Last night’s lineup was held back by the almost pointless trio of Crosby, Hornqvist and Letang. The frustrating part is that the Penguins managed five goals, but Crosby’s assist would somehow be the only production from these three. Tage Thompson managed some production at low ownership, but otherwise it was a disappointing night. Let’s rebound on tonight’s tiny two-game slate.
C – Mika Zibanejad (NYR) – $6,700 vs. CHI
The Rangers’ undisputed top centerman, Zibanejad has a nice matchup tonight against 32-year-old rookie netminder Jeff Glass and the Chicago Blackhawks. He enters play tonight with 11 goals and 22 points in 30 games for the season, but has been held off the scoresheet in eight straight games. The Blackhawks defense has been boosted by Corey Crawford’s excellent play this season, but with Glass they’ve yielded 3.50 goals per game.
C – Dylan Larkin (DET) – $6,400 vs. OTT
The Senators’ fall from grace has been at both ends of the ice, so Larkin should be able to take advantage of the defensive issues tonight. The Senators rank 29th with 3.32 goals against per game for the season and Craig Anderson owns just an .896% as well. Enter Larkin who has 32 points on the season and 103 shots on goal. His speed should be a big-time factor against a weak Senators defensive group tonight.
W – Andreas Athanasiou (DET) – $4,200 vs. OTT
Speaking of speed, the Larkin/Athanasiou duo has plenty of it. While his 13 points in 28 games is nothing to write home about, Athanasiou and his blazing speed has the ability to give weak defenses fits. He and Larkin team up at both 5v5 and on the Red Wings’ second power play grouping, a unit that ranks 12th at 20.2% for the season.
W – Mark Stone (OTT) – $5,500 vs. DET
The Red Wings aren’t exactly a great defense as they yield an even three goals per game at home, good for a 23rd place tie league-wide. Enter Stone who, despite Ottawa’s offensive struggles, has managed almost a point-per-game with 34 points across 37 contests. He has nine points over his last nine games and has tallied 15 goals for the campaign. Not a bad idea to get Ottawa’s top offensive player involved in this lineup tonight.
W – Mike Hoffman (OTT) – $5,200 vs. DET
It’s been five games since Hoffman last recorded a point, but he is lethal with the puck on his stick and could be a factor tonight. He has just nine goals for the season, but also 125 shots on goal and therefore brings a nice floor with him into play tonight. His current 7.2% shooting percentage would easily be a career low and is well under his career mark of 11%, indicating more goals in the future for the sniper.
D – Kevin Shattenkirk (NYR) – $4,500 vs. CHI
Shattenkirk’s price has dropped along with his production, but we will take it in a game that the Rangers should certainly be producing some offense in. He has still recorded 23 points in 39 games this season and got off a five-game pointless skid with an assist on J.T. Miller’s OT winner in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Look for the offensive defenseman to get his production back in order after getting off the schnide.
D – Mike Green (DET) – $4,600 vs. OTT
With Ottawa’s penalty kill ranking 28th in the league, using a three-man power play stack probably isn’t a bad idea tonight. Green completes that stack as he skates with the aforementioned young Red Wings forwards on the second power play unit. He has 22 points and 80 shots on goal in 38 games this season and has blocked 41 shots to boot. Hopefully the Red Wings’ power play can take care of a weak Sens’ kill tonight.
G – Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) – $8,300 vs. CHI
Lundqvist’s season continues to improve. After a disastrous October, he posted a .927 Sv% in November and finished December with a mark of .936. After his 31-save win in January, he has kicked off this month with a .939 figure. He’s been a rock for the Rangers as they have dug themselves out of an early season hole and sit on the cusp of a playoff spot. He will take on a Blackhawks’ offense that struggles on the road, scoring just 2.52 goals per game, good for 23rd.
UTIL – J.T. Miller (NYR) – $3,800 vs. CHI
Miller is coming off a two point game that included his aforementioned OT winner in the Winter Classic. He is up to 27 points on the season and will skate on the Rangers’ top line tonight alongside Zibanejad. He doesn’t shoot the puck a ton with just 62 shots in 39 games, but he will get plenty of ice time tonight as he will skate on the top power play unit, giving us two three-man power play stacks in this lineup. Hopefully special teams are a difference maker tonight!