The Blackhawks and Red Wings are playing in a back-to-back set here a day after Detroit shocked the Blackhawks with a five-goal performance. Despite the offensive outburst in the first game of the series, don’t expect a repeat performance in the rematch. The Red Wings come into this game ranked last in goals per game (2.0) and both teams rank in the bottom 10 in expected goal rate (xGF%). The Blackhawks have been on a roll of late, but don’t be shocked if their offense dries up at some point soon as they’ve been riding a hot power play which seems bound to regress at least a touch at some point. Assuming Bernier starts for the Wings here, don’t expect a ton of goals from either side as both teams are lacking in the scoring chance department and are also both getting solid goaltending right now.
Top Line Stacks
Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres
James Van Riemsdyk ($6,900)—Sean Couturier ($6,100)—Joel Farabee ($6,000)
The Flyers come into this matchup with the Sabres ranked seventh in goals per game and will be facing off against a Buffalo team without a couple of its key players. The Sabres have had a tough year with injuries and Covid stoppages not helping things and are going up against a deep Flyers team that can roll three scoring lines. Of late, their best line to target for fantasy purposes has been the above trio, who have now scored 12 real-life points between them over the past three games.
This has been a great bounce-back season for van Riemsdyk, who enters this game with 16 points over his past 10 games and now has seven power-play goals on the year. His resurgence has also really help Couturier bounce back to fantasy relevance as he enters with 10 points in just seven games. Couturier had his best game of the season against Buffalo last night, as he recorded five SOG and two points. With the Sabres’ best center out and a backup goalie to attack here, don’t be shocked if the Flyers’ big line keeps rolling tonight.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sabres C Jack Eichel (lower-body) will be available to play in today’s game vs. the Flyers.
Superstar to Target
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,300)
The one shining beacon for the Predators this season for fantasy purposes has been Forsberg, who enters this game averaging 3.7 SOG and 11.7 DKFP over his past seven games. While he doesn’t typically grab a ton of assists, Forsberg does have 18 points in 20 games this year and is facing a Blue Jackets squad that is suffering through some terrible goalie issues and bad special teams play. Columbus has the fifth-worst penalty kill in the league and gives up the seventh-most shots against per game. The Preds are getting healthier up front and enter this game with wins in three of their past four games. Don’t be shocked if Nashville keeps scoring here against a bad defensive club right now in Columbus. It’s a good spot to deploy Forsberg, who has great upside — he’s scored 10.0 or more DKFP in seven of his past 10-games — and has been remarkably consistent this season despite the Preds’ downturn.
Value on Offense
Ryan Johansen, Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($2,900)
As mentioned above, Nashville is starting to get some healthy bodies back and Johansen is a big piece for them to welcome back. The center played over 17 minutes in his third game back, and while he’s not seeing time on the top line at regular strength he’s still seeing regular PP1 minutes. Given how bad Columbus has been on the penalty kill this year, taking the min-price salary here and stacking him with other Preds forwards or skaters seems like a solid idea given the salary he’ll save you.
Carl Soderberg, Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings ($3,400)
Soderberg is another cheap center who is getting exposure on the PP1 for his team. The Swede has now collected points in four straight games and is taking on a Red Wings team that also struggles to defend on the penalty kill as they enter this game with the third-worst penalty kill in the league. Considering Soderberg is getting to play solid minutes alongside the red hot Patrick Kane ($8,600) right now, looking to him as a cheap punt play most nights — at least until his role or salary changes — is probably a solid idea for DraftKings play.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,800)
The Predators have started to play better of late and part of that resurgence has been due to solid goaltending. With Juuse Saros ($7,800) getting the start last night in a 2-1 win, it seems like Rinne will get the start today. The veteran has accumulated three wins over his past five starts and now carries a .920 save percentage over his past 10 games. The Blue Jackets do have an offense that can strike quickly with Patrik Laine ($6,300) and Cam Atkinson ($6,600), but Rinne’s been up to the task lately and is in a good spot to pick up the win given the Preds are small -127 favorites on DK Sportsbook as of writing. He’s a solid pay-up option today for GPPs as many DFS players may not carry confidence that the Preds can win two in a row here.
Kevin Lankinen, Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings ($8,300)
Lankinen enters this game with an 8-3-1 record and is in serious contention for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. It’s a great story and one that the Blackhawks have seemingly rallied around to get themselves into playoff contention despite dealing with bad injuries to key players to start the year. The Red Wings are about as poor an offensive team as exists today and while Lankinen has looked a little shaky over his past couple of starts there’s a great shot he pays off for you with a win here given that the Blackhawks are -182 favorites as of writing. You’ll need to confirm he’s playing but he makes for a great pay-up option if you can make room.
Value on Defense
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres vs. Philadelphia Flyers ($3,600)
The price on Ristolainen seems more than fair considering he enters this game averaging 2.0 SOG per game and has six points over his past 10 starts as well. The Sabres get a matchup with the Flyers here, who enter with a penalty kill that’s been near the bottom of the league all season and now ranks second-worst in the NHL. Ristolainen was rusty after a stint on the NHL’s COVID list in his last game back but still played over 21 minutes of ice time. Considering he’s also going to get at least some power-play exposure against this Flyers squad, which looks to be starting the struggling Carter Hart ($8,000) in net, he makes for a great value target today.
Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators ($4,800)
Werenski returned for Columbus recently and has essentially stepped right back into a monster role for the Blue Jackets. He’s skated over 24 minutes in each of his first two games back and should give the Blue Jackets’ power play a boost at some point. The defenseman is still shooting way under his career shooting percentage, so positive regression seems likely to come soon for the former 20-goal scorer. The Predators have played better of late, but this is still a very dysfunctional team that sits with the fourth-worst penalty kill unit in the league right now. Considering the salary levels we’re at, using Werenski feels like a near must and he’s also an easy stack with any of CBJ’s PP1 forwards here as well.
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,100)
Josi has started to show some of the same kind of pop for fantasy scoring that we saw from him on a consistent basis last season. He’s exceeded 20.0 DKFP twice in his past three games, firing 12 SOG over that same span. As you can likely tell already, I do like the Preds here as an offense to target on this slate, mainly due to the matchup with Columbus. Josi’s the highest-priced defenseman on this slate, so he’s by no means easy to fit in but he makes for a great pay-up and correlated targeted with the aforementioned Filip Forsberg ($7,300), as the two remain the heart and soul of the Nashville offense and would certainly be involved in any power-play goals that come against the poor Columbus special teams unit. He’s a solid add on this admittedly star-deprived slate.
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