The Blue Jackets and Panthers will meet for the fifth time. Three of the last four meetings have gone to the Panthers, but two of those wins came in OT, and three of the four games have been decided by one goal. The Panthers are still missing their best forward in Aleksander Barkov (lower body), while the Blue Jackets are getting solid goaltending from Elvis Merzlikins ($7,300). The money line on Columbus looks tempting but a +1 puck line is available at a nice price as well.
The Flyers enter this game having allowed the second-most goals and with the third-worst penalty kill in the league. The Isles’ offense has also been in good shape of late, and they come in averaging 4.0 goals over their past four games. Eleven of the Flyers’ past 13 games have now seen seven or more goals scored (combined), as the team struggles mightily on defense. Look for the Islanders to continue to bring the pain here and lead to another over.
Top Line Stacks
Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Phillip Danault ($4,100) — Brendan Gallagher ($6,800) — Tomas Tatar ($4,700)
The Canadiens’ offense has finally come on over their past two games, as the team has now outscored their past two opponents 8-1. The Canadiens’ top line has been without Tyler Toffoli ($7,100; lower body, probable), and if he’s out again here, you should see Tomas Tatar take his place on this top line. Tatar has really picked up his production after a brutal start to the year, as the former Red Wing now has seven points in his past eight games, and points in five straight.
Danault has also benefited from this reunion, as he has eight points in his past five games and is averaging 8.8 DKFP over that span — 2.0 DKFP higher than his season average. Both of these players are reliant on points for fantasy purposes, but they’ve been scoring lately and have a great opponent here in the Sens, who allow the third-most SOG. Throw in perennial high-volume shooter Gallagher — who has goals in four of his past five games — and this line looks like great value considering the upside opponent on tap today.
Superstar to Target
Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres ($8,100)
The Rangers and Sabres played a close game in their first meeting of this series, a game that was eventually won in OT off a Zibanejad goal. The center endured a terrible start to the season but has recently started to show the same kind of upside which led him to score 41 goals in 57 games last year. The former Senator is now averaging an insane 20.7 DKFP over his past 10 games and has 17 real-life points over that same timespan.
The Sabres remain the cream of the crop as a DFS opponent, allowing the sixth-most SOG per night. They’ve also allowed the 11th-most quality scoring chances against this year and ceded the third-most goals per game in the league. The Rangers have averaged 4.3 goals per game over their past 10 contests and could boost that average here. Paying up for Zibanejad in this spot should be done with confidence.
Value on Offense
Anthony Beauvillier, New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers ($4,100)
Beauvillier is a solid part of the Islanders’ top six but also sees plenty of power-play time as part of New York’s PP1. The winger comes into this game in good form, averaging 8.5 DKFP over his past 10 games and with six points in his past six games. The Islanders' power play isn’t going to scare anyone, but the Flyers’ special teams are beyond terrible, making Beauvillier a nice cheap way to get exposure to this game. He’s hit 10.0 or more DKFP in five of his past 10 starts and has solid upside at this price tag today for the value shoppers.
Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres ($3,300)
Kakko has come on of late for the Rangers as the second-year winger now has three goals in his past six games and is averaging 2.3 SOG per game over his past 10 starts. Playing on the second line has helped Kakko as the Fin has got steady minutes alongside Artemi Panarin ($8,300), who himself has 15 points in his past 10 games. Kakko makes for a good stacking target if you’re planning on paying up for Panarin, but he also makes sense here as a cheap one-off play as well. He’s a goal-scorer, has been in better form of late, has seen his opportunity increase and, of course, is facing the Sabres tonight. There’s lots of potential here for little in price.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators ($8,400)
The Canadiens enter this game with the Sens having ceded just one goal over their past two games. While part of that defensive surge has come from improved play, the Canadiens’ goalies have been solid of late too. Price enters this game with a .920 save percentage and a 6-2-2 record over his past 10 games. The only worry here is a lack of SOG leading to a low save total, but the Sens actually rank sixth in the league in shots on goal, per game, so they make for the perfect matchup for an expensive favorite like Price. He’s a solid pay-up target on this bigger slate.
Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers ($7,300)
Merzlikins enters this game with just a 2-3 record over his past five starts, but his advanced stats show a different story. The second-year player has now posted a .920 save percentage over his past 10 games, and he’s also averaged 15.2 DKFP over that same span. He’s hit the DK SOG bonus twice over his past 10 starts and is benefitting in fantasy from the Blue Jackets’ defense, which allows a ton of shots against every night. The Blue Jackets have played the Panthers tight this year, so he should have a decent shot at the win bonus as well, and makes for a great pay-down option in GPPs where his upside makes him a nice target.
Value on Defense
Nick Leddy, New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers ($3,700)
There’s admittedly not a ton of great names to choose from in the value bin tonight on defense, but Leddy does stick out as someone you could potentially trust. The veteran is now manning the point on the PP1 for the Islanders, whose offense has picked up the pace over their past 10 games. For his part, Leddy has picked up eight assists over his past 10 games, with two of those coming in games against Philly. Leddy isn’t likely to get a bunch of shots on goal or blocks, but his value here increases with the opponent, as the Flyers’ penalty kill is terrible, ranking third-to-last in efficiency. The Islanders’ offense has lots of nice value available and stacking one or two of their forwards here, with the cheap Leddy, can help you squeeze in studs from other games tonight.
Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers ($4,600)
Werenski hasn’t been able to match his gaudy pace from last year, when he scored 20 goals in 62 games, but the offensive-minded defenseman is still producing better than his salary here indicates. He enters this game averaging a solid 9.5 DKFP over his past 10 starts — which is a full 1.0 over his seasonal average — and is averaging 24.5 minutes per game over that same span. Those kinds of minutes and stats should put him in a higher weight class in terms of salary, so while the matchup against the Panthers isn’t ideal, we still shouldn’t be shying away from using him. Florida does still allow over 30 SOG per game and ranks just 13th in penalty kill efficiency. Werenski’s a great mid-tier value on defense tonight.
Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild ($6,500)
Theodore enters this game flashing the kind of upside which has made him one of the best fantasy defensemen in hockey over the past year or so. Averaging 14.4 DKFP and 3.6 SOG over his past 10 games, Theodore’s coming off a six-SOG game against the Wild, who have been allowing a lot of pucks on net of late and been relying on some hot goaltending to get them through games. Vegas’ power play feels like it’s overdue for some positive regression soon given the talent they have on that team and Theodore being just the fourth-most expensive D-man on the slate makes him a target for me here again.
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