With most of the teams in the midst of their bye weeks, we have an unusually small Thursday slate with just three games on the schedule.
Panarin ($6,500)-Dubois ($5,200)-Anderson ($5,800)
When trying to pick a high-priced stack to build around, it’s never a bad idea to start with the most obvious mismatch of the night. Going up against the Sabres, Columbus’ top line of Artemi Panarin ($6500), Pierre-Luc Dubois ($5200) and Josh Anderson ($5800) makes for one of the safer plays on the slate. The trio has been dominant at even strength in their time together this season, boasting a 59% CF. They should see the majority of their minutes tonight against Ryan O’Rielly’s line, which has struggled to stay above 50% CF for most of the year. Linus Ullmark is a bit of a wild card in the matchup, making his first start of the season tonight for the Sabres. Regardless of whether or not he’s Buffalo’s goalie of the future, he’ll be in tough tonight against the Blue Jackets. If you want to make it a full stack, I’d prefer Seth Jones ($5,800) over Zach Werenski ($5,400), but the latter is fine if you’re tight for cash.
Palat ($5,200)-Point ($6,200)-Johnson ($6,300)
Whenever Tampa is playing on a small slate, you can expect the Stamkos–Kucherov line to be pretty close to chalk. We’re expecting much of the same tonight, which is why I’m opting to recommend Tampa’s second line instead. Palat–Point–Johnson have been dominant at even strength this season, posting a 57% CF and generating a bevy of high danger scoring chances. Expect the Flames to do their best to match their shutdown line against Stamkos, which should leave the Gaudreau–Monahan line for Tampa 2. While it may seem like the tougher matchup, dodging the more defensively sound Backlund line should give Tampa 2 all the space they need in the offensive zone to produce. The rising price of this stack should keep their ownership relatively low. If you want to make it a full stack, Victor Hedman ($6,500) and Mikhail Sergachev ($4,800) are both fine plays.
Skinner ($5,400)-Rask ($3,400)-Teravainen ($5,000)
If you’re playing either of the high-priced stacks above, you’ll need some value to round out your lineup. On a slate that doesn’t have a ton of value to offer, the Skinner–Rask–Teravainen line is the best bet. Expect Carolina’s second line to avoid the Backstrom–Ovechkin line as the Canes and Caps opt to match best on best. That leaves them up against the depth lines of the Capitals which have been stretched-thin in recent weeks, resulting in a second and third line that have trouble maintaining meaningful possession. I’d advise against making a full stack with this line, but if you have to I’d go with either Jaccob Salvin ($3,300) or Justin Faulk ($4,300).