If you’ve read my articles recently you know I’ve been keeping tabs on the Canadiens’ run of late, and after another win over the Senators on Saturday, there’s no reason to get scared of them today against the Jets. Winnipeg broke a four-game losing streak of their own with a win over Arizona on Sunday but haven’t been a solid home team this season. They’ve slipped to below league average in expected goal rate and have allowed the ninth-most scoring chances. The Canadiens have found solid goaltending finally with Sam Montembeault, who has stopped 92 of his last 96 shots faced, and looks like solid value again at big +185 odds.
The Minnesota Wild have a 16-4-1 record in 21 home starts this season, so whenever the moneyline gets this close to even, the Wild become somewhat of an instant value at home. The reason it’s even close at all—with Minnesota as slight favorites—is of course because they are playing the Flames, who trounced them 7-3 in the last game. That match was made to look more lopsided than it was though with two empty-net goals. Minnesota has been slumping of late (five losses in six games) but at home, against a big rival (who has been playing a lot lately), this a good spot to back them.
Minnesota Wild vs. Calgary Flames
Ryan Hartman ($5,000) — Kirill Kaprizov ($7,500) — Mats Zuccarello ($5,500)
The Wild lost a 7-3 game in Calgary two days ago, but they did manage to get three past Jacob Markstrom on just 25 shots and should be prepped to try and get out of the gates faster in the rematch. The Wild forwards have all been far better fantasy rosters at home this season with Kirill Kaprizov leading the way in that regard. Kaprizov has averaged 1.5 real-life points per game at home and 19.5 DKFP per game in 20 home starts. While the Wild top line has cooled off a bit of late, Kaprizov landed five shots and a goal against Calgary in their first meeting and looks like a solid roster at under $8,000.
If we like Kaprizov, we almost certainly need to pair him with Mats Zuccarello these days, who skates alongside the Russian at both even strength and on on the power-play. Zuccarello has blossomed into an over-a-point per game player this season, and one of the most unassuming ones at that. Like Kaprizov, he’s been far more productive at home, averaging 15.2 DKFP at home, compared to just 9.8 on the road. Finishing the stack with center Joel Eriksson Ek is also an easy decision. Like Zucarrello, Ek is undervalued for fantasy purposes considering his role on the power-play (10 of his 16 goals this season have come with the man advantage) and he’s even taken over official first-line duties for the time being at center.
Calgary’s a stiff test but the Wild have scored against everyone this season (5th most goals on the season) and their top line looked like it was just getting started at the very recent meeting between these two teams.
Superstar to Target
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers at Philadelphia Flyers ($8,900)
There’s lots of offensive firepower to choose from today, but I don’t mind going to the top of the board and seeing if we can get a slate-breaking game from the world’s best. Connor McDavid has looked like he’s ready to break out with just such a game of late, as he’s now grabbed multiple points in three of his last five starts. McDavid’s started shooting more of late too (45 shots in his last 10 games), a trend which brought on his torrid start of the season.
The Oilers are entrenched in a dogfight for the final playoff spots in the West at the moment and have been involved in close games with two Eastern Conference powerhouses in their last two starts. Now they get the weaker Flyers and don’t have time for any let-up. Expect a big game from McDavid in this spot, who torched the Flyers for 31.5 DKFP back in a loss during the first month of the season.
Value on Offense
Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets ($3,400)
The Canadiens’ first line has been doing much of the damage for them of late on the scoreboard, but there’s still some potential value lurking on their second line. Brendan Gallagher has regressed this season from a goal-scoring standpoint, but mainly out of necessity, he’s still entrenched in a top-six role and is grabbing PP1 ice of late as well.
It hasn’t translated to much scoring lately but Gallagher has landed four or more shots on net in two of his last three games and takes on a Jets team who has featured some of the worst special teams this season. Gallagher’s gone goalless for over 10 games but his efforts should pay off soon, and at under $3,500 today, he’s a solid value with the entire Canadiens team looking somewhat respectable again.
Sam Montembeault, Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets ($7,000)
We have a pretty expansive slate with some big first lines and studs like McDavid (see above) who are in great matchups. What better way to save some cash than to go low at goalie and roll with a player in Sam Montembeault, who has played his way into the number one position for the Canadiens. Montembeault has now made five starts since February 10th and seen 32 or more shots against in all but one of those appearances.
The Canadiens are still giving up lots of shots on net, but Montembeault has simply been up to the task and now gets a Jets squad who barely squeaked by the Coyotes in their last game to break a four-game losing streak. Winnipeg has dropped to below league average in goals per game and is running into a Montreal team that is playing without pressure, given that their postseason dreams are already a goner. Montembeault certainly carries more risk but he’s worth it considering the $7K flat salary and the different directions these two teams are headed.
Value on Defense
Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers at Philadelphia Flyers ($4,400)
Barrie has struggled this season after getting rewarded with a big contract. The offensive specialist has got back to playing more on the PP1 of late though and he comes in with four assists in his last four games, three of which have come on the power play. He’s started to look more like the player from last season who was gelling to almost uncontrollable levels with Connor McDavid, and the two get a great matchup tonight to capitalize on.
Philadelphia has the sixth-worst penalty-kill in the league and allows 33.5 shots on net per game, also the worst in the league. Barrie is actually priced at his highest point in over 10 games today, but considering the matchup, it looks fine to take a shot with him. He’s got just as much (or more) upside right now than the other offensive D-men around him in this range and one of the juiciest matchups on the slate.
Power Play Defensemen
Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Islanders ($6,600)
The Islanders have been busy of late and will be playing their third game in four nights after doing a back-back on the West coast. The train of easier opponents ends today though for the Islanders, who get an Avalanche team who are 22-3-2 at home this season with a plus-54 goal differential. Cale Makar may be coming into this game scoreless in over 10 starts, but he’s managed to average over a point per game over that stretch (12 assists).
Makar’s offensive capabilities make him a good target every night in DFS but his goalless drought has also made him a better value of late for daily fantasy hockey purposes. This will be just the sixth time in over 30 games that he’s been under $7,000 in price on DraftKings and now gets a tired Islanders team to potentially break an annoying streak against. With Colorado having a near 4.0 implied team total (and being -290 favorites at home), you’ll want exposure to some of their offense, and paying up for Makar on the back end ensures you get a solid piece of it.
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