The Bruins come in without the services of one of their top wingers in Brad Marchand and haven’t potted more than three goals in their past nine contests. In fact, they’ve averaged just 2.0 goals scored per game over their past nine and the totals in their games have all hit five or less in eight of their past 10. New Jersey still ranks fourth-to-last in goals per game as well. Despite all the evidence to the under here, there is still a 5.5 total and good odds to bet the under on the DraftKings Sportsbook, making it a solid target for me on this Sunday.
Tarasenko has just one goal since returning to action 10 games ago, but he’s been much more aggressive with his shot of late. The Russian has attempted 13 SOG over his past two games and had a couple of extremely close calls in his last game against the Ducks two nights ago. Considering how often his shot is getting through right now, it does feel like a goal or two is coming soon and I don’t mind taking a chance that it happens today against the hapless Ducks. Anaheim has allowed the fifth-most scoring chances against this far in 2021 and makes for a great opponent to target this prop against.
Top Line Stacks
Boston vs. New Jersey
Patrice Bergeron ($7,500) — David Pastrnak ($9,100) — Matt Grzelcyk ($4,900)
The four-game slate today has a lot of teams without big offensive lines or just dealing with injuries to their star players. Even the Bruins will be without the aforementioned Marchand, which makes stacking their top players a little tricky. The Devils do make for a great target for opposing forwards, though, especially those with good power-play exposure. The Devils carry the worst penalty kill in the league into this game, so targeting the power play of the Bruins is still a great idea. Grzelcyk has taken over PP1 duties since his return from injury and the defenseman now has seven points and is averaging 3.2 SOG over his past 10 games. That kind of production is what we generally see from players priced well above $5K, and when you add in the Devils as a matchup, he makes for a great target today.
But if we’re playing Grzelcyk, we should also be targeting at least one of the Bruins’ big forwards. Bergeron may have cooled down a bit of late, but with the Devils allowing over 31 shots against per game, his chances for a decent night here seem good considering how much ice time he gets. Pastrnak will be chalky, but do you really want to fade a guy averaging 4.6 SOG against the Devils? Maybe on a larger slate, but the Bruins’ power play is a great one to build around. The value from Grzlyck’s price will let you fit in the other two studs and give you a shot at a big fantasy day from one of the best forward combos in the league.
Superstar to Target
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues vs. Anaheim Ducks ($6,000)
Tarasenko may not have the recent production to deserve the term “superstar” right now, but as a player who has scored 30-plus goals multiple times — and scored 40-plus once — we do know the potential is there. As I mentioned above, his production has been slow since returning, but his last few games have seen him start to pick up his play and he comes in averaging 4.2 SOG per game over his past three contests. His last outing against the Ducks, who have allowed the fifth-most scoring chances in the league, saw him rack up a post and six SOG for the night. St. Louis’ offense has been ice cold of late, but Tarasenko feels like a player on the absolute verge of a breakout soon. He won’t break the bank like most stud forwards, but he does feel like a bit of a must target to me here on this smaller slate given both his recent surge and the opponent.
Value on Offense
Eeli Tolvanen, Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks ($4,600)
The Predators have had very few bright spots this year, but Tolvanen is trying to give Preds fans something to be cheery about. The 21-year-old is now seeing top-six minutes on the regular and enters this game with two goals and six points over his past four games. With Filip Forsberg out today, Tolvanen’s minutes will likely see a small spike as the already offensively challenged Preds don’t really have any option but to play him as much as possible on the top two lines and power play. He’s a nice target here against the Blackhawks, who continue to allow a ton of scoring chances — the fourth-most in the league, thus far — on a nightly basis.
Noel Acciari, Florida Panthers at Dallas Stars ($4,300)
The Panthers are without Alex Barkov for the time being and it has meant some line juggling. Acciari has remained as their third-line center, but the team has been rolling three scoring lines and Acciari has also been promoted up to the Panthers’ PP1 for now. The center has also seen a huge bump in minutes played and comes in averaging 20 minutes per game over his past three outings. He’s made the most of his increased opportunity too as he now has four assists in his past three games. The Panthers' power play has been good all season — the seventh-best in the league — so targeting Acciari gives you a good way to get cheap exposure to a solid unit.
Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues vs. Anaheim Ducks ($8,100) or Ville Husso ($7,900)
The Blues haven’t announced a starter for today yet so either of their top-two goalies could get the start here. Binnington is technically on a three-game losing streak but he really hasn’t played that poorly of late. In the Blues' last game against the Ducks, he only allowed two goals on 22 shots faced — the Ducks' other two goals were empty netters — and it was only three starts ago that he stopped 30 of 31 shots in a win against the Sharks. The Blues remain massive -215 favorites today, despite losing the first game of this series and I do like paying for whichever Blues goalie gets the call. St. Louis hasn’t played great but they seem overdue for an offensive outburst and their goalies are overdue for a little positive puck luck to fall their way. If Husso does get the start it’s also worth noting that he’s put up save percentages of .933 or better in two of his past four starts. I like relaying on the Blues goalie here regardless.
Value on Defense
Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks at St. Louis Blues ($4,000)
On a short slate, we need to consider all our options and the Ducks’ power play remains a cheap source of value. Shattenkirk is another veteran who still sees pretty solid minutes on a nightly basis and currently QBs the Ducks’ PP1. He’s pointless in four games now, but has produced nicely in small stretches this season and is averaging 8.1 DKFP over his past 10 games. From a pure upside perspective, he may be the best target in this range, which isn’t saying much, and even though I like the Blues here their penalty kill enters this game as the sixth-worst in the league. Shatty’s a solid option if you need to save some cash at defense or are just looking to get a little contrarian with some Ducks power-play exposure today.
Roman Josi, Nashville at Chicago Blackhawks ($6,700)
Josi has really been carrying the Predators’ offense in a lot of ways and he comes into this game with nine assists (six on the power play) in his past 10 games. The Preds are short-handed upfront today without Filip Forsberg, but in theory that should lead to Josi being more aggressive with his shot, especially when on the power play. The Blackhawks allow the most SOG per game of any team in the league and have dipped down all the way to 26th in penalty-kill efficiency. Josi is certainly overdue for a goal (going on 11 games) and while the Preds’ special teams this year haven’t been great, Nashville does come in as a team averaging 4.0 goals over the past four games. Paying up for Josi today and using a Preds skater or two isn’t the worst idea on this short-slate.
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