Thursdays are always an exciting night in the NHL universe. There are eight games on the slate tonight and we couldn’t have asked for more talent on that draft board. Some of the best teams in the NHL are on home ice tonight which should be an indication that plenty of offense is in the near future. Let’s pack some talent into this lineup while finding some complementary value plays, a perfect recipe for success!
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C – Sidney Crosby (PIT) – $8,500
The leader of the NHL’s highest scoring home team, Crosby is in for a big night tonight. He and his Penguins will take on the visiting Jets who enter play tonight having surrendered the second-most goals road goals in the NHL this season, or 3.23 per game. The Penguins have the most goals on home ice this season as well as the most per game with a mark of 3.93. They also have an absolutely lethal home power play at 27.1%, good for 2nd in the league.
C – Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – $7,700
Rarely do I fill up my top two center spots with players on the same team, but it will be worth it tonight. Malkin returned from a seven-game absence on Tuesday and picked up where he left off by recording a goal and an assist on two shots. Malkin’s 1.17 points per game on the season is second to only the man above him here as Crosby tops the league with a 1.24 mark. The two should have every opportunity to add to those totals against a Jets team that has given up an average of 5.4 goals against over their last five trips to Pittsburgh.
W – Patric Hornqvist (PIT) – $6,200
The Pittsburgh stack continues. Hornqvist has scored seven times over his last ten games, interestingly his only seven points in that span. He lines up next to Crosby and Malkin on the top Penguins’ power play unit, a group that will go up against the Jets’ 27th-ranked penalty kill this evening. Hornqvist has 33 points on 170 shots in 49 games this season and could certainly be in on the fun tonight against Winnipeg.
W – Adrian Kempe (LA) – $2,500
A super value play, Kempe has a solid opportunity for success as well tonight. The Kings welcome the lowly Coyotes to town tonight, a team that gives up 3.48 goals per game on the road this season. Arizona also owns the 27th-ranked road penalty kill while surrendering seven goals over their two games against the Kings this season. Best of all, Kempe will skate on the Kings’ top line tonight next to Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli, a huge opportunity for a player at this price.
W – Milan Lucic (EDM) – $4,200
This slate is packed with favorable home matchups tonight and the Oilers are one of those teams. Edmonton will take on a visiting Flyers team that is playing on back-to-back nights after losing 3-1 in Calgary last night. The Flyers give up 3.27 goals per game on the road while having the league’s 23rd-ranked road penalty kill at 78.7%. Lucic is a member of the top Oilers’ power play group next to Connor McDavid as well as the Oilers second line next to Leon Draisaitl, so he is playing with the Oilers’ top offensive players every shift. Look for him to build on his 31 points and 116 shots this evening.
D – Brayden McNabb (LA) – $2,800
I have plenty of top-tier talent in this lineup (more to come) so I had to go cheap on the back end. However, I do like McNabb’s matchup against those lowly Coyotes. The Coyotes rank 25th against defenseman this season which tells me there could be value with McNabb tonight. He recorded an assist while tallying three shots to go with a blocked shot his last time out so a repeat performance could prove big this evening.
D – Gustav Olofsson (MIN) – $3,100
Olofsson is a 22-year-old rookie who has a very good opportunity tonight against the visiting Stars. Dallas surrenders 3.75 goals per game on the road and kill penalties at just 71.2% away from home, both of which rank dead-last in the league. Olofsson could benefit from that brutal penalty kill as he has a spot on the Wild’s second power play, a man advantage that scores 28.2% of the time on home ice, the best mark in the NHL. He has 21 points in 45 AHL games prior to his recall, so he does have some solid offensive tools.
G – Calvin Pickard (COL) – $6,800
This pick is a little dicey, but I will roll that dice with Pickard and the Avs tonight in Buffalo. The main reason I have Pickard in here was to allow such offensive talent to be in this lineup, but it’s not like his matchup against the Sabres spells doom. Buffalo has scored just 65 goals on home ice this season which is the third-fewest in the league and 2.41 per game. Pickard has been roughed up over his last two starts, but those were road starts against the Rangers and Islanders, two of the highest scoring home teams in the league. Facing one of the lowest scoring home teams, Pickard could put this lineup in real good shape as a low-owned goalie on the NHL’s worst team.
UTIL – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $8,200
It’s almost an insult to have McDavid in the utility spot, but I’m sure that won’t affect his performance. McDavid leads the league with his 63 points on the season and has a solid opportunity to add to that lead tonight against the visiting Flyers. He is coming off of a two-point effort and has three points over his last two contests, but that is fairly standard for the league’s leading scorer. He actually has better numbers on the road than at home, but after posting five goals on the Coyotes on Tuesday Edmonton could have their offense back in gear after scoring just three times over their previous four games. Besides, there isn’t much wrong with fitting Crosby, Malkin, and McDavid into the same lineup while all have extremely favorable home matchups to boot.