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NHL Picks: Best Bets, DraftKings Fantasy Hockey DFS Cheat Sheet for April 21

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings.

Thursday features an 11-game NHL slate, which begins at 7 p.m. ET on DraftKings. In this article, you will find DFS advice for DraftKings lineups, plus some DraftKings Sportsbook bets to target.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $35K Kick Save [$10K to 1st]



DraftKings Sportsbook

Kevin Hayes over 2.5 SOG (-120)/ Jeff Skinner over 2.5 SOG (-170) —

Parlay +191

We have a couple of nice player props to look at in games with weaker teams involved. Kevin Hayes enters this game against Montreal averaging 3.7 SOG per game over his last 10 starts and takes on a Montreal team who is allowing the third-most shots against in the league. At -120, his shots on net prop looks like a great over target with those odds. Pairing him with Sabres first-liner Jeff Skinner also makes sense to boost our return. Skinner has looked revitalized of late and has hit five or more shots on net in three of his last four outings. He’s playing bigger minutes and goes against a weaker team as well in New Jersey.

Sabres Money Line +115

The Sabres also make for a good Money Line target at solid odds. New Jersey is coming home after a long five game road trip and are in a natural letdown spot with nothing left to play for. They’ve also lost four home games in a row and face a Sabres team who have won two in a row on the road, including a 5-3 upset over Toronto. Buffalo’s offense has come to life a little (they’ve scored three or more goals in five of their last seven games), and they likely have the more solid goaltending. The Devils are still missing a bunch of key players, making this Money Line look like a decent bet today.


Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


Top Stack

Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils

Tage Thompson ($6,800) — Jeff Skinner ($5,800) — Victor Olofsson ($3,500)

As we head down the stretch of the NHL season, there’s likely to be a few more close checking games between playoff contenders and teams on the verge of clinching or losing a playoff spot. That won’t be the case today when the Sabres and Devils meet, two teams well out of the playoffs, who are both ranked in the bottom 10 in terms of goals allowed per game.

Despite their issues on the backend, Buffalo’s top line has been great for fantasy purposes of late, and they come in having scored nine points between them over their last three games. Tage Thompson has turned into a legitimate high-end fantasy producer landing eight goals over his last 10 games. The 24-year-old is leading the Sabres top line and has been a nightly force of late with a shooting percentage that is over 30% over his last 10 games.

Thompson has also been helped by having two offensive threats to play with in Skinner and Olofsson, who are both dangerous players when confident. Skinner is now up to 11 points in his last 10 games and has added a bit of a playmaker role to his game this year, which has helped make him and Thompson an effective unit. Swede Victor Olofsson remains one of the best upside values in daily fantasy hockey at well under $4,000. He’s not quite seeing as much ice as his linemates but is shooting well above 20% over his last 10 games, and he has 11 points over that span. This line is cheap and will be going against a weak goalie, regardless of who the Devils choose from their depth chart to throw in net today.


Superstar to Target

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks ($7,300)

The Blues finally lost a game but that didn't stop Vladimir Tarasenko from racking up another two points. The Russian winger has now accumulated 20 points in his last 10 games and is averaging over 20.0 DKFP over that span. Despite the run, he’s only the eighth-most expensive winger on the DraftKings slate today and gets a solid matchup against the Sharks.

San Jose has allowed four or more goals against in four of their last seven games and haven’t grabbed a win over a quality team in over two weeks. Tarasenko’s been doing most of his damage at even strength too (only three of his last 20 points have come on the power play), so we shouldn’t worry too much about San Jose’s elite penalty kill (third-best in the NHL). Build around the Blues’ superstar today.


Value on Offense

Andreas Athanasiou, Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($3,400)

The Kings are at home today in what is a huge game for their playoff chances. They sit as monster -250 favorites and with a 4.1 implied goal total, so looking to their top six for some value is something we should be keen on. L.A. has multiple cheap forwards to choose from, but it’s Athanasiou that should be the highest on our list when looking for value targets. The former Red Wing and Oiler has been great over the back-half of the year and is now playing on the top line for L.A. alongside Anze Kopitar.

Athanasiou has now landed three or more shots on net in each of his last four games and has five goals over his last 10 starts as well. The Blackhawks allow over 33 shots against per game and also have drifted into a bottom eight position in terms of penalty-kill efficiency. It's a good upside spot for most of the Kings’ forwards, especially Athanasiou whose speed allows him to get more shots to the net, and he has looked more confident of late.


Goalie

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs ($7,700)

We don’t see Vasilevskiy available at these kinds of prices very often, especially at home, so when we do, it behooves us to have interest. He is coming off two poor starts in a row, but the Tampa Bay netminder has been solid at home this year, posting a .918 save% in 31 home starts. The Lightning have fallen a bit in the standings, but they’re still -125 favorites today over Toronto who is not guaranteed to have Auston Matthews in the lineup.

Matthews missed his last game. With the playoffs approaching, don't be shocked if they give him one more night off. From a game theory perspective, the two bad games in a row and the specter of the Leafs offense will likely give us very low ownership on Tampa today. Vasilevskiy will likely shine in any Tampa win making him a great value target at well under 8k.


Value on Defense

Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs ($4,300)

As mentioned above, don’t be afraid to grab some pieces of Tampa Bay today. They’re at home with a 3.7 implied goal total and facing Erik Kallgren in net who has produced a sub .900 save percentage in four of his last five appearances. Sergachev has cooled off a bit from his hot mid-season run, but he enters this game still averaging 4.0 blocked shots + shots on goal over his last 10 starts.

The offensive defenseman is still skating well over 21 minutes on most nights and is averaging 0.5 points per game. He gives us some cheaper exposure to the Tampa power play as well, which would love to grab some momentum before the playoffs start in May. Sergachev is a good value pick for DFS and likely won't be that heavily targeted given the Lightning’s struggles of late.


Power Play Defensemen

Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild ($5,700)

It’s a wider slate, so we do have plenty of pay-up options on defense. That said, I still like riding the sub-6k salary of Quinn Hughes today, a power-play specialist that is going up against a weaker Wild penalty kill. Minnesota ranks in the bottom 10 in terms of penalty-kill efficiency, and they face a motivated Canucks offense who has scored on the power play in each of their last four games.

Hughes has landed eight points alone in those games (four on the power play) and is going to continue to be a great value at under 6k as long as this Canucks offense keeps rolling (averaging 5.0 goals over their last five games). A Canucks power-play stack, that starts with Hughes, could be a good contrarian way to start lineups in GPPs.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $35K Kick Save [$10K to 1st]


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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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