We had just three games on last night’s slate but our FanDuel NHL DFS Picks worked as my cash-oriented lineup got some quality production and featured the highest-scoring player of the night – by far.
Indeed, I stressed that a Bruins top-line stack was mandatory for cash lineups last night, and we found out why in a 4-1 Bruins win.
David Pastrnak notched his fourth hat trick of the season to take over the lead in the Rocket Richard race while he pumped seven shots on goal as well. Patrice Bergeron added the empty-net goal on his lone shot of the night and Brad Marchand registered a pair of assists and two shots on goal in a Bruins stack that lived up to its billing.
I also had a three-man Canucks stack that got some production as well. Bo Horvat started the scoring with a power play goal in the team’s 3-0 win over the Blackhawks while he added three shots and two blocks. Unfortunately, Quinn Hughes was held to just one shot and one block on the night while Zack MacEwen posted a goose egg.
I also rolled out a three-man Flames stack in Los Angeles that saw defenseman Rasmus Andersson notch an assist, a shot and two blocks, although Andrew Mangiapane notched just two shots on goal.
Finally, the safety aspect worked out well in goal as Tuukka Rask made 28 saves on 29 shots in the Bruins’ 4-1 win. As a side note, the Canucks’ Jacob Markstrom was the goaltender of the night by a country mile as he turned in a whopping 49-save shutout over the Blackhawks.
Nonetheless, it was a productive cash lineup and one that should have had you in the money on a small slate.
Now, let’s move onto tonight’s much bigger 11-game Thursday night slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks & Breakdowns
C – Aleksander Barkov (FLA) – $7,000 vs. PHI
The Panthers and Flyers get together in a key matchup in terms of the Eastern Conference playoff race from the BB&T Center in Sunrise and I like the Panthers and their offense to get going in this one tonight.
Florida snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win in New Jersey on Tuesday, but more important for this lineup is that they got their offense back in gear after scoring just five goals total over their previous four games. This matchup tonight provides an opportunity for this high-octane offense to back it back-to-back productive outings.
The Flyers enter this one ranked 28th with 3.66 goals against per game on the road this season – a stark contrast to their home defense – while their 76.5% mark on the penalty kill away from home checks in at 23rd league wide. On the flip side, the Panther sit as the NHL’s third-ranked offense on home ice where they’re averaging a whopping 3.82 goals per game on the season while their home power play checks in at eight with a strong 24.7% clip.
As a result, I’m rolling out a three-man Panthers stack beginning here with Barkov who drives the offensive engine for this potent offense. He’s notched 16 goals and 55 points in 53 games on the season and has recorded 140 shots on goal as well. Barkov’s been a beast at home with 11 goals and 34 points in 27 home games where he’s also shooting the puck more with 78 shots in that time. As the team’s top center at 5v5 and on the top power play unit, I like Barkov to set the tone for this lineup tonight.
C – Dylan Larkin (DET) – $6,700 vs. NJ
This is probably a lineup that’s aimed more for GPPs than it is cash games as a three-man Red Wings stack is going to be part of this lineup and, of course, they bring a low floor to the table.
Indeed, the Red Wings rank last in the NHL with 2.03 goals per game on the road this season, but the matchup is a good one in New Jersey against a poor Devils defense that, as mentioned, allowed five goals to the Panthers at home their last time out. The Devils sit 30th with 3.36 goals against per game on home ice this season, which interestingly is now worse than Detroit’s 3.34 mark in that same category. Nonetheless, they’ve been vulnerable on the back end all season long and I think there’s an opportunity for the Red Wings’ top offensive players to get something going tonight.
Enter Larkin who has tallied 15 goals and 40 points in 58 games on the season, fabulous numbers considering how poor this offense has been on the whole this season. He’s also brought a fairly high floor to the table in the form of 176 shots on goal as well. The good news here is that Larkin’s splits are actually dead-even with 20 points in 29 games both at home and on the road. Sure, the Red Wings are a weak offense, but consider that the Wings scored just eight goals in their final four games of January and Larkin had two goals and six points in that time. In other words, the team doesn’t have to score much for this guy to make an impact on the scoresheet.
W – Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA) – $6,800 vs. PHI
If you’re going to be using Barkov in a Panthers stack Huberdeau is pretty much a layup to be place alongside him as they skate together on the team’s top line and top power play unit.
It’s been a real big season again for Huberdeau after he collected 92 points last year as he’s tallied 19 goals and 68 points in 56 games on the season to go along with 119 shots on goal. He’s also been a beast on the power play despite scoring just four goals there as he’s managed 22 power play assists on the season and 26 power play points on the whole. Huberdeau is shooting at a high 16% rate this season than is an even 4% above his 12% career rate, however we are so deep into the season that mass shooting rate regression isn’t much of a concern either way for me.
Like his center Barkov, Huberdeau has been a beast on home ice this season where he’s collected 11 goals and 43 points in just 28 games while also shooting the puck more at home with 66 shots in that time. Now, Huberdeau has been fairly quiet coming out of the All-Star break with just one goal and three points in seven games in the month of February, but this is the type of matchup that suits him well against a weak road defense considering his work on home ice this season.
W – Evgenii Dadonov (FLA) – $5,700 vs. PHI
We’ll get our Panthers stack out of the way in a hurry here with Dadonov as he is the third member of the team’s top line and also skates with the Barkov/Huberdeau duo on the Panthers’ dangerous top power play unit.
His numbers don’t quite match up to those of Barkov and Huberdeau in the points column, but the truth of the matter is that Dadonov has outpaced them both in terms of goal-scoring on the season as his 23 goals leads the group while he’s chipped in 18 helpers for a solid 41 points in 56 games on the campaign. He’s also been a force on the power play where he’s tallied 10 of those 23 goals. He doesn’t shoot the puck a ridiculous amount with a solid 139 shots on the season, but he too is shooting at a high 16.5% rate, although he’s done that throughout his NHL career with a 14.7% career shooting clip.
He’s the lone member of the top line to produce more on the road than at home as he’s tallied 14 goals and 23 points in 28 road games compared to nine goals and 18 points in 28 home games, but he shoots the puck more at home and it’s been a matter of a higher shooting rate on the road. Nonetheless, I wanted to ensure I got the most bang for my buck in this three-man Panthers stack and that meant I wanted a group that skates together at all times and that’s what we have going against a weak Flyers road defense this evening.
W – Anthony Mantha (DET) – $6,500 vs. NJ
The Red Wings are missing both Filip Zadina and Robby Fabbri from their top-six tongiht, but the good news is that Anthony Mantha is back and when he’s at his best he is the team’s top pure goal-scorer.
Injuries have decimated his season as he’s only skated in 30 games this year, but has put up excellent numbers in that time with 12 goals and 26 points on 99 shots which is remarkable considering the team’s offensive woes throughout the season. Mantha also scored 25 goals despite missing 15 games a season ago, so we know that he’s capable of putting the puck in the net when healthy.
Mantha made his return to the Red Wings’ lineup for the first time since December 21st on Tuesday in Buffalo, and got right back on the scoresheet with a two-assist game, getting involved in the only two goals the team scored on the night. He also put four shots on goal and by no means was he eased back into the lineup as he skated 19:36 in that one which is higher than his season average.
With a couple of key offensive contributors missing from the lineup at the moment, expect head coach Jeff Blashill to lean heavily on the Larkin/Mantha duo for offense in this one and I like their chances of getting something done as they skate on the top line and top power play unit together against a soft home defense in this one.
W – Kevin Fiala (MIN) – $5,300 vs. NYR
The Minnesota Wild are hanging tough in the playoff race in the west and are coming off a heck of a showing in a convincing 4-0 shutout win over the Vegas Golden Knights on home ice where they’ve been at their offensive best this season.
The Wild enter this one ranked 16th with 3.24 goals per game at home on the season where their power play quietly sits third with a big-time 29% clip. They’re actually 17-8-4 at home this season, so the Xcel Energy Center has once again been a formidable place for opponents this season.
If the Wild have been quietly productive on offense at home, Fiala has perhaps put together the quietest hot streak of anyone this season. An afterthought in Nashville when traded to the Wild, Fiala has turned it on in a big way of late after a shaky start to his Wild tenure a season ago. Still only 23 years of age, Fiala has had a mammoth month of February that’s included five goals and 10 points over his last five games while putting a boatload of shots on goal in that time, 26 to be exact, good for a cool 5.2 shots per game over his last five. I mean, that’s a serious tear usually reserved for the McDavid’s and Draisaitl’s of the world, but Fiala has thrived and is now a key member of the team’s top line and top power play unit.
Tonight’s they get a team in the Rangers that gets dominated in the possession game on the road while the Wild are a dominant possession home team. The Rangers also allow 3.20 goals per game on the road this season, so I like the chances that Fiala stays white-hot in a favorable home matchup tonight.
D – Filip Hronek (DET) – $3,900 vs. NJ
Completing a three-man Red Wings stack is Hronek who will skate with Larkin and Mantha on the team’s top power play unit. Although the Red Wings have struggled mightily on the power play away from home this season with an NHL-worst 10% clip, I don’t mind getting him into this stack at a cheap cost and there’s really no one else to use in a three-man Wings stack to complement their dynamic duo up front.
Besides, Hronek has also been a bright spot in a dismal season in the Motor City as he’s tallied nine goals and 28 points in 56 games for the team on 112 shots, fantastic numbers considering their offense and the fact that he’s a 22-year-old defenseman playing his first full season in the NHL. Add in his 67 blocked shots on the season and we’re actually getting some real solid cross-category production from this guy at what I believe is a reasonable cost when we consider the matchup.
Hronek has chipped in a goal and eight points on the power play as well and is logging nearly 24 minutes a night on the team’s blueline, so I think this guy could one of the sneakiest plays in terms of defensemen on this big slate tonight.
D – Ryan Suter (MIN) – $5,300 vs. NYR
Completing my Wild mini-stack is Suter who will line up on the team’s top power play unit with Fiala and considering the rate at which that group has produced at home I believe we have some serious potential here.
Once again, Suter has been a horse for this team on the blueline this season. He’s not logging the same ridiculous minutes that had him up over 29 minutes per game earlier in his Wild tenure and his ice time is down from the 26:42 he logged just last season, but his 24:49 of average ice time this season is still a big number while the production has been there with seven goals and 39 points in 56 games on the season. That 57-point pace he’s currently on would actually be a career-high for the 14-year vet and at 35 years old, no less.
He’s been extremely productive on the power play where he’s tallied two goals and 17 points on the season while he’s blocked 71 shots in his 56 games on the season. In a twist, he’s been slightly more productive on the road despite the team’s offense being much better at home, but his splits aren’t much of a concern to me at all as I want him and Fiala skating together on that power play while the duo should see a big chunk of ice time together at 5v5 as well.
G – John Gibson (ANH) – $7,700 vs. CGY
The lineup certainly becomes a GPP lineup here with Gibson as he and the Ducks take on the Calgary Flames.
While the Ducks are slight underdogs in this one, I actually like their chances against a Flames team that will play their second game in as many nights tonight after getting upset by the lowly Kings last night by a 5-3 score in Los Angeles.
The Ducks aren’t a poor home defense at all and Gibson’s best work has indeed come at the Honda Center this season. The Ducks enter this one tied for 13th with 2.80 goals against per game on home ice this season while Gibson has turned in a 2.62 GAA and .913 Sv% at home this season in going 10-8-1, numbers much better than his 3.27 GAA and .897 Sv% on the road where he’s gone 6-13-3 on the campaign.
Let’s not lose track of the fact that Gibson was been one of the better goaltenders in the league in his NHL tenure, but severely underrated thanks to playing out west. Also, the American netminder will also be taking on a Flames team that might be hot on offense with 15 goals over their last three games, but one that’s still tied for 23rd with just 2.52 goals per game on the road this season. I think we can collect nice value out of Gibson in a solids home matchup tonight.