The Blue Jackets have scored four or more goals in each of their last four games. While they are still allowing goals at an alarming rate, they’re also being carried by some inspired play from Patrik Laine and face a Sabres team today who is nearly as bad as they are at keeping the puck out of their own net. The Sabres have a bottom-10 penalty-kill and have allowed four or more goals in four of their last six games. The big odds in play on this one make it extra juicy and worth taking on.
The Bruins suffered a big loss yesterday when Brad Marchand was suspended for six games. It was well deserved but that leaves Boston in a tough spot with Carolina coming to town. They’re also dealing with a deflating loss to Pittsburgh and the retirement of Tuukka Rask. The Hurricanes nearly pulled off a four-goal comeback in their last game and should be buzzing today after getting beat by a weaker Senators team. They’re set up as good value at plus money.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche
Brayden Point ($6,200) — Nikita Kucherov ($7,500) — Ondrej Palat ($4,700)
The Tampa Bay Lightning should have their top line back together when they face the Avalanche. The Avalanche have been great at home this season (20-2-2) but they’re a team that doesn’t mind getting into shootouts either. The Avalanche have produced just a 74% penalty-kill rate at home which ranks them in the bottom eight of the league.
The Lightning will be set to take full advantage too as they should have Nikita Kucherov back for this matchup. The Russian winger has 17 points in his first 11 games of the season and has had the Lightning first line in full force on a nightly basis of late. His 4.4 shots on goal over the last 10 games also makes his $7,500 salary tonight look extremely cheap and the fact he’s still considered day-to-day (but very likely to play) should help keep ownership levels down.
Using him with Brayden Point is also a no-brainer because the two play big minutes at both regular strength and on the power-play. Point has also upped his level of production since Kucherov returned and is averaging 3.8 shots himself over the last 10 games—and well over 12.0 DKFP. You could try to stuff in power-play catalyst Victor Hedman ($6,400) with the two Tampa studs but winger Ondrej Palat brings multi-goal upside at under $5K. The savings are too valuable to ignore not to stack the Lightning’s big line in this premier Thursday matchup.
Superstar to Target
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators ($7,000)
There are some big names we could consider paying up for today as David Pastrnak ($8,300) and Auston Matthews ($9,700) are both on this juicy slate, but the better value can be had by simply paying down for Sidney Crosby. Crosby has averaged 19.1 DKFP over his last 10 starts, a stat that certainly makes his $7,000 salary look objectively low when compared to the other big names.
The Penguins’ big-line has really turned up the production since getting fully healthy and has now combined for an astounding 17 points between them over the last three games alone. The Senators have played better of late but they’re also thin up front due to injuries and will likely need a monster game from former Penguin Matt Murray ($7,200) to even keep the score sane. Crosby is in a great position to vastly out-perform his salary today and checks in as a great core target.
Value on Offense
Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets at Buffalo Sabres ($4,500)
As mentioned above, the Columbus offense has been rolling of late. Laine has been a huge reason why as the Finn has landed an incredible six goals in his last three games. More incredible is the fact you can still roster Laine today for under $5,000 against a Sabres team that allows the second-most shots per game and has a bottom-10 penalty-kill. Laine and center Boone Jenner ($5,300) can even be had for less than $10,000 as a pair, making Columbus top-liners a great source of value.
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues vs. New Jersey Devils ($4,300)
Another winger who has played well of late and looks far too low in price is Brayden Schenn. Schenn comes into this game having landed 13 points in his last 10 games and is back to playing in a top-line role alongside Ryan O’Reilly ($5,900) for the Blues. The winger isn’t a high-volume shooter these days but he’s been connecting a lot of late and gets us exposure to one of the best power plays in the league, which is facing the Devils (who sit third to last in goals against this season). Schenn and Laine both make for great value targets if you want to pay down at winger today.
Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins ($7,500)
The Hurricanes are coming off back-to-back 4-3 losses but it’s worth noting that while Andersen took the L in his last start, he still held a tough Toronto offense to just three goals in regulation. Andersen has been just as solid on the road this season as he has been at home, posting a .927 save percentage and a 13-3-1 road record in 17 appearances.
There are bigger favorites to target on this slate but we also have to factor in price, which sees the former Maple Leaf at one of his lowest salary points of the season today. When you also factor in the Bruins being without one of their best wingers, the upside and value you’re getting with Andersen look unmatched at these levels. He’s a great GPP target and will help the process of building more balanced rosters today.
Value on Defense
Dmitry Orlov, Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens ($3,500)
The Capitals’ secondary players will all be good sources of value today as they take on the Canadiens, who have somehow gotten worse over the last few weeks. The Canadiens have now allowed a mind-blowing 33 goals over their last five games (6.66 per game), making this a higher upside spot for a defenseman like Orlov—who does provide some exposure to the power play. Orlov is averaging a solid 3.5 blocked shots + shots on net per game and has seen two of his seven goals come with the man advantage.
Even in this plus matchup, his salary has remained well under $4,000, making him an easy value target. The Capitals may be without Alex Ovechkin for another game but will also open up more shot attempts for role players like Orlov. Target Washington players at your leisure today against the worst team in hockey.
Power Play Defensemen
Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets at Buffalo Sabres ($6,100)
We can attack the Sabres in multiple ways today and the blue line is the exception. Zach Werenski may be in a goalless drought but he still looks solid in this game against the Devils. Werenski racks up some of the highest power-play minutes per game in the entire league and is averaging a solid 4.5 blocked shots + shots on goal over his last 10 games.
The big games haven’t been there of late for Werenski, but he’s still averaging over 0.5 points on the season and is facing a team that gives up plenty of shots on net. Any Blue Jackets forward stack tonight is going to be cost-effective and adding Werenski to it at just over $6K is a good idea given how hot this offense has been of late. A breakout game wouldn’t be shocking for a player who is shooting well below his career average at the moment.
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