Super Bowl Sunday is in the rear view mirror and with the NFL season coming to an end you can expect more focus on NHL DFS beginning on this three-game Monday slate.
With the NHL bye weeks complete and the All-Star break also behind us, it’s full tilt towards the finish line with roughly 30 games left in the NHL regular season.
With that in mind, let’s go ahead and get our week started on the right note with tonight’s three-game slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks & Breakdowns
C – Auston Matthews (TOR) – $8,600 vs. FLA
It’s a pivotal tilt tonight in Toronto as the Maple Leafs and Panthers – separated by just two points in the Atlantic Division standings – get together in what is considered a “four-point” game in a desperate chase for third spot in the division.
For the first time in a while, the Maple Leafs’ offense was largely held in check on Saturday as they scored just two goals, but still came away with a win. They’re one of the rare teams in the league that has scored more on the road than at home, but the Maple Leafs are still averaging 3.38 goals per game at home this season, good for 10th in the league. That goals per game total gets a good opportunity to trend up tonight against this Panthers team.
Florida enters this one ranked 25th with 3.42 goals against per game on the road this season where their penalty kill sits 22nd with a 77% mark. Netminder Sergei Bobrovsky – should he get the start – would enter this one sporting a disastrous 3.64 GAA and .877 SV% in 19 games on the road this season.
For his part, Matthews enters this one as the NHL’s third-ranked goal scorer with 36 goals on the season to go along with 205 shots on goal. The good news is that he’s been absolutely deadly at home where he’s potted 27 goals and 40 points on 119 shots in just 26 games at Scotiabank Arena. His splits greatly favor the home side, so look for Matthews to connect tonight against this weak Panthers back end.
C – Sean Couturier (PHI) – $6,600 vs. DET
The Flyers are going to see some ownership tonight, but we have to decide between the Claude Giroux line or the Sean Couturier line for this excellent road matchup in Detroit against the historically poor Red Wings. Considering Giroux is centering the top line but is still listed as a winger on FanDuel, it’s a pretty easy decision to go with Couturier here as he’s out-scoring Giroux on the season as well.
Couturier enters this one with 13 goals and 46 points in 52 games on the season to go along with 136 shots on goal. After shooting at least 13.7% in each of the last two seasons, he’s been hurt a little bit by a 9.6% mark this season, although he’s still racking up points at a quality rate. Now, the Flyers aren’t the best road offense in the league as their 2.62 goals per game on the road ranks 19th and their power play rank 21st, but this Red Wings team has been brutalized on the back end with their 3.44 goals against per game at home ranking 30th in the league.
Couturier’s splits mirror those of his team as he’s tallied just four goals and 18 points in 26 road games compared to nine goals and 28 points in 26 home games, but again this is a different matchup tonight against a Red Wings team that’s struggled to keep the puck out of their net in a big way this season.
W – Mitch Marner (TOR) – $7,700 vs. FLA
If you are using Auston Matthews tonight then Mitch Marner has to be a lock in your lineup as that duo is skating together on the team’s top line and top power play unit while they’ve both been absolutely deadly while skating together this season.
After a slow start to the season – by his standards – Marner has turned on the Jets over the last couple of months. He finished December with 19 points in 12 games before notching 13 points in 10 January contests. He scored the OT winner on Saturday is his first game of February, so this month is off to a nice start as well after tallying 32 points in 22 games between December and January.
A big difference as well is the amount of ice time he’s been seeing. He’s been over 20 minutes in 19 of his last 22 games and has skated more than 25 minutes a handful of times during that stretch including on Saturday against the Senators. Sheldon Keefe is leaning on his elite-level talent up front and it’s paid off. Marner has just four goals in 24 home games, but also 26 assists for 30 points in that time and has 59 shots in that span as well. He’s playing the best hockey of his young career right now and it’s a big opportunity tongiht for him to rack up yet another multi-point game.
W – Jakub Voracek (PHI) – $6,600 vs. DET
I’m actually keeping my Flyers exposure to just a mini-stack tonight, but I like what this duo could do together as Sean Courtier and Voracek will skate next to each other at 5v5 and on the Flyers’ second power play unit. It’s been another productive season for Voracek who has tallied 11 goals and 40 points in 52 games on the season, although we aren’t seeing him shoot the puck as much as we’ve seen in the past.
Voracek has registered 95 shots in those 52 games, good for just 15o shots over a full 82-game season. Considering he has put at least 210 pucks on goal in each of the last six years – and as many as 253 in that stretch – his shot totals are way down on the season. Nonetheless, Voracek continues to put up points at roughly a career-average pace and he’s been hot of late in tallying three goals and six points over his last seven games.
Voracek’s splits are little more even than Couturier’s as he’s tallied 18 points in 26 road games and 22 points in 26 home games, but he’s also scored more on the road and all three of his power play goals have come on the road. The veteran has plenty of upside in this one tonight.
W – Pavel Buchnevich (NYR) – $4,500 vs. DAL
The Rangers and Stars are the third game on this slate from New York, and despite the Rangers being a weak defense overall, the Stars are also a soft offense pretty much wherever they play and I don’t think they’ll be able to generate much on offense in this one.
Instead, I think the Rangers can get some offense going as they rank sixth in the league with 3.50 goals per game at home on the season where their power play ranks eighth with a 24.2% mark. The Stars are a tough road defense where they rank eighth with 2.80 goals against per game, but that number is much worse than it is at home. Furthermore, goaltender Ben Bishop, who has been lights-out at home with a 2.02 GAA and .934 Sv% in 22 starts, owns a 2.87 GAA and .909 Sv% in 13 road outings, so he’s been much more beatable on the road this season.
Enter Buchnevich who appears set for a first-line role tonight alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider – if healthy. If Kreider doesn’t play, it’s likely that Artemi Panarin steps into that spot, which is even better for Buchnevich. The 24-year-old Russian has tallied nine goals and 27 points in 50 games to go along with 95 shots on goal. He’s been a little better at home with five goals and 15 points in 26 games at MSG this season and should be able to deliver some value upside in a very favorable spot in the lineup tonight.
W – Brendan Perlini (DET) – $3,000 vs. PHI
This lineup has a lot of cash plays in it, at least with the Leafs and Flyers, but here with have a player who is going to see low ownership and could surprise to the upside in this one tonight.
For one, the Red Wings are going be without not only Anthony Mantha once again but also Filip Zadina who has been skating on the top line of late. As a result, if it’s not Robby Fabbri that goes to the top line, it could be Perlini who is technically slated for second-line duty which is fine in itself. Keep in mind that while the Red Wings are the NHL’s worst offense, the Flyers rank 30th with 3.81 goals against per game on the road this season. As a result, don’t be surprised to see the Wings get some offense going in this one.
Perlini has been a healthy scratch quite often of late, playing just four games since the calendar flipped to 2020, but he did get back in the lineup for a 1-0 loss to the Rangers on Saturday. The numbers are terrible with just two assists in 27 games with the Wings on the season, but he did scored 12 goals in 46 games with the Blackhawks last season, so while he’s struggling, we know the talent is there. At the minimum price in a top-six role against a 30th-ranked road defense, I’ll roll the dice and see if we can hit some huge value with the 23-year-old.
D – Tyson Barrie (TOR) – $5,400 vs. FLA
Nothing sneaky here as I’m simply going to roll out a high-ceiling three-man Maple Leafs stack that is also a top power play unit stack against these Panthers tonight.
For one, the Maple Leafs power play has been the best in the NHL since Keefe took over for the fired Mike Babcock as they have clicked at 32.4% over that time – a span of 29 games – which is far-and-away the best mark in the NHL ahead of the Oilers and their 27.3% mark. Second, Barrie has flourished under Keefe as well and he’s on quite the stretch entering this contest tonight.
Barrie has notched five goals and 30 points on the season and while we wait for his small 3.8% shooting rate to regress positively towards his 6.7% career mark, we need to note that he’s tallied two goals and 13 assists for 15 points over his last 15 contests. He also had a goal and six points over a four-game stretch prior to going pointless on Saturday despite a whopping 27:11 of ice time. He shoots the puck a lot with 133 shots in 52 games on the season and he has eight power play points as well, not skating on the top unit until late November when Keefe took over.
With the way the Maple Leafs are clicking on the power play these days – including scoring both of their goals on Saturday on the power play – it’s tough not to love a Maple Leafs PP1 stack in this matchup tonight.
D – Adam Fox (NYR) – $3,900 vs. DAL
I don’t think this mini-stack is going to see a ton of ownership so this lineup can absolutely be used for GPPs tonight, but that’s not to say that Fox isn’t going to get on the scoresheet in this one.
In fact, his stats are rather impressive in his first season in the NHL. The 21-year-old defenseman has notched six goals and 28 points on 50 games on the season, good for a 46-point season in a full 82 games – an excellent number for a 21-year-old defenseman. This despite seeing just a few ticks over 18 minutes per game.
He’s also been fantastic at home where he’s notched four goals and 18 points in 26 games compared two two goals and 10 points in 24 road contests. Fox has also been productive of late, tallying a goal and nine points over his last 11 games. He’s not logging a ton of ice time every night, but Fox is still logging more than two minutes per game on the power play this season while he will skate on that second unit with Buchnevich who is logging a solid 2:13 himself on the man advantage. He’s managed 12 points on the power play as a result and I think he can bring some nice value to the table at what I expect to be lower ownership despite the small slate.
G – Frederik Andersen (TOR) – $8,400 vs. FLA
There are some quality goaltending options despite the small slate as I actually believe you could make a case for every goaltender on this slate – whether it be for cash or GPPs – with Bobrovsky being the lone exception.
Now, the matchup on the surface isn’t great as the Panthers enter this one ranked seventh with 3.21 goals per game on the road while the Maple Leafs sit 22nd with 3.08 goals against per game at home. There’s also the fact that Andersen’s numbers are much better on the road and he owns just a 3.16 GAA and .901 Sv% at home. That said, I like how he’s played lately, I expect plenty of goal support and I think there’s a big reason why the Panthers could be held in check offensively.
Andersen has posted a .929 Sv% in two games coming out of the All-Star game. He posted an ugly .864 Sv% in six outings prior to the break. We’ve seen him go through peaks and valleys in his Maple Leafs tenure, but when he’s hot he is one of the best netminders in the NHL and he’s hot right now. There’s also the fact that he’s posted a .910 Sv% on the whole this season and a mark between .917 and .919 in each of the last four seasons, so his number this year should regress positively.
Furthermore, Panthers superstar center Aleksander Barkov is out of the lineup tonight and the Maple Leafs are big -190 favorites on the moneyline. Add it all up and I believe Andersen is in for a quality outing tonight despite what appears to be a difficult matchup on the surface.