NHL Daily Plays: Thursday, April 2nd

With just two Thursdays left in the 2014-2015 NHL season, my time here on RotoGrinders is almost up until October. Let’s make this a great DFS hockey day in April. As the season winds down, teams are battling for playoff spots and playoff seeding, so make sure you take a look at the standings as you set your lineups today.

As a public service announcement, in doing a survey of the pricing for these “Daily Plays,” as I am sure you all know, each daily site has the players priced rather differently. As such, some of the recommended bargain plays on FanDuel or DraftKings may not be bargain plays on, for example, Victiv or DraftDay.

Before we dig into today’s daily plays, let’s examine what the current Vegas lines are telling us. Any astute daily fantasy player must be in tune to Vegas lines and over/unders as “they” always know more than we do. Our job is to interpret what these numbers mean so that we can use them in populating a DFS lineup on your favorite site. In looking at the Vegas lines, the heavy favorites are the Kings (-340 home against the Oilers), the Blues (-170 home against the Flames), the Panthers (-165 home against the Hurricanes), the Blackhawks (-165 home against the Canucks), and the Canadiens (-135 home against the Capitals). Of the eighteen teams in action, only the Oilers are playing on back-to-back nights. This is good news as most top goaltenders should be in net today. That said, similar to NBA DFS, there will be times when we will make lineup decisions based off of which teams are the most rested.

Good luck! I will online for most of the day to answer questions in the comments section below or on Twitter @TheTonyM.

Goalies

Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to puck-drop

jonathan-quick-300x200

Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings – With some fairly tight games on the slate today, only one netminder stands out above the rest. With the Oilers playing on back-to-back nights after a bus ride north to Los Angeles from Anaheim, they are now just 9-19-5 on the road. Despite having won three of their last four games, the Oilers will face their toughest goalie during their current offensive outburst in Quick, who has a solid .916 SV% and a 2.30 GAA to go along with a 33-21-12 record. Prior to dropping two in a row on the road in Minnesota and Chicago, Quick had won three straight on the road and now hosts an Oilers team that is averaging the fifth-fewest goals per game (2.37 G/GP). Moreover, as one of the top puck possession teams in the NHL that is skating opposite a bottom seven puck possession team, the Kings should handle the Oilers and earn a “W” for Quick. A shutout is certainly a possibility as the Oilers look to get out of town quickly back to Edmonton.

Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – Eddie Lack, Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price

Other Goalies To Target (Tournaments) – Petr Mrazek, Roberto Luongo, Jake Allen, Jaroslav Halak

Forwards

Disclaimer – John Tavares, Alexander Ovechkin, Zach Parise, Rick Nash, Max Pacioretty and Steven Stamkos carry a high price tag and may also be used as you see fit.

Jeff Carter – Los Angeles Kings – As -340 ML favorites on home ice tonight against the visiting Edmonton Oilers, the Kings could use a nice offensive boost tonight after two brutal 4-1 losses at the hands of the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks. March has not been kind to the Kings, who have won just eight of fifteen games, but the team’s first line center and first power play unit right wing now has three points (1 G, 2 As) in his last four games. With Anze Kopitar as his center and Marian Gaborik as his other wing on the first PP unit, Carter and the NHL’s 15th-best PP (18.5% conversion rate) should score at least one goal on the man advantage against the Oilers, who own the fifth-worst penalty kill unit (77.6% kill rate). While the Oilers have not given up a shorthanded goal in their past three games, they had given up a goal in three straight games prior to that, and the Kings’ PP unit is cruising along with PP goals in five of their last ten games. On home ice, Carters’ line (with Dwight King and Tyler Toffoli) and his PP line will produce tonight.

Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks – The price point on Toews is still below what it should be on FD and at $7.6K, he should surpass value tonight in another offense environment that you will want exposure to, especially in your cash games. The first line center, who skates with Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa, and first power play unit center, who skates with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad, has now registered at least one point in three straight games. With one goal and two assists over his past three games, Toews is one of the hottest skaters in the NHL right now and get to face a Canucks team that has given up four power-play goals in their last four games and have given up an average of 33.3 shots per game during that same span. Toews and his linemates, whether it be his first line wingers or the PP wingers, should have no trouble putting up two goals tonight against the Canucks, who are playing in a getaway game back to Canada and will be looking forward to a game against the Jets in two days.

Kyle Okposo – New York Islanders – The Islanders’ second line right winger, who skates with Frans Nielson and Josh Bailey, has been one of the better value plays this since coming back from injury on March 10, especially on FanDuel where his price is just $5.1K. On DK, Okposo is relatively more expensive at $6.2K and he is tough to roster on that site today, but with two goals, an assist and twelve shots on goal over his past five games, he is a solid RW play on FD given that he will also see first line PP time with John Tavares and Anders Lee. Vegas has the Islanders at -139 ML favorites in Columbus tonight despite the Blue Jackets having won seven in a row as they have been giving up an average of 36.7 shots per game during that streak and they have also struggled mightily on the penalty kill as they have given up ten shorthanded goals in their last ten games. Look for the Islanders, who are averaging the second-most shots per game (33.6 S/GP) to handle Columbus (second-most shots against per game played) and their porous defense (sixth-most goals against per game played) as they snap the Blue Jackets’ winning streak. On the road, you typically attack the road team’s second even strength line. If a skater on that line gets first line PP time as Okposo does, then you slot him in your lineup.

Other Forwards To Target (Cash Games) – Marian Gaborik, T.J. Oshie, Nick Foligno, Kris Versteeg, Marian Hossa, David Backes

Other Forwards To Target (Tournaments) – Erik Condra, Ryan Spooner, Jason Pominville, Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Jimmy Hayes, Mika Zibanejad

Defensemen

Disclaimer: Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban are elite fantasy defensemen and can be used with confidence.

Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues – With two games under his belt since being activated from the injured reserve list, Shattenkirk should see his ATOI of roughly twenty-one minutes over those two games start to creep back up to the twenty-three minute mark, which is what he has averaged over the course of this season. As the Blues try to catch the Predators in the Central Division, they will be looking to shake off their current two-game losing streak against a Flames team that has won two in a row and averaged five goals per game during those games. Moreover, the Flames have seen their defense slip as their offense has opened up as they have been giving up 32.75 SA/GP over their last four games, which is two and a half shots more than their season average. They have also seen their PK slip as they have given up three shorthanded goals in their past four games. The most intriguing and most important reason that Shattenkirk is the top overall play at D tonight is that the Flames have surrendered three goals to opposing D-men during their two-game win streak. With the Blues playing for playoff seeding and Shattenkirk gearing his legs up for a deep postseason run, lock him in one of your defensemen slots.

Jake Muzzin – Los Angeles Kings – In what has become a theme today, you will want exposure to the Kings’ offensive attack today as they host the Oilers at the Staples Center tonight as the largest favorite according to Vegas. Three of the Kings’ D-men are in play, but the best value is Muzzin, who skates with Drew Doughty on the team’s first even strength defensive pairing and anchors the team’s second PP unit blue line with Alec Martinez. At just $4K on FD (and a tad more expensive on DK at $5.1K), Muzzin is a great value at D especially given the fact that the Oilers have given up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing defensemen this season and the fact that they just gave up two goals and two assists to defensemen last night in Anaheim. With two goals and an assist in his last four games, Muzzin should record at least one assist tonight in a game that the Kings should win 4-0 or 4-1.

Other Defensemen To Target (Cash Games) – Torey Krug, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith

Other Defensemen To Target (Tournaments) – Alec Martinez, Aaron Eklbad, Brent Seabrook, Andrei Markov

About the Author

  • Tony Mauriello (TheTonyM)

  • A 25-year fantasy sports veteran and a California and New York licensed corporate transactional attorney by day, Tony has been a part of the daily fantasy sports world for four years and joined the RotoGrinders team prior to the 2013-2014 NHL season. A Duke law graduate and Boston sports (and Eagles) fan, he is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and contributes to Rotoworld, FantasyPros, and ProjectRoto. Please feel free to contact him at any time on twitter @TheTonyM with your fantasy sports questions.

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