We have an eight-game main NHL slate going tonight (STL @ LA has been postponed due to weather), so let’s dial up some GPP-aimed picks and see if we can get across those cash lines tonight!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – March 15, 2021
C – Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – $7,700 vs. BOS
It was a very un-Malkin like start to the season for the future Hall of Famer as No. 71’s struggles lasted far longer than expected.
After collecting just three points in nine January games, Malkin did bounce back some with eight points across 11 February contests, but with 11 points in 20 games through the first month and a half of the season, we were still waiting for that offensive outburst we’re used to from the Penguins’ No. 2 center.
We’re no longer waiting.
Malkin has notched three goals and 10 points across seven games for the month of March so far, also notching all three of those goals and eight points over his last five games. He’s not shooting the puck a ton, but the points are now coming in bunches.
Now, the matchup isn’t exactly ripe for the taking against a Bruins defense that ranks fifth in the league to go along with the NHL’s best penalty kill, but we should get a white-hot superstar at low ownership, a nice mix indeed for GPPs.
C – Mika Zibanejad (NYR) – $6,200 vs. PHI
This guy owes me one, likely two.
I’ve backed the scuffling Zibanejad for much of the season, waiting for that positive regression to kick in just like Malkin’s finally has here in March. Zibanejad isn’t on Malkin’s level as a player, but this is a very talented guy and one that should still have plenty of positive regression ahead of him.
For the season, Zibanejad has all of three goals and 11 points in 26 games despite putting 74 shots on goal in that time. The 27-year-old’s resulting 4.1% shooting rate is a cool 8.3% below his 12.4% career mark while he’s never finished a season below 10.5% over the last seven seasons.
That said, this is a nice matchup and we should get him at low ownership. The Flyers rank 26th with 3.24 goals against per game on the season with some poor peripherals as well, but they also rank 27th with a 73.1% mark on the penalty kill, so it certainly appears to be an excellent matchup for Zibanejad to get back onto the scoreboard here.
Add in starting goaltender Carter Hart and his season-long struggles that have seen him work to a 3.60 GAA and 887 Sv% in 16 outings and we should be in business with the Rangers’ No. 1 center tonight.
W – Kasperi Kapanen (BOS) – $5,100 vs. BOS
We’re not going to go overboard here with our Penguins exposure in the tough matchup, but we’ll get a mini-stack in here with Kapanen lining up beside the scorching-hot Malkin.
It’s been a nice fit for the speedy Kapanen in Pittsburgh, the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft before shipping him to Toronto as part of the Phil Kessel trade. Kapanen has found a home largely beside Malkin this season, a spot that’s helped him notch seven goals and 18 points in 24 games.
Of course, skating alongside Malkin has helped of late. Kapanen has recorded four goals and eight points across seven games in the month of Match, failing to go two straight games without a point so far in the month. The latter point bodes well tonight after Kapanen went pointless in the win over the Sabres on Saturday.
He’s not going to see power play time alongside Malkin on the top unit, but at least gives us some exposure to both groups despite the league-best penalty killing the Penguins will face tonight.
W – Artemi Panarin (NYR) – $7,500 vs. PHI
Following a three-week leave of absence from the Rangers, 2020 Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin made his return to the Rangers’ lineup Saturday in Boston, notching an assist and a shot on goal as part of his team’s upset victory in that one.
With a game under his belt, let’s look for him to let loose in this one. No, he won’t skate on the same line as Zibanejad at 5v5, but with Chris Kreider set to cool off dramatically with a shooting rate around 25%, we’ll target the power play here where Zibanejad and Panarin should be able to team up for some production. If Philly gets into penalty trouble, it could be a big night for this duo.
He’s once again been his team’s best player this season, recording five goals and 19 points in 15 games to go along with 45 shots on goal in that time. That said, we should expect more goals to come his way moving forward with an 11.1% shooting rate that sits well under his 14.3% career mark while he’s never finished an NHL season below 11.8%.
He’s averaging more than 20 minutes per game for the Rangers this season and given the excellent matchup on tap against a struggling goaltender, I’d be surprised if he didn’t put those minutes to good use tonight.
D – Adam Fox (NYR) – $4,800 vs. PHI
If we’re going to target the Flyers’ penalty kill in this one tonight, we better use Fox who is enjoying a nice season as the Rangers’ best offensive defenseman here in 2021.
His numbers aren’t off the charts, but Fox has notched two goals and a healthy 15 points in 26 games to go along with 56 shots on goal, but he’s also blocked another 53 shots as well, so he’s certainly bringing some attractive peripherals into action.
That said, let’s look more at the fact that Fox has notched both of his goal and nine of his 15 points on that Rangers power play while he’s logging big minutes in the form of 24:32 per night for head coach David Quinn.
Of course, there’s plenty of talent here. Not only does Fox now have a healthy 57 points through the first 96 games of his NHL career, but he ranks second on the team with a 57.17% expected goals for% while he’s on the ice this season and also owns a 55.22% high-danger chances for% while on the ice as well.
So while we like the power play potential here, Fox has proven to be a very nice 5v5 player as well despite the general lack of offensive production at even strength to this point.
D – Rasmus Dahlin (BUF) – $4,500 vs. WSH
That’s right, we’re going to dig down for some low ownership with some very good hockey players here in Buffalo despite the Sabres bringing a 10-game losing streak into this one. I bet this win another game this season, and I like they’re facing one of the slate’s weaker netminders tonight as well.
As bad as the Sabres have been this season and as bad as the offense has been — they rank 30th with 2.15 goals per game — their power play has been among the game’s best. That’s right, the Sabres’ power play ranks fifth at 27.1% for the season, one spot behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and one spot ahead of their opponent in this one tonight. As a result, let’s see if we can utilize a three-man PP1 stack here Buffalo.
Dahlin, like many of his teammates, has taken a step back this season with just 11 points in 26 games. Sometimes you make your own luck, but the fact that Dahlin has scored just one goal on 54 shots — good for a 1.9% shooting rate — has been feeling that he’s certainly due to get back on the scoreboard in this one considering his 4.4% shooting rate.
That said, he’s been a key cog in that Sabres power play, tallying his lone goal and eight of his 11 points on the man advantage, so let’s see if he can at least keep that aspect of his game going tonight.
UTIL – Taylor Hall (BUF) – $6,400 vs. WSH
Who knows how much more time Hall has left in Buffalo as we approach the trade deadline in April. Hall signed a one-year, $8M deal with the Sabres in free agency, but things have certainly not gone according to plan.
The former Hart Trophy winner has tallied just two goals and 16 points across 26 games on the season to go along with 67 shots on goal. In fact, after scoring a power-play goal in his first game in a Sabres uniform, Hall has one goal on 65 shots over his last 25 games, good for a minuscule 1.5% shooting rate that is just so difficult to believe given his history of production.
It’s also a little weird to see Hall with just six of his 16 points on the power play considering how good Buffalo has been on the man advantage and how bad they have been in terms of scoring goals at even strength.
Nonetheless, he’s pretty much the most overdue player in the league and I believe has can break through tonight at low ownership.
UTIL – Viktor Olofsson (BUF) – $5,700 vs. WSH
If we’re going to use the Sabres’ power play in this lineup it’s awfully difficult not to include the player who’s been there top power-play performer this season.
On the season, the sophomore has notched eight goals and 19 points in 26 games, but he’s a perfect example of their power play vs. even-strength production as he’s notched six of his eight goals and 12 of his 19 points on the power play this season. He hasn’t scored a power play goal over his last 10 games, but he’s certainly been the team’s most dangerous man-advantage weapon and the numbers are there to back that up.
At even strength, it looks like Olofsson will skate on a line with Eric Staal and Sam Reinhart, the best of the four lines they have at the moment. That’s against a team ranked 20th in goals against per game, and while the Caps’ penalty kill ranks 11th and they sport strong peripherals, netminder Vitek Vanecek owns a mediocre 2.88 GAA and 904 Sv% on the season as well as a 3.35 GAA and .868 Sv% across three March outings.
G – Thatcher Demko (VAN) – $7,000 vs. OTT
It’s not the biggest GPP look on the slate as many will target the Sens on a back-to-back in this one tonight, but Demko has been so good lately that it’s not a bad idea to use him in a favorable matchup here tonight.
The Sens enter this one ranked 25th with 2.61 goals per game on the season and 26th with a 15.5% shooting rate and while they’re a young team, it is their second game in as many nights after edging the Maple Leafs 4-3 last night.
The Canucks are certainly one of the weaker defensive teams in the league, but it’s often allowed Demko the opportunity to make plenty of saves. The Canucks rank 30th with 33.4 shots against per game, yet Demko has been sensational lately, turning in a 1.65 GAA and .952 Sv% across six starts in the month of March, winning five of those in that time.
He slipped up in a loss last Wednesday to the Canadiens in which he allowed five goals on 45 shots, but has otherwise been outstanding, allowing one goal or less in four of his six outings for the month with one shutout in that time.
The 25-year-old now owns a 2.78 GAA and .917 Sv% on the season across 20 outings and has taken over as the team’s No. 1 ahead of veteran Braden Holtby in that time.
Let’s look for the team’s goaltender of the future to stay hot in this one tonight.