wilson
- Robin Lehner
- Anders Nilsson* (basically you’re rostering whoever starts for Buffalo on FD in both cash and GPP, and they’re also options on DK)
- Matt Murray (DK only, cash only)
- Mike Smith (DK only, GPP only)
- Devan Dubnyk (DK only, cash only)
Goalies with an asterisk next to their name are not expected to start tonight but haven’t been ruled out, so don’t count on them playing. Any players in bold have been confirmed as the starter for the day. Make sure you always check LeftWingLock for starting goalie updates in case I am unable to update the list throughout the day.