The Penguins won five more games than the Islanders in the regular season, had a goal differential that was 12 goals better, and had the fourth-best power-play in the league. The Islanders aren’t terrible by any means but this line does seem to offer us some value on the Penguins, who could potentially have Evgeni Malkin back in the lineup for Game 3. With Tristan Jarry also playing well, taking the plus money on the Penguins makes sense.
Tuch is now averaging 3.7 SOG per game and has also seen a bump in usage with Max Pacioretty out of the lineup. Even if he doesn’t score two goals a game like he did in Game 2, the high-volume shooter should keep getting opportunities in the near term. He’s a terrific target on the over bet here for his SOG prop, which is still available at a very solid price.
Top Line Stack
Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders
Sidney Crosby ($7,700) — Jake Guentzel ($6,900) — Bryan Rust ($5,900)
As mentioned above, I’m not sold that the Penguins are dead in this series. Even if they don’t get Malkin back tonight, or in the near future, Pittsburgh still owns the best line in this series by a landslide. The Penguins’ top line combined for the third-most goals in the league this season and with Malkin out, or potentially limited, these players are likely to also be featured on the Penguins’ top power-play unit.
The Islanders make for formidable opponents, but they have allowed 87 SOG through the first two games of the series. 29 of those shots have come from this first-line alone, and they have also been able to generate a couple of goals. More will come though if Pittsburgh’s top unit is able to keep generating chances like this, and while the series is tied, Pittsburgh has rated out as the better team thus far, with a nearly 7% gap in expected goal rate (xGF%) so far during the first two games. Stacking this first line here isn’t overly expensive but gives you upside to a line that’s generating a ton of chances at the moment and is likely to break through soon.
Superstar to Target
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers ($8,300)
Kucherov has clearly pulled a fast one on the NHL, perhaps being more game ready than we thought he was prior to the start of the playoffs after sitting out the entire regular season. Whatever the case, we can only go off recent performance here and both of Kucherov’s starts against the Panthers have seen him play over 19 minutes, and he’s already produced four points overall. The Panthers perhaps haven’t played as poorly as the series record suggests but they are outmanned here in terms of superstar quality, where Kucherov takes top billing.
Tampa will now be playing at home for Kucherov’s first home game since returning, and the Lightning have a chance to bury the Panthers 3-0 and give Kucherov some extra rest before the next series. With Florida’s goalies reeling and Tampa Bay’s power-play already clicking at a high-rate—all three of Kucherov’s Game 1 points came on the PP—paying up for the Tampa star here seems like the right move in DFS today.
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Value on Offense
Alex Tuch, Vegas Golden Knights at Minnesota Wild ($4,500)
Tuch is finally getting a look on the Golden Knights’ top line with Max Pacioretty out and it paid off with almost immediate dividends for the team in Game 2, as he grabbed two goals and helped propel them to the win. Tuch is a high-volume shooter when he gets ice time and landed five SOG in over 18 minutes in the Vegas win. Playing alongside an elite playmaker like Mark Stone ($6,700), his high-end scoring chances should only continue to increase here as long as Pacioretty is out, so continue to target him until either “Patches” returns or his price goes up to meet this new opportunity.
Kyle Palmieri, New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins ($3,200)
Palmieri scored twice in the Islanders’ Game 1 win. While he continues to see third-line minutes at even strength, the former Devil is a sneaky good goal scorer and someone capable of bringing consistent production for the Isles down the lineup. If he continues to get chances, expect both he and young forward Oliver Wahlstrom ($2,900) to keep getting solid minutes and perhaps even see increased power-play opportunity. The Isles don’t have a dominant first line and also have the depth advantage at forward in this series, so don’t be shy about targeting these cheap Isles going forward.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers ($8,400)
Playoff Vasilevskiy has arrived and with the Lightning up 2-0 already, one more big game can put them on the brink of a sweep. The Russian netminder has already stopped 67 of 72 SOG faced and posted a .970 save percentage in the Lightning’s last game. Vasilevskiy also posted some insanely good home splits this season, posting 18 wins in 20 homes starts with a .936 save percentage. The Panthers are in deep trouble here with the Lightning back to full strength up front and Vasilevskiy makes for a solid pay-up option on this slate.
Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild vs. Vegas Golden Knights ($7,600)
Talbot has stopped 67 of the 70 SOG he’s faced thus far in the first two games of this series and shut out the Golden Knights in Game 1. Now he returns home to make his first start where the Wild are currently small underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook. The Golden Knights are still without their best scorer in Max Pacioretty, so the Wild here look like good moneyline targets, but that also makes Talbot a very nice value option in net. He’s been the Wild’s best player so far and posted a 12-2-2 record at home this season. If you need to save cash, he’s your guy tonight in net.
Value on Defense
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild vs. Vegas Golden Knights ($3,300)
Suter may not be an elite defenseman at this point in his career but he’s still extremely solid and an integral part of the Wild’s backend. The veteran played over 23 minutes in each of the Wild’s first games with the Golden Knights and landed both the SOG and blocked shots bonus in Game 2. Suter still plays on what is the Wild’s effective first pairing, so don’t expect his minutes to dip here as they’re involved in what is likely the most competitive series of the first round. At this price, he’s likely to pay off for you regardless of whether he grabs a point or not, but if he does get on the scoresheet, the return here can be exponential given his volume of production in the tertiary fantasy categories.
Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs ($5,800)
Petry sat out the Canadiens’ last regular season game, so he should be good to hit the ground running in Game 1. The Canadiens are going to need him to play a ton here too against a Toronto offense that ranked sixth in goals scored per game and was also sixth in expected goal rate (xGF%). Petry will also be carrying the Canadiens’ power-play, which only ranked out as the 16th best unit in the league this season, but is facing a Toronto penalty-kill that was eighth-worst in the league. Petry’s a fine pay-up option in DFS, even with the Canadiens set as big underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas Golden Knights at Minnesota Wild ($6,400)
With the Wild and Golden Knights locked in one of the closest battles of the first round, expect to see the minutes on Pietrangelo rise as the series progresses. The former Blue is no stranger to huge playoff minutes and has already recorded four SOG in each of the Golden Knights’ first two games, along with one assist. These are two of the stronger teams on the penalty-kill so I like targeting Pietrangelo in this series over his teammate Shea Theodore ($5,900), who tends to be more offense oriented.
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