The NBA All-Star break may be over, but the NHL once again delivers a very entertaining Saturday schedule. Twenty-two teams take the ice today, with some very intriguing afternoon games taking place in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. It’s worth noting that the Kings and Sharks will face off against each other outdoors at Levi’s Stadium, and while these Stadium Series games are certainly entertaining to watch, they’re a complete wild card in the DFS world.
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Here are my top picks for today’s NHL action on FanDuel.
Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to game time.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadians, $10,200 – He’s the most expensive player on the board, but even after losing to Florida in his last start, he should still pay off that high asking price. Price sports an impressive 19-6-2 record with a 1.94 GAA and .934 SV% in 27 starts at the Bell Center this season. Price defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in their only other meeting this season and he’s simply stood on his head since the All-Star break, posting an 8-1-1 record with an unheard of 1.17 GAA and .957 SV% in 10 second half starts.
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals, $7,000 – At just $7,000, Backstrom is one of the best cash game options on the board. He enters this afternoon’s game tied for the NHL lead in points (63) with Patrick Kane and has been on fire lately, tallying three goals and ten assists in ten games this month. He scored a pair of goals and added an assist against Winnipeg in his last outing and has torched the New York Islanders for a goal and four assists in their three previous meetings this season. His 27 power-play points this season is tied for the NHL lead and he should have plenty of scoring opportunities against the Islander’s atrocious 29th ranked penalty kill.
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks, $5,400 – Kesler hasn’t recorded a point in six straight games, so why would I recommend him? In an effort to shake up his struggling hockey club, Coach Boudreau recently shook up his forward lines and placed sniper Corry Perry alongside Kesler on the team’s second scoring unit. Kesler is only four years removed from a 40 goal season and should be able to focus more on his offensive game with a linemate as skilled as Perry. Edmonton has allowed more goals against than any other team in the league and Kesler has already scored a goal and picked up an assist against them in their two previous meetings. Kesler joins both Perry and Getzlaf on the Ducks lethal #1 power-play unit and they should have success against the Oilers 26th ranked PK.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadians, $8,500 – With an assist against Florida on Thursday, Pacioretty extended his point streak to three games and has now racked up four goals and six assists over the last nine games. He sports some of the league’s most drastic home vs road splits (14 goals, 19 assists and a +20 at the Bell Center) and is met with a favorable home matchup against this Columbus team that has allowed nearly three goals per game on the road this season. Pacioretty lit the lamp twice against the Blue Jackets when they met earlier this year and should be well worth his high price-tag.
Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings, $7,500 – At $7,500, Tatar is no longer a bargain, but he’s been one of the main reasons the Red Wings have emerged as a contender in the Eastern Conference this season. He’s scored three goals and added five assists over the last seven games and, after a very slow start to the season, he’s posted 20 goals, 17 assists and a +11 over the last 41 games. For those really bad at math, that’s a 40 goal, 34 assists, +22 pace. Tatar picked up a pair of assists when these teams faced off against each other earlier this season and his offensive abilities have now earned him a spot on the Wings’ NHL-best power play.
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning, $5,800 – After falling into a six-game pointless streak to close out January, Kucherov has found his scoring touch once again as the 21-year-old has now scored five goals and added three assists over his last eight games. Tonight he’ll square off against an Arizona team that has allowed 16 goals against during their current four-game losing streak and who he posted a hat trick against in their only previous meeting. He enters the game trailing only the aforementioned Max Pacioretty in +/- and is one of the few Tampa Bay players to thrive away from the Amalie Center this season where he’s averaging 3.88 fantasy points per game on the road.
Cody Franson, Nashville Predators, $3,400 – After a few days of Visa issues, the Predators will finally get the newly acquired Cody Franson into their lineup this afternoon. With 32 points in 55 games with the Maple Leafs, Franson had no business being priced this low to begin with, but he’s now severely underpriced and a near must play for my cash games. Franson should immediately step into 20+ minutes of ice-time and is slated for a role on the team’s second power-play unit. Philadelphia sports an ugly 75.7% penalty kill and have dropped four of their last five games, so be sure to give Franson a look.
Tyler Myers, Winnipeg Jets, $3,700 – Myers is another guy who immediately sees a big fantasy boost from his recent trade. Since being acquired by the Jets from Buffalo, Myers has logged over 21 minutes in each game and has already amassed a goal and three assists with his new team. Tonight he’ll head into Toronto to take on a Maple Leafs team that has dropped five straight games and who have won just two games since the ball dropped in Times Square. He’s no longer a huge +/- liability on FanDuel so enjoy the discounted price while it lasts.