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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for May 23

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Sunday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings, which starts at 5:00 p.m. ET.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday features a three-game main NHL slate starting at 5:00 p.m. ET on DraftKings. In this article, you will find DFS advice for DraftKings lineups, plus some DraftKings Sportsbook bets to target.


DraftKings Sportsbook

Edmonton Oilers -136 Money line

The Oilers were the better team in the regular season and one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league. They’ve been held to one goal so far in the series, and while we often see offensive juggernauts not live up to expectations in the playoffs, it’s hard to think a team like the Jets will be winning this one in four straight. Edmonton is getting solid play in net and fired 38 shots on goal last game, so the play has been fairly even through two games. At some point, the Oilers’ stars should show up and, for the setup (down 2-0) and price, today feels like the time to dive in on their money line.


Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


Top Line Stack

Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues

Nathan MacKinnon ($8,800) — Mikko Rantanen ($7,900) — Gabriel Landeskog ($6,400)

The Blues have been so overmatched here that it’s hard not to pencil in the big line of Colorado for another big game. This line has now accumulated 18 points in the first three games of the series and is still available at a decent price tag here. MacKinnon has only been under $8,900 twice in his past 10 games while Rantanen hasn’t been under $8K in well over 10 games.

The best value of the group right now though is Landeskog, who has found another gear in this series against a banged up and outmatched Blues squad. He comes in averaging 3.3 SOG over his past 10 games and with six points in the series already. The Blues have already allowed goals on 33% of their penalty kills and were seventh-worst in that category during the regular season. Look for the Avs' best players to ensure a sweep and some extra rest.


Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $25K Sticks [$5K to 1st]


Superstar to Target

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins ($7,400)

Ovechkin and the Capitals head into this game down 3-1 and facing elimination. Outside of the last game which the Bruins won 4-1, this series has been close and Ovechkin — as we’d expect — has been the main driver of offense for the Capitals. He’s produced a point and four SOG in each of the four games thus far but is still available in Game 5 at his lowest price point of the series.

The salary alone makes him a near must roster, considering the great floor his SOG totals give us, but with the Caps getting healthier and having their backs against the wall here, a better chance of a true slate-breaking game from Ovechkin exists in this one. The Caps have a good recent record against Boston as well, so we shouldn’t be shying away from their offense here, despite Boston being solid thus far on the defensive end in the series.


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Value on Offense

Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins ($4,400)

You have to figure that the Capitals’ top-two lines are going to get a bunch of extra ice tonight in a must-win game, and any increase in ice time gives Mantha’s upside an extra boost. The former Red Wing has been very boom-or-bust since coming over but had 11 SOG (combined) in Games 2 and 3, before being held shot-less in Game 4. Mantha’s playing on a high-end second line right now with playmaker Nicklas Backstrom ($4,200), who makes for a very cheap stacking partner here.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets ($4,600)

The Oilers’ offense has been a huge bust in the first two games, but there’s still good value in targeting Puljujarvi at this price. Puljujarvi continues to skate on the top line with Connor McDavid ($9,100) and that’s unlikely to change here in Game 3. Puljujarvi has played over 18 minutes in each of the first two games and landed nine shots on goal and an assist already, so his effort really isn’t what’s holding the Oilers back. Expect to see him on the top line again here in a game where the Oilers' offense feels almost destined to breakout.


Stud Goalies

Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins ($7,400)

Samsonov has lost the last two games for the Capitals but his effort really hasn’t been the issue for Washington. In the last two games (combined) the Russian has stopped 73 of 80 shots faced and likely gives them the best chance of making a comeback in this series. For what it's worth, Samsonov has been much better at home this year, too, as his 2021 save percentage is about .20 points higher at home than on the road. The Caps are small underdogs today but this series has been tight all season and this price allows you to save a ton of salary for other positions. I like playing for a tight game here considering how close these teams usually play, which makes Samsonov an attractive paydown target.


Value on Defense

Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche ($4,300)

The Blues enter this game still massively short-handed on defense and likely won’t be rushing anyone back given that they’re now down 3-0. Parayko has played over 25 minutes in each of the past two games and landed an assist while recording five SOG in Game 3. The Blues aren’t playing for tomorrow, so expect Parayko to get all the ice time he can handle in Game 4. With Parayko having a good SOG volume for a defenseman, there’s little not to like about this price, even if you don’t think the Blues are likely to put up much of a fight in this one.


Power-Play Defensemen

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues ($5,700)

One option you have tonight when stacking the Avalanche is to use Makar with one or two of their top forwards to keep some salary flexibility for other spots. The defenseman had a great end of the season for the Avs, recording a couple of monster fantasy games down the stretch, and now has four power-play points over the past eight games. I went over how poor the Blues’ penalty kill is above and Makar is always a fixture there for Colorado, which has averaged five goals through three games played. Makar’s a good way to get exposure to the Avs’ PP1 and brings similar upside to the forwards on that unit, who all cost significantly more tonight.

John Carlson, Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins ($5,500)

Carlson is available at a steep discount tonight and his lowest price point in well over 10 games. The offensive production in 2021 wasn’t as good as it was in 2020 for Carlson, but he does enter this game with 46 points in 56 games and has already picked up two power-play points in this series. He’s going to play a ton in this spot given the threat of elimination and produces too well in the other areas not to try and get some exposure to his big upside at this price. Parts of the Caps’ offense are all available at discounts today and Carlson should be a top target on defense as a result.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $25K Sticks [$5K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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