The Islanders are coming off five straight losses and have now been off for six days thanks to some COVID-19 rescheduling. The Isles aren’t playing that bad, though, as they’ve allowed the fourth-fewest scoring chances against and the eight-fewest goals overall. The Penguins make for a good opponent for them to see some positive regression in the goal-scoring department too, which has to be coming for them soon. Pittsburgh’s 11th in goals against and has the seventh-worst penalty-kill in the league. The Isles at near even money as the home team here look enticing.
These two teams played four times last season and hit the over on this number in three of those games. The Oilers have been allowing a ton of scoring chances in every game, and have given up the fifth-most scoring chances against this season. Meanwhile, they’ve also created the seventh-most scoring chances, while the Flames are eighth in that same stat. With the Oilers’ offense humming (16 goals in their last three games), the over here looks like the side to be on.
Top Line Stacks
Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs
Elias Pettersson ($6,000) – J.T. Miller ($5,300) – Brock Boeser ($5,800)
The Canucks are now losers of three straight and have allowed 18 goals against in their past three games. The defensive issues of this team make them great DFS opponents for your skaters, but it also means their top line is going to be involved in shootouts every night, which is also great for DFS. The Leafs are still a shaky defensive team themselves and have given up the 10th-most scoring chances against while also featuring the ninth-worst penalty kill so far in 2021. Toronto has only limited opponents to less than three goals once in their past five games, making this top line for Vancouver look mighty undervalued tonight.
While Elias Pettersson has started the season somewhat slow (nine points in 11 games) he’s still helped lift both of his linemates to point-per-game paces and may be due for some positive goal-scoring regression soon, as his season-long 11% shooting average is 5% under his career pace. This line sticks together at both even strength and on the PP1 for the Canucks, which makes them a great stacking target most nights, but especially here against a DFS friendly opponent like the Leafs. These two teams combined for 10 goals two nights ago, so don’t be afraid to stack this game hard on just a four-game slate.
Superstar to Target
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks ($8,400)
While taking advantage of the Canucks’ cheaper salaries is nice, we also need to get some exposure to the other side of this game. Vancouver is last in almost every defensive category right now including shots allowed and scoring chances allowed. This is a team that has now allowed five or more goals in eight of its 14 games thus far and is second only to the woeful Senators in goals allowed per game.
Matthews comes into this game on a six-game goal-scoring streak and off a two-goal, seven SOG performance against the Canucks two days ago. The Toronto center worked on his fitness over the summer and it has seemed to pay dividends. The deeper we’ve gotten into the season the more Matthews has been able to impose his will on other teams. He’s going to have a fantastic shot at adding to his totals tonight as well and on this small four-game slate it makes sense to simply take the awesome matchup we’ve been given here rather than decide which Oiler star to build around.
Value on Offense
Dillon Dube, Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers ($3,000)
Dube hasn’t produced a ton yet this season — he’s only averaging 5.4 DKFP per game — but the opportunities are there, as he’s consistently skated alongside Matthew Tkachuk ($6,700) and Elias Lindholm ($6,300) on the Flames’ first line. The Oilers allow the seventh-most SOG and are also bottom 10 in scoring chances allowed, so this is a good spot to see a little extra production from the Flames’ top-six forwards. Dube’s lack of power-play exposure isn’t as big a deal here against a weaker five-on-five team like the Oilers, so I like taking the discount on Dube tonight.
Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks ($3,900)
I put up Silfverberg in this article last night, and while he didn’t score, he did play over 16 minutes and produced five SOG and 10.5 DKFP — production we will take every night from a player priced this low. His price actually went down by $100 for this slate despite being matched up against the Sharks again, who have allowed the sixth-most SOG per game and scoring chances against this year. If he stays busy tonight, Silfverberg should have a great shot at a goal against this weak Sharks team, and he continues to get time on the Ducks’ PP1, making him a solid value target at this price regardless of matchup.
Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames ($7,400)
Koskinen is coming off a solid 4-2 win against Ottawa in a game where he stopped 23 of 25 SOG and could have easily had an even better save percentage if not for a late garbage-time goal by Ottawa. The Oilers allow a lot of scoring chances, but Koskinen (who has started 11 of 12 games for the Oilers) is coming off a nice stretch of rest — he’s only played once in the past six days — and should be up for a Flames team which is averaging just 2.6 goals per game (seventh-worst in the NHL) and ranks seventh-to-last in scoring chances against. The price here and the fact that he’ll have a good shot at the save bonus make him a solid GPP target.
Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins ($8,200)
Varlamov and the Isles are coming off a long period of rest after their schedule got reconfigured due to COVID-19. The Russian netminder has held up his end of the bargain for the Islanders, as he features a .924 save percentage and two SO’s. While his past two games don’t look great from a fantasy perspective, it’s mainly been a lack of scoring upfront that has kept him from getting a few more wins on the season. The Pens have been equally hampered defensively and feature a sputtering offense that ranks 12th-to-last in goals per game and 10th-to-last in power-play efficiency. The Isles should bounce back from a five-game losing streak here, and Varlamov will certainly have a solid night if they do so.
Value on Defense
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks ($3,200)
Fowler’s another cheap Duck who I don’t mind keeping in this column for one more night. He produced four SOG and an assist for us last night against the Sharks (while playing over 23 minutes), yet we are again getting more incentive to take him as a punt play given the reduced salary (he’s $300 cheaper than last night). Fowler’s power-play exposure and solid minutes make him a good target whenever he’s priced this cheap, but against the hapless Sharks, he’s got legitimate upside that could see him go for 5x value here.
Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames ($2,800)
Bouchard got his chance in the Oilers’ lineup in his last game and looked much improved over his brief stint with the team back in 2018. The 10th-overall pick in the 2018 draft, Bouchard’s a slick puck-mover and already showed some of his potential offensive upside in his last game with a nice assist on a Jesse Puljujarvi ($4,500) goal. The Oilers have been shuffling players a lot so you’ll have to check that Bouchard’s even in the lineup here, but at this price, the offensive talent here is worth betting on. Four SOG in just 16 minutes in his last game is a limited sample, but it’s a solid taste of what could be coming down the pipe for fantasy purposes when his minutes go up.
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks ($5,800)
I won’t belabor how good this matchup is for the Leafs’ skill players, as we’ve already discussed it in length above. Still, it should be noted that for whatever reason, Rielly’s price-tag doesn’t seem to be taking the Canucks’ defensive woes into account. Toronto’s power-play has been humming to start the year as they’ve hit on a 40% rate (best in the league), and Rielly now has three power-play assists over his past four games as he continues to play heavy minutes on the PP1 for Toronto. The Canucks are not likely going to be the ones to slow this unit down either, and Rielly’s a player who seems overdue for a little “puck luck” too as his shooting percentage over the last season and a half has been under his career average. A former 20-goal scorer, taking advantage of the solid price here seems like a good idea against the Canucks and he makes for a perfect stacking target for whatever Leafs forwards you decide to target here.
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