Each day I will be providing my recommended player picks for your FanDuel daily fantasy hockey lineups. The goal is to help you build the optimal cash game (50/50s/double-ups/head-to-head) lineup.
It is another huge Thursday night in the National Hockey League with 10 games on the docket. The Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Los Angeles Kings are the biggest favorites tonight, and the Ottawa Senators are the only team playing on consecutive nights.
Make sure to check the RotoGrinders NHL Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to game time.
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, $8,800 - It is a very tough night to pick a cash game goalie, but as of now, I am rolling with Corey Crawford. Not only are the Chicago Blackhawks the biggest favorite on the board tonight, they are also on fire, winning 13 of their last 14 games, including seven in a row. The Blackhawks are a dominant team on home ice (22-8-4) and Crawford is a big reason why (2.23 GAA, .928 SV%). The Anaheim Ducks are not a pushover by any means, but they have struggled to score goals this season (ranking 20th overall with 2.56 goals per game), especially on the road (2.41 goals per game, good for 22nd overall). I am not completely confident in any goaltender tonight, but I do think Crawford comes away with the all-important win, without allowing more than two goals.
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, $7,200 - The Philadelphia Flyers are the top team to attack tonight. The Flyers are a weak defensive team who continue to receive below average goaltending and play undisciplined hockey, and this has resulted in them allowing the seventh-most goals against per game (2.91) on the season, and the third-most goals against per game (3.31) on the road. This puts Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs offense in a great spot tonight. In this plus matchup on home ice, look for a big offensive night from 19-year-old phenom.
Other Top Play: John Tavares (NYI)
Josh Bailey ($5,200) & Anders Lee ($4,900), New York Islanders - Josh Bailey and Anders Lee continue to produce skating alongside John Tavares on the New York Islanders’ top line and number one power play unit. Bailey has seven points in his last seven games, and Lee is coming off a multi-goal performance in Edmonton on Tuesday night. The Vancouver Canucks are not a good hockey team, sitting in the bottom-third of the National Hockey League in many defensive categories, including puck possession, scoring chances allowed and goals against per game. Both Bailey and Lee are very moderately priced, and they have multi-point upside tonight in this favorable matchup.
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers, $6,700 – The Toronto Maple Leafs are another team we can pick on tonight. As a very young team, the Maple Leafs continue to struggle with their defensive game, allowing the third-most shots (32.6), the fifth-most scoring chances, and the eighth-most goals against per game (2.88).With head coach Mike Babcock likely to unleash shutdown center Nazem Kadri against Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers’ top line, the Flyers’ second line becomes more appealing. Voracek has a high floor thanks to his high shot totals and he also comes with a high ceiling, thanks to his multi-goal upside. In a game that should feature plenty of goals, look for Voracek to find his way onto the score sheet tonight, perhaps multiple times.
Top Value Play: Alexandre Burrows (OTT)
Jake Gardiner, Toronto Maple Leafs, $4,500 - The Philadelphia Flyers have struggled on the road all season long and I think we see the Toronto Maple Leafs take advantage of that tonight at the Air Canada Centre. Special teams should play a big role in this contest tonight, as the Flyers continue to take too many penalties, while showcasing a below average penalty kill. The Maple Leafs on the other hand own the National Hockey League’s second-best unit with the man advantage, and Gardiner could pay off his salary on the power play alone tonight. At just $4,500, Gardiner makes a terrific value play on the blue line this evening.