We have what I can only believe will be a fun and wild night of NHL hockey ahead of us. There are ten games on Thursday night’s slate and a few matchups that I would like to exploit. Let’s identify those matchups and the players that will capitalize on them to help us earn some cash! Let’s go!
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C – Derick Brassard (OTT) – $5,000
Brassard seems to be very hit and miss for me but tonight is going to be one of those hits. Brassard and the Senators will travel to Arizona to take on the Coyotes a night after putting up five goals on the Dallas Stars. Brassard ‘missed’ the scoresheet in last night’s contest, but should have ample opportunity to produce tonight against a Coyotes team that ranks 29th by giving up 3.22 goals per game. Interestingly, Brassard’s 0.57 points per game on the road are better than his 0.49 points per game at home. He has 157 shots on the season to boot and is the team’s first line center at both even strength and on the power play where the can exploit Arizona’s 77.7% penalty kill tonight.
C – Auston Matthews (TOR) – $7,500
Matthews had arguably his worst game of the season Tuesday night against the Red Wings, a game in which his season-long shot streak almost ended before he managed to get a shot on goal late in that game. However, don’t expect another dud from the 31-goal scorer again tonight against the Flyers. Matthews ranks sixth in the league with 228 shots and will take on a Flyers team tonight who give up 3.31 goals per game on the road. Michael Neuvirth starts for the Flyers tonight and he will carry a brutal 3.62 goals against average and .864 save percentage on the road into tonight’s contest. This is a mouth-watering matchup for Matthews tonight.
W – Mike Hoffman (OTT) – $5,900
While I would like to see Hoffman skating with Brassard at even strength, the two do play together on the power play while Hoffman can create his own offense at five on five. He has an impressive 181 shots on goal this season and has converted on 20 of those shots to go along with 26 assists. Hoffman has nine points over his last nine games and has averaged 3.22 shots per game during that stretch. I expect the Sens to keep up their goal-scoring ways tonight against a poor Coyotes’ defense and Hoffman will certainly be involved should that come to fruition.
W – William Nylander (TOR) – $5,500
Nylander is back to riding shotgun next to Matthews as the Maple Leafs have juggled their lines somewhat due to the injury to Tyler Bozak. Nylander has enjoyed the most success this season when paired with Matthews while the two have combined to form one of the most lethal duos with the man advantage. On top of ranking sixth with 3.02 goals per game, the Maple Leafs rank third with their 22.9% power play which should come in handy against the Flyers and their 78.4% road penalty kill, good for 23rd in the league.
W – Richard Panik (CHI) – $5,400
Panik has discovered some serious chemistry with Jonathan Toews on the Blackhawks’ number one line, so much chemistry that he remains on the top Blackhawks’ power play unit with the best offensive players Chicago has to offer. He has 17 goals and 36 points on the season, 14 of which have come over his last 11 games. The hot streak should continue tonight against a visiting Ducks team that gives up 2.91 goals per game on the road and who are relying on backup Jonathan Bernier while John Gibson is sidelined with an injury. Bernier will carry a brutal 3.37 goals against average and an .890 save percentage on the road into tonight’s contest.
D – Erik Karlsson (OTT) – $7,200
Karlsson should be a lock in cash games tonight. He ranks second among defenseman with his 58 points in the season, first with 47 assists and leads the entire NHL with 176 blocked shots on the season. He is the heartbeat of the Senators at both ends of the ice and should be able to feast on the Coyotes tonight. Karlsson had a goal, an assist, two shots and two blocked shots for seven fantasy points in his only other matchup with the Coyotes this season.
D – Brandon Montour (ANA) – $3,000
Montour is seeing his price steadily increase and it will continue to go higher as he continues to get some games under his belt. Montour has extremely high upside and is starting to show his offensive abilities as he has recorded an average of 3.2 shots per game over his last five contests. He will get second unit minutes on Anaheim’s power play, a group that will go up against the Blackhawks’ atrocious home penalty kill of just 74.7%, good for 27th in the league.
G – Carey Price (MTL) – $7,800
Carey Price is back to being Carey Price. Over his last four starts Price has allowed just three goals combined while crafting a ridiculous save percentage of .971 in that stretch. When this guy is on a roll he is tough to beat and that could very well be the case tonight in Calgary. Montreal is a solid defensive team all around as evidenced by their 2.45 goals against per game, the fifth best mark in the league. I have every bit of confidence in rolling out Price while he is on fire.
UTIL – J.T. Compher (COL) – $2,700
Who? Compher is making just his fifth appearance in the NHL after putting up a respectable 30 points in 41 AHL games this season. He has had as many as four shots on goal in a single game over the first four contests of his NHL career while skating a decent average of 12:56 per game. Best of all is the fact Compher appears to be lining up next to Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog on the Avalanche power play. If he puts together any sort of production tonight that could be a huge boost to this lineup, especially in GPP formats.