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NHL Picks: Best Bets, DraftKings Fantasy Hockey DFS Cheat Sheet for March 31

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for today’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings.

Thursday features a nine-game NHL slate, which begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on DraftKings. In this article, you will find DFS advice for DraftKings lineups, plus some DraftKings Sportsbook bets to target.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $65K Kick Save [$20K to 1st]

DraftKings Sportsbook

Blackhawks over 2.5 goals +110

We targeted the Blackhawks at over 3.5 goals last Tuesday, and they hit for us by the end of the second period. Chicago has now scored 4.0 or more goals in each of their last five games and face a Panthers team who has been a little suspect defensively of late. The Panthers have allowed at least three goals in four of their last five starts and allowed four goals to the lowly Canadiens (at home) their last time out. The over is at plus money again for Chicago tonight and looks well worth taking.

Editor’s note: Avalanche C Nathan Mackinnon will be available tonight vs. the Sharks.

Avalanche vs. Sharks under 6.5 goals -120

The Avalanche seem likely to be without Nathan Mackinnon today (UBI) which would obviously hamper both their depth and offensive capability up front. They’ve played a tighter style of late anyways, and their games have seen five or fewer total goals in four of their last five starts. The Sharks are tied for last in goals scored per game (2.6) and aren’t terrible defensively, ranking out with the third-best penalty-kill in the league. The 6.5 total looks ripe for an under play in this one.

Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Top Stack

Calgary Flames vs. Los Angeles Kings

Elias Lindholm ($6,600) — Johnny Gaudreau ($6,500) — Matthew Tkachuk ($6,300)

The setup today for the Flames top line looks juicy. The Kings have allowed 15 goals over their last three road games (all losses) and come into this matchup with Calgary after losing in a shootout to the Oilers last night — a pretty devastating defeat considering where those two teams are in the standings. We could get a bounce back from a desperate Kings team today, but with Calgary set as -300 home favorites and having an implied goal total just under four, looking to their top line for a big night seems like the more heady play.

Calgary’s first line will likely carry some ownership, but they remain the top unit in the league in terms of goals scored on the year. The lower game total today (set at 6.0) also looks like it’s pushed down the DraftKings salaries of the Flames top liners, as we’re getting all three men at their lowest price points in well over five games.

It was just two games ago that this unit put up 11 points against the Oilers in a single game, and they get another middling Western Conference team to beat up on today (and potentially a tired one at that). You can look to the Hurricanes second unit or the Jets PP1 if you want to be a little contrarian, but starting off lineups with a Calgary stack seems like the optimal move at these prices.

Superstar to Target

Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins ($7,000)

The Bruins don’t rate out as a top fantasy opponent on paper, but they are coming in off a bad 6-4 loss to the Maple Leafs which could have residual side effects today. Jack Hughes is certainly a player who can take advantage of a team down on its confidence at the moment, as the Devils’ center has been tearing up the league of late, landing five goals in his last four starts. He’s also averaging 18.2 DKFP over his last 10 games.

Hughes’ time on ice is through the roof—and right up there with other elite centers in the game—at over 21 minutes a night, but he’s consistently discounted for daily fantasy hockey purposes given that he plays for the Devils. Paying 7k flat is nothing for a player averaging 4.7 shots on net (and playing those kinds of minutes), so building around him feels like a fine way to start lineups. The Devils have scored three or more goals in six of their last seven games, and their top forwards all make for good contrarian options in GPPs.

Value on Offense

Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes vs. Montreal Canadiens ($2,700)

The Hurricanes’ top six are in a fantastic spot today against Montreal, who are fresh off allowing seven goals to Florida in their last game. Carolina has an implied goal total over 4.0, and their second line has also been playing well of late. Martin Necas remains near the min-price on DraftKings, but he has four goals over his last five starts and is playing well over 15 minutes in a top-six role. As a punt play, it’s hard to do better, and Necas can easily be used in a nice cheap mini-stack with either Andrei Svechnikov ($6,000) or Vincent Trocheck ($4,500), who also look undervalued given the opponent.


Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks ($8,300)

The slate doesn’t have a ton of appealing value options in net, so paying up today seems like a near must. We can save a couple hundred dollars by going with the Avalanche starter, who will come in as a massive -370 home favorite against the Sharks. Darcy Kuemper has been rock solid of late, posting a .940 save percentage over his last 10 starts, and he single-handedly won the game vs. the Flames two days ago, stopping 44 of 45 shots faced.

The Sharks aren’t a high volume team, in terms of shots on net, but with the way Kuemper and the Avalanche have played of late, a one goal night or even a shutout, seem likely. Pavel Francouz would be a slight downgrade if he starts but is still a viable option. He’s won three straight games and comes in well rested.

Value on Defense

Neal Pionk, Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs ($3,500)

The slate today doesn’t have a ton of supreme looking value options on defense, but we can take advantage of the situation in Winnipeg where an already thin looking defensive core will have to play bigger minutes due to the injury to Nate Schmidt. Neal Pionk was already seeing regular power-play time but could see his usage in that area increase even more with Schmidt out. Winnipeg is still in possession of a solid power play that operates at over 20% efficiency and faces off against a Leafs team who continues to face major issues in net.

Pionk should push for over 20 minutes and get his fair share of offensive zone starts, against a team who has struggled defensively in multiple areas of late due to injury. He’s also available at his lowest salary point in the last 10 games and has solid offensive upside. For a cheap upside play, it’s hard to do better today.

Power Play Defensemen

Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils ($5,500)

The Bruins power play has vaulted into one of the most efficient units in the league and now sit as a top-10 unit on the season. It’s made Charlie McAvoy a much more explosive fantasy producer, and he enters this game against New Jersey with five power-play points alone in just his last 10 games. McAvoy continues to be undervalued for daily fantasy hockey, in terms of actual DraftKings salary, and is again available today at well under $6,000.

New Jersey’s penalty-kill numbers are surprisingly not terrible, but they’re still fourth-last in the league in goals against per game at 3.6 and have allowed an average of 4.75 goals against per game over their last four road starts. McAvoy has rarely disappointed of late and has picked up multiple points in three of his last five starts. In an upside matchup, he’s again the power-play stud on the back-end to build around.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $65K Kick Save [$20K to 1st]

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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