It’s a six-game Tuesday night NHL main slate, so let’s dive in and see if we can cross those cash lines tonight!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 23, 2021
C – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $9,200 vs. VAN
There’s a good chance McDavid sees his fair share of ownership in what is an optimal lineup tonight, but the matchup here is among the best in the business.
McDavid’s Oilers now sit tied for second alongside the Toronto Maple Leafs with 3.60 goals per game on the season while their power play is humming along at 26.4%, good for ninth league wide. That power play went 3 for 5 in the team’s 7-1 rout of the Calgary Flames on Saturday, marking the fourth time that group has connected over the last five games with a 33.3% clip in that span.
Of course, McDavid had a big hand in the blowout win. The NHL’s leading point-getter notched a hat trick and five points in that outing while tallying a goal and an assist on the man advantage. He’s now up to 12 goals and 37 points in just 20 games as his MVP bid continues.
Of course, the matchup with the Canucks is a favorable one. Vancouver ranks 29th with 3.55 goals against per game on the season but also 30th in both high-danger chances against/60 and expected goals against/60 while sitting dead last in scoring chances against/60 at 5v5 this season, as per Natural Stat Trick.
There’s certainly cash lean when it comes to McDavid, but he’s certainly a worthwhile investment in this matchup tonight.
C – Sidney Crosby (PIT) – $7,800 vs. WSH
It could be a high-scoring affair tonight in Washington with two talented offenses going head-to-head, but I’ll hop on the Penguins’ side of things in this one.
The Pens have won two in a row entering this one, scoring seven goals across two games against one of the league’s best defenses in the form of the New York Islanders in that time. Pittsburgh’s offenses sits in a share of 14th while averaging 3.00 goals per game on the season, but one of the more confusing stats of the season remains their 14.9% power play that sits 25th in the league at the moment.
It was a little but of a slow start to the season for Crosby, but he’s recorded three points over hid last two games with eight shots on goal in that time. He’s recorded two goals and seven points in as many games for the month of February, but while I like the more consistent production of late, let’s note the favorable matchup as well.
The Caps enter this one ranked 28th in the league with 3.41 goals against per game on the season while a 79.3% penalty kill that sits 17th. While their 5v5 metrics are solid, the Capitals have also seen regression from Vitek Vanecek. The rookie netminder owns a 3.07 GAA and .892 Sv% in six February outings and while he held Crosby and the Pens to just one goal in their last meeting, I like Crosby’s chances of getting some revenge in this one tonight.
W – Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM) – $4,300 vs. VAN
With McDavid once again running roughshod over the rest of the league in the points department, it’s never a bad idea to grab one of his wingers at cheap price, and that’s what we have here with Puljujarvi.
The 2016 fourth-overall pick has five goals and eight points in 19 games so far in his return to the NHL, but the production has been far better on McDavid’s wing this month as he’s notched all five of his goals and six of his eight points across eight February games. Now, he was held off the scoresheet while skating just 11:50 in the blowout of the Flames on Saturday, but you have to like the chances of a rebound effort in a far better matchup tonight.
In addition to his excellent production of late, it’s also worth noting that Puljujarvi’s underlying metrics are among the best on the team. In fact, his 62.68% expected goals for percentage at 5v5 leads the team ahead of second-place McDavid. Some of that certainly has to do with skating with No. 97 of late, but Puljujarvi was a third-line player for the first half of the season. His metrics across the board are outstanding.
I’d like to see him slide onto the top power play unit over Alex Chiasson, and he could eventually, but let’s look for McDavid and Puljujarvi to connect at 5v5 tonight.
W – Jake Guentzel (PIT) – $7,100 vs. WSH
I’d awfully difficult to use Crosby without Guentzel given the chemistry they have at 5v5 and on the top power play unit.
Like every other Penguin, his season hasn’t been of the eye-popping variety with five goals and 13 points in 16 games to go along with 38 shots on goal. He is, however, averaging 20:31 of ice time per game and will be a major contributor when that Penguins power play eventually finds its footing.
That said, here we have one of the top goal-scoring left wingers in the game. If we give Guentzel his 36-goal pace from last season’s shortened 70-game season, he would have scored 76 goals over the last two seasons, a number that would rank him second in the NHL among left winger behind Alex Ovechkin and his 99 tallies in that same span. For comparison, that’s more than the likes of Artemi Panarin, Brad Marchand and Kyle Connor, to name a few.
While the history suggests he will eventually start filling the net more frequently, I’d also like to see him shoot the puck more as he’s recorded just four shots over his last three games and eight over his last five.
If he can get more pucks on goal he should be able to get one behind the regressing Vanecek tonight.
D – Tyson Barrie (EDM) – $5,500 vs. VAN
We’ll complete a three-man Oilers stack here with Barrie who is enjoying a bounce back season after struggling in his lone season with the Maple Leafs a year ago.
His 39 points in 70 games last season were fine at the end of the day, but he’s smashing that pace right now with three goals and 16 points in 20 games with the Oilers this season. Additionally, he’s putting plenty of pucks on goal with 56 shots on the season, good for a share of second-place in the league among defensemen this season while his 16 points ties him for third among blueliners for the season as well.
He’s been excellent on the man advantage as well, scoring twice with eight power play points on the season to boot. Barrie recorded a power play helper on Saturday and has two goals and nine points in eight February contests so far.
Clearly the floor is high, but I love the fact we have three guys putting plenty of pucks on goal against a Canucks team that ranks 29th with 33 shots against per game this season. The shots will give us a good base, but against one of the confirmed worst defenses in the NHL, the ceilings are what we’re after here.
D – Alexander Edler (VAN) – $3,900 vs. EDM
The floor might not be as high here with Edler than it has been in year’s past, but I think he’s a fine look here as an underowned player in a nice matchup.
The Oilers’ back end has improved as the season has moved along, but still sit 22nd with 310 goals against per game on the season. They also rank 27th in scoring chances against/60 and 24th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 this season, so we won’t exactly label them as a stout defensive club.
With no power play time and at just 20:23 of ice time per game — a career-low — Edler has recorded zero goals and just four assists in 21 games on the season. He hasn’t been invisible, however, putting forth 35 shots on goal and 32 blocked shots as well. Again, while oft-injured in his career, Edler has been an excellent cash-game option over the last several seasons given his quality peripherals, but not as much this season given the drop in production.
Still, you would think he gets into the goal column sooner than later. Among the 33 defenseman that have recorded at least 35 shots this season, only Duncan Keith and Filip Hronek join Edler in the zero-goal column. Many others have just a single tally, but with the Oilers also sitting 27th with 32.5 shots against per game this season, it’s a nice matchup for a guy that likes to shoot the puck to bust out of a season-long goal-scoring slump.
UTIL – Kasperi Kapanen (PIT) – $4,600 vs. WSH
Back playing for the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft, Kapanen has been moved back up onto a line with Crosby after playing much of the season alongside the struggling Evgeni Malkin.
I would suggest the speedster’s game indeed works better with the north-south Crosby and the duo teamed up for Crosby’s goal on Thursday against the Islanders. The helper gave Kapanen seven points in 13 games, but I have a feeling his production will indeed increase now that he’s back on the top line, giving us a three-man stack here.
He got a late start to the season due some visa issues, but Kapanen came out strong with two points in his first two games while playing with Crosby. He’s a former 20-goal scorer while largely getting third-line minutes with the Toronto Maple Leafs with minimal power play time in the process. With just two goals on his 23 shots this season, Kapanen is shooting at an 8.7% rate that is below his 10.8% clip.
His production isn’t going to wow you, but he’s a fine fit with Crosby on that top line and like Puljujarvi with McDavid, we’re getting cost-efficient exposure to one of the NHL’s best players with Kapanen tonight.
UTIL – Nils Hoglander (VAN) – $3,800 vs. EDM
We’ll get a Canucks mini-stack completed here with Hoglander who will skate on a line with captain Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson in this one tonight. We’ll also get at least some power play exposure with the rookie on the second unit.
He’s been impressive in filling a much-needed top-six winger spot for a team that had a big-time need in that department. He’s been cooled off since a hot start with three points — all assists — in 11 February contests while he’s notched three goals and nine points in 22 games for the season.
That said, there’s signs he’s about to break back out. During his 11-game goal drought, Hoglander has still managed to put 28 shots on goal. Furthermore, he’s actually put 23 shots on goal over his last six games, good for 3.83 shots per game. That average increases to an even four shots per game over his last four with two five-shot efforts in that time.
Add in the top-six minutes and we have a player playing with plenty of confidence at this point. The shots matter agaisnt an Oilers team allowing plenty of them, but the fact he is well overdue while putting plenty of rubber on goal bodes well for a slump-buster here tonight.
G – Carey Price (MON) – $8,600 vs. OTT
I didn’t get too fancy with the goaltending selection here as we’ll take Carey Price against the lowly Ottawa Senators.
Price is once again scuffling this season like he has in two of the previous three regular seasons as he’ll carry a 2.87 GAA and .893 Sv% into this one, going just 5-3-2 in the process. That said, he’ll take on a team in the Senators that ranks 27th with just 2.35 goals per game on the season and 28th with a tiny 11% power play clip as well.
With the Canadiens sitting as the heaviest betting favorite on the board at -206 on the moneyline, there’s a very good chance Price gets back into the win column in this one.
Allowing five goals to the Maple Leafs on Saturday wasn’t ideal, but Price did stifle a high-octane Maple Leafs offense in his previous outing while he owns a career 2.23 GAA and .923 Sv% against the Sens.
There are some decent GPP goaltending options on the board, but with a cash lean in this lineup I’ll plug in Price and look for a bounce back effort tonight.