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The Red Wings come into this game as losers of four of their last five games but were competitive in three of their four games against Dallas, the last of which resulted in an OT loss. The Red Wings have received some superb goaltending from Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Bernier in their last two starts and they take on a much weaker team in the Blue Jackets here, who have now lost nine straight. The Red Wings are the better team right now and at +123, they make for a good moneyline target.
Hughes comes into this game averaging a very healthy 3.8 SOG over his last 10 starts. The second-year player has been far more aggressive of late and is playing big minutes for New Jersey, having now seen 10 minutes or more of ice time in six of his last eight starts. He’s hit the over on this in six straight games and has a good enough matchup here to keep pounding the over on this prop tonight, even at the reduced odds.
Top Line Stack
Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils
Sean Couturier ($7,000) — Claude Giroux ($5,600) — Jakub Voracek ($5,300)
I almost went with Couturier as my stud to target today, but in this good of a matchup we should really just be targeting his entire line. The Flyers’ newly reunited top-trio went for five points and three goals against the Devils in their first meeting as New Jersey gave up a two goal lead late, allowing Philly to come back and grab a win. New Jersey’s penalty-kill (which ranks last in the league) wasn’t the culprit in that game, but the Flyers did grab a late goal with the goaltender pulled. This veteran line has plenty of experience working together and has picked up steam from a fantasy perspective of late. Couturier leads the charge in consistency as he’s averaging 3.0 SOG per game over his last 10 starts and has hit double digit DKFP in each of his last three games. Both Giroux and Voracek are following suit, and Giroux especially has shown more spunk with 13 SOG over his last three starts.
The Devils are the crown jewel of matchups as they not only have a terrible penalty-kill but also have the worst goaltending duo in the league (in terms of pure GAA). They also allow 31 SOG per game. With a very palatable price tag, dipping back into the Flyers’ first line and PP1 stack tonight makes a lot of sense.
Superstar to Target
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins ($8,400)
Targeting Pastrnak since his return has been a little frustrating. The big winger hasn’t been terrible, but for fantasy purposes he’s not delivering as many big games as we’re used to. All that said, I do like him for a bounce-back of sorts here. The Penguins shut out the Bruins in the first game of their mini-series, but the Bruins had picked up their offensive output prior to that start, landing 17 goals in four games. Pastrnak is currently shooting well below his career 14.4% shooting average, so some positive “puck-luck” seems likely to be headed his way soon—which is just a fancy way of saying he’s overdue for a goal or two.
The Penguins don’t allow a ton of scoring chances at even strength, but they do carry the eighth-worst penalty-kill, which boosts Pasta’s prospects a bit here. With plenty of motivation tonight to bounce back against a division rival, I’d be fine anchoring around him here in DFS, even if the results from him have been somewhat muted of late.
Value on Offense
Sam Bennett, Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators ($3,700)
Is Sam Bennett playing? Check. Is his DraftKings price still under $4K? Check. Play him. It’s really become that simple with the Panthers’ new second-line center, who continues to show how underused and miserable he was in Calgary by scoring in bunches with his new team. Bennett scored the only goal against Nashville in the first meeting between these teams and also recorded five SOG (he has 11 over his last two games). Having now grabbed double-digit DKFP in five of his last six games, Bennett remains the top value target here.
Jakub Vrana, Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets ($4,600)
Vrana predictably was muted in his last game, his first follow-up after a historic four-goal outburst against Dallas last week. He has always been a streaky scorer but is getting plenty of opportunities in Detroit right now as part of the Red Wings’ top line and PP1. The matchup here is much improved over his last outing too as Columbus allows the fifth most SOG per game and has ceded the third-most scoring chances in the league. At well under $5K, you can go upside seeking again with Vrana tonight, in a great matchup.
Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders at Washington Capitals ($7,600)
Varlamov looks likely to grab the start here for the Islanders after his goal-mate was beaten for six goals in the Isles’ last game against the Caps. Varlamov comes in playing well too as he’s stopped 53 of the last 54 shots he’s faced and carries a .924 save percentage on the season. The Caps will still be without Alex Ovechkin today, so the spot becomes an even better one for Varlamov as he’ll get the Washington offense at far less than 100%. At well under $8K and in great form, Varlamov makes for a great value target today in net.
Jonathan Bernier, Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,100)
The Red Wings haven’t announced a starter yet, but both of their goalies are coming off great starts and they have a solid opponent here in the Blue Jackets, who have lost nine straight games. Bernier stopped a career-high 50 shots in his last outing—a 2-1 OT loss to Dallas—and is averaging 13.8 DKFP over his last 10 games. I mentioned the Wings above under the bets section and they are in a decent spot here to grab a win, despite being the underdogs on DraftKings Sportbook. Bernier’s a great target for GPPs where his salary will open tons of space for you.
Value on Defense
Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators ($3,600)
Yandle is a streaky fantasy producer, one who is almost solely reliant on points. The power-play specialist is only seeing around 15-20 minutes per game but much of that does come on the man advantage. When he does score, Yandle tends to do it in bunches and even an assist would help him meet value at this price. The Preds still carry a bottom-10 penalty-kill and with Yandle averaging 2.3 SOG per game, the price is right here to take a shot with the veteran, especially if you’re planning on stacking forwards from Florida’s PP1.
Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers ($4,200)
Dahlin has been a solid producer for fantasy purposes over the last month or so. The former first-overall selection is averaging a solid 2.5 SOG and 9.0 DKFP over his last 10 starts. Dahlin has looked far more comfortable of late and is starting to play big minutes for the club as the season winds down, as his recent ice time has been in the 23-minute range on most nights. The matchup isn’t the greatest, but the price here is still worth paying for the talent and volume we’re getting. Dahlin makes for a great pay-down option here, and will be appealing going forward if his price stays around this range.
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning at Chicago Blackhawks ($6,900)
It’s a rare thing to see Hedman priced below $7K, especially in the kind of matchup that he has tonight. Hedman has been in a fantasy slump (for him) of late, as he’s averaging just 9.3 DKFP over his last 10 starts. That said, we know there’s massive upside with Hedman every time he takes the ice and he is coming off a multi-point game against another weak opponent in Columbus two days ago. Chicago allows the second-most SOG in the league and carries the sixth-worst penalty-kill as well. This makes Hedman appealing here considering the big power-play minutes he plays. The Tampa Bay PP1 is a good stacking target tonight and paying for Hedman at under $7K is a good way to get a piece of it.
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