There are six games tonight and here is what you should keep an eye on:
- Scott Darling gets the nod for Chicago on the “father’s trip.”
- Detroit looks to keep their season alive in Buffalo as they go for a fourth straight victory.
- Cory Schneider may miss tonight’s game vs. Montreal due to illness.
- Roberto Luongo is back in Vancouver to take on a suddenly hot Canucks team.
This Cheat Sheet includes DraftKings and FanDuel salary as well as SaberSim dfs projections. These projections don’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen. One game samples have too much randomness to pin down exact predictions. Rather, the projections represent what a player’s performance would look like on average if that particular matchup were played over and over again. There is a wide range of possible outcomes, and the projections represent the average of those possibilities for each player.
Patrice Bergeron - vs. CHI – (DK-$6,800 / FD-$6,800)
SaberSim Projection: DK-3.67 / FD-13.00
I wrote about Bergeron in my Cheat Sheet on Wednesday and it worked really nice. Bergeron’s hot streak continued as he picked up one goal and two assists in the FIRST PERIOD. Bergeron now has four goals and six assists (10 points) in his last eight games—which nearly doubled his point total from the first 37 games. Bergeron continues to roll and while the matchup isn’t ideal, the Blackhawks aren’t great on the road and Bergeron is as hot as they come right now.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - vs. NSH – (DK-$4,900 / FD-$5,400)
SaberSim Projection: DK-3.11 / FD-11.30
Nugent-Hopkins found himself in the same boat as Bergeron early in the season. He was firing a lot of shots, but wasn’t getting any results. Over his last eight games, RNH has two goals and three assists (five points) while averaging a solid 2.63 shots per game, which is a nice floor for a reasonable price.
Jared McCann - @ VAN – (DK-$3,200 / FD-$3,600)
SaberSim Projection: DK-2.10 / FD-7.38
Since being called up in early-January, McCann has three assists and is averaging 2.25 shots per game in eight contests. McCann is averaging 14:18 TOI in those eight games and tonight he is expected to centre the Panthers second line with Jonathan Marchessault and Jaromir Jagr on his wings. Those are two solid wingers and McCann will be plenty motivated as he returns to Vancouver to face the team that drafted him back in 2014.
Conor Sheary - @ CAR – (DK-$5,500 / FD-$5,600)
SaberSim Projection: DK-2.50 / FD-8.97
Sheary is having a ridiculous season, but no one seems to be talking about him. He plays with Sidney Crosby and comes into Friday with five goals and six assists (11 points) in his last 11 games. Bryan Rust is also on that top line, but Sheary is the one to own, even if you have to pay up for him.
Thomas Vanek - @ BUF – (DK-$5,300 / FD-$6,200)
SaberSim Projection: DK-2.88 / FD-10.61
Vanek is scorching hot right now and basically has been all season long. Vanek has registered seven goals with seven assists (14 points) in his last 12 games and has 31 points (12G / 19A) in 34 games on the year. Tonight he will face his former team in Buffalo and he already has one goal and one assist in the first two meetings between the Red Wings and Sabres.
Frank Vatrano - vs. CHI – (DK-$4,700 / FD-$4,600)
SaberSim Projection: DK-3.92 / FD-13.81
If you follow me on Twitter, you know how big of a fan I am of Frank Vatrano. The kid has scored at every level and has played well in 14 games since returning from a preseason foot injury. Vatrano is averaging 2.93 shots per game and is coming off of two goals vs. the Red Wings. That performance must have inspired Claude Julien to play Vatrano more, because he will replace David Pastrnak on the Bruins’ top line and play with Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Andreas Athanasiou - @ BUF – (DK-$4,600 / FD-$4,500)
SaberSim Projection: DK-2.64 / FD-9.52
Athanasiou was a healthy scratch on January 4th and since then he has been absolutely unreal. Athanasiou has seen an uptick in minutes and has scored five goals with three assists (eight points) in his last seven games. AA has blazing speed and great linemates in Vanek and Frans Nielsen. In addition to all the points, Athanasiou is averaging a nice 2.86 shots per game.
Andrej Sekera - vs. NSH – (DK-$4,700 / FD-$4,600)
SaberSim Projection: DK-2.67 / FD-9.33
Sekera has been rolling on the Oilers blueline as of late. The veteran defenseman has one goal on 19 shots (2.71 S/PG) in his last seven games and has also added three assists and 2.29 blocked shots per game over that span. He plays big minutes at even strength and anchors the top power play unit, making him an intriguing option tonight.
Mike Green - @ BUF – (DK-$4,800 / FD-$5,100)
SaberSim Projection: DK-2.54 / FD-8.98
Since Green returned to the lineup on January 10th, he has played very well. Green has one goal, two assists and is averaging 2.2 shots on goal and 2.6 blocked shots in five games. Green is the Red Wings’ most gifted defenseman and makes for a great option on the back-end tonight.
Aaron Ekblad - @ VAN – (DK-$4,300 / FD-$5,700)
SaberSim Projection: DK-1.25 / FD-4.31
Ekblad is having a confusing season. I had him ranked as one of my breakout defenseman of the year and his 154 shots (3.28 S/PG) suggest it should be happening, but he’s had a case of bad luck since Day 1. The high shot volume and fair amount of blocked shots make him a solid play on any given night and it’s only a matter of time before his 4.5 shooting percentage improves closer to the 8.2 or 7.1 he shot the two previous seasons.
Cam Talbot - vs. NSH – (DK-$8,100 / FD-$9,100)
SaberSim Projection: DK-5.17 / FD-20.67
Talbot picked up his 24th win on Wednesday and will start his league leading 43rd game tonight vs. the Predators. Talbot has won four in a row and six of his last seven while posting a strong 2.22 GAA and .912 SV%. The Predators come in on the tail-end of a back-to-back and have averaged just 2.20 goals per game while winning four of their last five.
Matt Murray - @ CAR – (DK-$7,700 / FD-$9,100)
SaberSim Projection: DK-4.64 / FD-18.58
After allowing seven goals in a win over the Capitals on Monday, Murray bounced back nicely on Wednesday turning aside 19 of 20 shots. Murray is 7-4-0 with a 2.45 GAA and .911 SV% on the road and while tonight’s matchup isn’t ideal, he remains one of the safest bets in net.
Petr Mrazek - @ BUF – (DK-$7,600 / FD-$7,700)
SaberSim Projection: DK-4.60 / FD-18.40
As a Red Wings fan, I’ll be the first to admit that Mrazek is a risky play tonight. He has been shaky all year, but he is coming off of a important come-from-behind win over the Bruins on Wednesday and will look to build off of that tonight in Buffalo. He is in the middle of the pack in terms of price, but has a high ceiling because he should face a high volume of shots.