The NHL slows back down after a busy Thursday night with just two games on Friday’s slate. I’ve highlighted my top high-priced, mid-range, and value stacks below. Good luck!
Pittsburgh 1 – Jake Guentzel ($7,200), Evgeni Malkin ($7,500), Bryan Rust ($6,200)
Pittsburgh’s top line will be a popular play in DFS contests tonight, and for good reason. They draw an excellent matchup tonight against the league’s second-worst team, the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have had a difficult time maintaining possession and generating quality zone time all season long. They rank fourth-last in the NHL in CF% (46.85%) and fifth-last in SCF% (47.45%). They are routinely hemmed in their own zone by puck-dominant lines at 5v5, and that’s exactly what Pittsburgh 1 is.
Malkin, Guentzel, and Rust have looked great in their short time together at 5v5. They’re greatly outshooting and out-chancing their opponents at even strength, averaging over 32 scoring and 15 high-danger chances per 60. The Penguins have become much more fluid in their line-matching since the Sidney Crosby injury, opting for more of a top-nine vs top-nine mix on home ice. Considering the Devils don’t have a line capable of keeping pace with Pittsburgh 1, that leaves Malkin and company with a pretty favourable matchup spread. Add in New Jersey’s struggles on the penalty-kill (75.0 PK%), and it’s easy to see the upside here.
New York 1 – Artemi Panarin ($7,600), Ryan Strome ($5,500), Jesper Fast ($3,400)
New York 1 continues to be heavily leaned on in Mike Zibanejad’s absence. On such a small slate, their usage alone is enough to warrant serious consideration. All three players are up around 20 minutes a night, seeing plenty of power-play time and favourable zone starts. That kind of usage gives New York 1 a relatively high floor tonight. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to generate shots and quality chances at 5v5 as well as on the power-play. Ottawa is surprising a lot of people with the offense they’ve been able to generate, but their defensive play is still a serious problem. As a team, the Senators are averaging 28.13 scoring chances against per 60, the fifth-highest rate at 5v5 in the NHL.
In an effort to slow down Panarin and company, Ottawa will likely to turn to the Jean-Gabriel Pageau line. Pageau’s offensive performance this season speaks for itself, but his defensive numbers are paying the price. Ottawa is surrendering 29 scoring and 9 high-danger chances per 60 with the Pageau line on the ice. You have to like New York 1’s odds of breaking through at least once in that matchup.
Ottawa 2 – Brady Tkachuk ($6,700), Logan Brown ($3,600), Anthony Duclair ($5,500)
If you’re looking to add some value to your DFS lineup tonight, look no further than Ottawa’s second line. Tkachuk, Brown, and Duclair have been an absolute force at 5v5 in their brief time together. The Senators are averaging a robust 37 scoring and 19 high-danger chances per 60 with the three of them on the ice. You can expect them to continue to produce offense at an elite rate tonight against one of the worst defensive teams in hockey.
No team surrenders more scoring chances at 5v5 than the Rangers, and their league-worst 2.79 expected goals against per 60 is reflective of that. With the Pageau line drawing the assignment of New York 1 tonight, Ottawa 2 should be left with a mix of New York’s second and third lines, a more than favourable matchup spread. The Rangers might even be terrible enough on the penalty-kill to awaken the Senators’ dormant power-play. Stack Ottawa 2 with confidence tonight.