The Panthers come into this game playing extremely good hockey. The addition of Sam Bennett has really helped out and they’ve now won five of their last seven games and rank fifth in xGF% on the season. The Preds have played better in the second half of the year, but they’re outmatched here at pretty much every corner, except in goal where they’ll likely be banking on another standout game by Juuse Saros to save them. The Panthers line looks too small and worth attacking on the ML tonight.
Top Line Stacks
Nathan MacKinnon ($9,100) — Gabriel Landeskog ($7,100) — Andre Burakovsky ($5,300)
The Avalanche are dealing with injury (and COVID-19-related) issues up front as it appears Mikko Rantanen will miss another game. This has a big impact for fantasy purposes since Burakovsky should be set to get another start on the Colorado top line, making this line much easier to fit into fantasy lineups. Burakovsky has been productive when placed in this role in 2021, grabbing two assists against these same Blues his last time out, while playing over 20 minutes a game.
With the Avs thin up front, you should see this trio also get paired together on the PP1 lots, which only makes them a better correlation target. MacKinnon has been an unstoppable force of late, compiling 19 points in his last 10 games — a stretch in which he’s also averaging 21.5 DKFP per game. The Blues are a great opponent since they have the third-worst penalty kill in the league and are very banged up on the back end tonight. This Avs line makes for a prime stacking target, and the team should be looking to bounce back strong after a 5-3 loss Saturday.
Superstar to Target
Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators ($8,300)
Barkov is on an absolute goal-scoring tear right now, coming into this game having scored eight goals in his last 10 starts. He has really stepped up his aggressiveness this year and is also averaging 3.9 SOG per game over his last 10 starts. He’s always been a solid star in this league but is nearing best-of-the-best status lately (especially for fantasy purposes) and hasn’t scored less then 11 DKFP in eight games now. The matchup vs. Nashville is a fine one since they still feature a terrible penalty kill and allow the ninth-most SOG per game. He’s a fine core play tonight in the low-$8K range.
Value on Offense
Connor Brown, Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks ($4,500)
As a one-off source of value, Brown continues to deliver great returns. He’s averaging a point per game and three shots on goal per game over his last 10 starts — he’s also averaging over 18 minutes per game despite not playing on the Senators top line. I mentioned the matchup was a good one for the Sens the last time these two teams played, and everything about it remains the same here. Vancouver gives up the most shots against in the league, which is great for a high-volume play like Brown. He’ll have a great shot at getting you the SOG bonus and potentially more against a poor defensive squad.
Sam Bennett, Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators ($3,800)
Bennett has been a fantasy revelation since getting moved to Florida. The former Flame is averaging right around 14 DKFP as a member of the Panthers and has played over 22 mins his last two times out. In many ways, he’s become like Barkov-lite for Florida since he now anchors their second line and gives them a legit No. 2 center. The matchup here is fine since Nashville allows 31 SOG per game and has the fourth-worst penalty kill. With Bennett getting PP1 exposure, you can even stack him with the aforementioned Barkov if you’d like.
Alex Nedeljkovic, Carolina Hurricanes at Dallas Stars ($8,100)
Nedeljkovic has been a revelation for the Hurricanes this year, who have missed their starter, Petr Mrazek ($8,300- DTD), for much of the year. Regardless of whether its Nedeljkovic or Mrazek — who has also looked great when healthy — in net, this matchup is a decent one here for the Canes goalies as they come in as -122 road favorites and face a Stars offense which isn’t very deep after their top line. As much as I’ve liked targeting the Stars forwards of late, I like the Canes more here since Nedeljkovic continues to stand out with a .930 save percentage in 19 appearances.
Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes at San Jose Sharks ($7,800)
Kuemper finally shook off the rust in his last start, grabbing a nice 4-0 win vs. the Kings. Kuemper was out for a while with injury issues, but he carried the Coyotes for much of the season before going down. Arizona has its flaws as a team, but they’ve hung tough all year and get another weak opponent in the Sharks here to potentially take advantage of. San Jose ranks just 23rd in goals scored this year and shouldn’t be feared as an opponent, making Kuemper a potential steal here at under $8K.
Value on Defense
Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes at Dallas Stars ($3,800)
Slavin is a favorite of mine to target when he’s priced under $4K on slates without any other obvious value plays. He’s in the top pairing for the Canes and continues to play over 23 minutes a game. Over his last 10 starts, he’s averaging 9.6 DKFP and 2.8 SOG per game, which gives him the same vibes as many of the defensemen in the $5K range. Since he’s less point-dependent than most players in his range, the matchup vs. the Stars isn’t a big deal. He may even see a few more minutes tonight against a quality opponent. If you need to punt defense, targeting his steady production isn’t a terrible way to go here.
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes at San Jose Sharks ($6,500)
The Sharks have been a great fantasy opponent all season. They rank just 23rd in penalty kill and give up the seventh-most SOG per game. The Coyotes are in desperation mode as they try to hang on to a playoff spot, and Chychrun should continue to play heavy minutes as a result. He’s still anchoring their PP1 and comes in with 14 goals on the season, tops in the league among defensemen. While the Coyotes offense can be hit or miss, the matchup dictates this as a great spot to pay up for Chychrun in fantasy today.
Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets ($5,700)
We haven’t talked much about the Oilers yet, but they’re in a solid matchup here vs. the Jets, who have lost three in a row now and allowed 12 goals over their last three games. Barrie is available here at his lowest price point in 10 games, and Edmonton’s power play has been heating up in the second half of the season — to the point where they now rank third in the league in efficiency. Assuming you’re planning to get some exposure to Connor McDavid ($9,200) or Leon Draisaitl ($8,500), pairing an Oilers stud with Barrie — who plays a ton on special teams — makes for a good way to attack this slate.
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