There’s lots of narratives we could follow here to take the Montreal side. Obviously the hit on Jake Evans in Game 1 will be a huge rallying cry, but what about the fact the Canadiens may just be the better team? Montreal had more SOG in Game 1 and carried a significant edge in xGF% (expected goal rate) and scoring chances allowed in the regular season. Carey Price was the better goalie in Game 1 and as far as narratives go, the veteran is likely wanting to make a statement after the big hit on one of the Canadiens’ young forwards. The Montreal moneyline is still worth chasing here.
The Golden Knights’ top line was the second biggest producer in terms of goals scored during the regular season and you have to expect they’ll make their mark on this series eventually. Pacioretty scored two or more points 13 times this season and looked closer to his normal self in Game 2 after returning from injury. These odds are big enough to risk that this is where the Knights’ top line makes their mark with one of their best wingers.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Top Line Stack
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche
Chandler Stephenson ($4,300) — Mark Stone ($5,700) — Max Pacioretty ($6,600)
The Golden Knights played a much tighter game against the Avs in Game 2 but still came up short. They now head back to Vegas for Game 3 in what will obviously be a bit of a do or die game. Their top line has yet to produce any goals in this series but I would expect that they will show up soon. This line was the second most productive in terms of goals scored during the regular season and is available at a massive discount today. This might be the cheapest price-point we’ve had on winger Max Pacioretty all season and he comes in having scored points in three straight games. He averaged over a point-per-game in the regular season and just under four SOG per game, so even if you choose not to stack him with winger Mark Stone, he’s a great bargain on his own.
Speaking of Stone, he was far more effective at home this season as he averaged 11.6 DKFP and scored 39 of his 66 points while playing in Vegas. We’ve seen Stone and Pacioretty go for five points or more combined on more than four occasions this season so taking the discount on the top line of the slight underdogs seems like a fine way to start today. Even if they don’t win the game, this line could be in for a big night in a game that has the potential to deliver a lot of goals given the two top lines involved.
Superstar to Target
Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights ($7,700)
Rantanen has really come into his own in these playoffs, displaying a sick blend of playmaking and goal-scoring touch. The Fin has three points and has nine SOG already in this series, a total which includes the OT winner from Game 2. While you can certainly pay up for the entire Colorado first line again today—as they combined for eight points in Game 1—Rantanen offers the best blend of upside and savings of the three. He’s $1,500 cheaper than Nathan MacKinnon ($9,200) today and Rantanen does produce often on the power-play where he was sixth in scoring this season. You’ll want at least a little exposure to the Colorado big line on any two-game slate and Rantanen provides the best of both worlds, making him a great anchor play in what could be an explosive Game 3.
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Value on Offense
Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets ($5,200)
Gallagher returned to action after a long layoff, just in time for the playoffs to begin. He still looked out-of-form in the first series against the Leafs, where he produced just one goal, but it was a big one in Game 7. He’s used that momentum and looks far more comfortable on the ice now as he also grabbed a goal in the first game. The Canadiens have gone with a more balanced attack in the playoffs so don’t expect to see Gallagher play 20 minutes per game anytime soon, but his line could be in for a slight bump after he’s been able to grab goals in two straight games. He’s a high volume shooter and a player worth targeting at this price on a two-game slate.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens ($3,800)
The Jets have lost their number one center, Mark Scheifele, for four games due to suspension so there’s obviously going to be a void to fill here. The Jets may get Paul Stastny back for this game as well, but regardless of whether he plays or not, expect to see Dubois’ ice-time go up a touch. The former Blue Jacket has been a disappointment from a fantasy perspective since coming to Winnipeg, but he does offer solid one-game upside in a situation like this. Even if he stays on the second line, the Jets could choose to roll out himself and Nikolaj Ehlers ($5,600) more frequently here, making them a solid contrarian mini-stack today.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets ($7,900)
Price outplayed the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in Connor Hellebuyck in Game 1 of this series and you have to think his motivation will be high to top that feat for Game 2. Despite Price being a goalie, he’s very much the veteran leader of this team and after seeing one of his teammates get crushed by a dirty hit in Game 1, a statement game by him here would not be shocking. As dominant as Hellebuyck was in the first series for WPG, it’s worth reminding people that he was shaky at times in the regular season so there’s no guarantee he pops back up quickly for Game 2. Price has won four games in a row now and is averaging right around a .935 save percentage for those wins. This game is really close in terms of the odds with MTL just a slight underdog. Price likely won’t be overly popular here, which makes him a great target for me again in DFS at under $8K.
Value on Defense
Samuel Girard, Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights ($3,700)
Girard has been a pivotal player for the Avalanche this season, as he filled in as their top D-man when injuries hit their backend mid-season. The versatile defenseman was on pace to smash his career highs for points over a full season and comes into this game having now grabbed four assists over his last three outings, one of which came on the power-play. Girard obviously takes a back seat on the PP1 most nights to Cale Makar ($6,000) but he’s still playing well over 20 minutes per game and will get the odd power-play exposure with COL’s top players depending on the in-game adjustments. He’s a solid player who can easily show up with a point here and has also now grabbed multiple blocked shots in five of his last 10 games. At well under $4K, he’s the best lower-tier value target on the board for those wanting to pay down on D.
Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche ($5,900)
As you would expect, Pietrangelo has been a big minutes eater for the Golden Knights in the playoffs thus far. The former St. Louis Blue has also stepped up his production from a fantasy standpoint as well as he’s now averaging 3.9 SOG and 2.3 blocked shots over his last 10 games. Those are elite numbers and while he’s only grabbed four real life points in that same span, any kind of multi-point game will mean he could give us a slate-breaking kind of performance, given his production in other areas. He does split time with Shea Theodore ($5,500) on the power-play but his production in the other areas makes him vastly superior for fantasy to his teammate, especially at these prices.
Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets ($5,000)
Weber has now played over 24 minutes for the Canadiens in each of their last five games. The veteran is sharing some of the power-play load with Jeff Petry ($5,300) but played over 60% of the man advantage time for the Habs in Game 1 and has also now fired 12 SOG over the last three games. Weber doesn’t produce from a point-perspective like he did in the past but with his minutes up he’s still an elite shot producer for a defenseman. He’ll be out there lots on the man advantage for the Canadiens, so if you are targeting their power-play today he makes for a good cheap addition to any MTL stack.
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