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
Minnesota Wild v. Arizona Coyotes
There was no line in Vegas for this game as of this writing as a result of the Coyotes playing last night, but Minnesota figures to be a huge favorite with one of the highest implied totals of the night, if not the highest. According to my own model, Minnesota has the highest expected goal total this evening. The Yotes have allowed the fourth most goals this season, and they’ve allowed the second most shot attempts against (even strength, adjusted). They’re obviously a great matchup for opposing skaters, and that’s even more true tonight as they’re playing on the back end of a back-to-back. Hopefully Louis Domingue starts in net for Arizona, but even if it’s Mike Smith again, the Wild are a premium option tonight.
There are no individual matchups you have to avoid when picking skaters against Arizona, so just about any Wild players are options. Over the last month or so, their second line, centered by Mikko Koivu, has been their most dangerous line. Koivu and Mikael Granlund stay together on the second PP unit and make for a nice mini-stack option, but only on DK where they’re priced much more favorably. Over on FD the top line is the play as they’re priced better there. Eric Staal has been held pointless in his last two games but had 10 points in the seven games prior and is a great option. His linemates, Zach Parise and/or Charlie Coyle, are stack options with him. That top line stays together on the top PP unit where they’re joined by defenseman Ryan Suter, who is also an option.
Behind the paywall you’ll find the rest of today’s NHL DFS game breakdowns and player rankings.
New York Rangers @ Toronto Maple Leafs (and vice-versa)
Both of these teams are very much in play tonight. Toronto has the second highest implied total in Vegas of games with lines as of this writing, and New York has the third highest. According to my own model Toronto is fourth in expected goal total and New York is third.
Both of these teams have “third” lines that are easily their weakest possession lines (fourth lines notwithstanding). Toronto lets its “third” line take on opposing third lines in home games, so both of those third lines are the best plays from this game. Toronto’s third line consists of Tyler Bozak with James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner on his wings. That trio stays together on the second PP unit and makes for a nice stack option. For cash games, Marner is the guy to own. He’s priced reasonably on both sites and has points in six of his last seven games (10 points total). Marner and Bozak are options on both sites while JVR is DK only.
New York’s third line is Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller. All three are priced better on FD and are a stack option there. Miller and Grabner could be one-off cash game options on FD as Miller sees work on the second PP unit and Grabner has the best iCorsi/60 on that line. New York’s top line is also an option as they’ve easily been the team’s best line over the last month or so. They’re also all priced better on FD, with Mats Zuccarello being the best value. Ryan McDonagh joins that top line on the top PP unit and is also in play. Rounding out that top PP unit is fourth liner Brandon Pirri. In addition to working on the top PP unit, he should have good even strength matchups against Toronto’s fourth line, though obviously he doesn’t see a ton of minutes at even strength. But if you need salary relief, Pirri is nice and cheap, especially on FD.
Anaheim Ducks v. Colorado Avalanche
The Avs are tied with Yotes for fourth most goals allowed. Colorado also has the third worst save percentage in the league, and they’re now going to be without #1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov for awhile. Admittedly, Varlamov has been struggling this year, but they’re not getting an upgrade in net with Calvin Pickard taking over. Unsurprisingly, Vegas has Anaheim with the highest implied total of the night.
There aren’t any individual matchups you have to worry about with the Avs, so go with Anaheim’s best line, which is Ryan Kesler’s line. That line has been their best recently and also has the best Corsi numbers on the team. Kesler plays on the top PP unit, and his right-winger, Jakob Silfverberg plays on the second PP unit. Andrew Cogliano rounds out the line but is probably best left to be used in a full-line stack due to a lack of PP work. All three guys are priced better on FD than DK, so that’s the spot to stack them. But pay up for one of Kesler or Silfverberg on DK in cash games to make sure you have some exposure. On the blue line, Cam Fowler joins Kesler on the top PP unit, and he skates with that line a fair bit at even strength.
- Ryan Kesler
- Derek Stepan
- Eric Staal
- Tyler Bozak
- Mikko Koivu
- Ryan Strome
- Ryan McDonagh
- Cam Fowler
- Ryan Suter
- Nick Leddy
- Matt Niskanen
- Mitch Marner
- Mats Zuccarello
- Cam Atkinson
- Johnny Gaudreau
- Zach Parise
- Boone Jenner
- Jakob Silfverberg
- Brandon Pirri
- Sam Gagner
- James van Riemsdyk
- James Neal
- Michael Grabner
- Mikael Granlund
- John Gibson
- Devan Dubnyk
- Thomas Greiss (GPP only, DK only)
- Juuse Saros (GPP 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.