NHL Grind Down: Tuesday, February 13th

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The RotoGrinders NHL Grind Down article will give you an in-depth analysis into the NHL schedule. This article will break down the numbers for every single game and give you analysis on which trends you can exploit. While matchups are a major factor in daily fantasy hockey there are plenty of other factors to consider such as injuries, salaries, and more.

The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. Hockey is an extremely high variance sport. The best choice is not always the right choice but following the trends will win you money over time.

Remember, these writeups are done prior to lineups being released, so make sure to check our Starting Lineups page to ensure the recommended options are playing.

Note: As always, if you want to try a new DFS site, be sure to click through a RotoGrinders link and use our DraftKings promo code and FanDuel promo code to receive the best perks in the industry.

Stackability Rating System (Offense):

Green : Friendly matchup at 5v5 and/or on the power play; multiple lines worth stacking
Yellow : Line specific matchup at 5v5 and/or friendly power play matchup
Orange : Stacking is best left for GPPs, secondary scoring units and/or power play in tough matchup
Red : Difficult 5v5 and/or power play matchup, stacking not advisable

Stackability Rating System (Goalies):

Green : Goalie has a plus draw and is playable in all formats
Yellow : There is risk at 5v5 or the penalty kill; iffy for cash games and better for GPPs
Orange : Realistic risk at 5v5 and the penalty kill; not advisable in cash games but viable in GPPs
Red : Elevated risk in all situations and not a recommend crease to chase

Team Ranking Key
CF = Corsi For = shot attempts generated
CA = Corsi Allowed = shot attempts allowed
xGF = expected goals scored
xGA = expected goals allowed
Numbers in parentheses denote the league ranking for the particular metric.

Los Angeles Kings at Carolina Hurricanes

Los Angeles Kings Carolina Hurricanes
Jonathan Quick Cam Ward
Record Record
30-20-5 26-21-9
Team Stats 2.85 2.42 18.99 84.57 Team Stats 2.64 2.91 18.75 80.15

Kings Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 57.22 CF/60 (18) | 56.71 CA/60 (22) | 2.11 xGF/60 (25) | 2.28 xGA/60 (16)

Two of the more renowned 5v5 possession teams meet up in Carolina tonight. Unfortunately, the Kings haven’t been holding up their side of the matchup as they have lagged at 5v5 this year. They are now an average or worse offense, and they have devolved into a one-line team without Jeff Carter.

They have an issue on their hands, then, when they meet up with the Hurricanes. Carolina remains one of the “analytical darlings” as they have an elite 5v5 CF% (53.61%, second best). Their defense has the second lowest rate of shot attempts allowed and their expected goal rate remains in the bottom third of the league.

All of these factors point to trouble for the Kings tonight. It will be interesting to see if the top line of Tyler Toffoli, Anze Kopitar, Alex Iafallo stay together for much longer or if Kopitar-Toffoli are split. They are clearly the two best options on the forward group, and having them on the same line opens the door to matchup exploitation. Look for this line to see time against the Staal line for Carolina, so the matchup will be difficult.

Away from the Kopitar line, options become low ceiling and low floor plays. Tanner Pearson is working with Adrian Kempe on the second line, but there isn’t a huge spark there with Toffoli no longer working with this duo. Additionally, note that the Hurricanes have a strong blueline and multiple forwards with positive defensive impacts, so the matchup difficult doesn’t get much easier the further down the lineup we go.

Kings Special Teams Outlook
Los Angeles has been fine on the power play this year, but they may not get the opportunity to show it tonight. The ‘Canes remain the premier teams at staying out of the box, going shorthanded just 2.4 times per game on average. When they are killing penalties, Carolina hasn’t been so hot defensively, so there door is open to LA for power play production when they can get on the ice. Overall, the limited opportunities versus the soft defense wash out and it doesn’t quite become a favorable matchup.

Kings Goaltending Outlook
For all of their possession wizardry, the Hurricanes don’t score a lot of goals. This is something that has been a problem for many years, so it’s not exactly a short-term fluke. We see the Hurricanes take part in many low scoring games as the finishing hasn’t been there, and it seems like that is destined to happen again tonight. Though LA isn’t the team they used to be, they still do alright limiting shot attempts and have a middle of the pack expected goals allowed rate.

Hurricanes Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 62.78 CF/60 (3) | 54.32 CA/60 (30) | 2.46 xGF/60 (4) | 2.14 xGA/60 (22)

The Hurricanes have been struggling offensively for a while now. Not in generating shot attempts, but putting the puck in the net and capitalizing on their strong 5v5 play. This is a team with the league’s fourth highest 5v5 expected goal rate but the eighth lowest actual GF/60 at 5v5. We’ve seen them let down in some prime matchups with a few individual exceptions (Aho, sometimes Skinner) and tonight’s matchup leaves plenty to be desired.

The Kings may not have numbers that mirror those of the Hurricanes, but they are still not a defensive liability. They rank in the bottom third in the league for allowing shot attempts at 5v5 and their expected goal rate is right around the median. Over the last month, the Kings numbers are reflective of their season long numbers, so they have settled in as what they are at this point.

Last game, the ‘Canes threw their lines into a mid-game blender, so if you’re going to use them tonight, keep an eye on where they may shake out. Jordan Staal is going to see time on the ice against the Kopitar line, so he’s in a troublesome spot tonight. He has traditionally skated with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen and this line has been the best for Carolina this year. Jeff Skinner continues to work through some bad puck luck, and beyond him and the top line, Carolina’s secondary scoring hat has floated from player to player. From Derek Ryan to Victor Rask to Elias Lindholm, the options are risky. It’s too bad because there might be some vulnerability in the LA bottom six, and with how well Carolina can push play, a sneaky third line could theoretically take advantage.

Update: Looks like Sebastian Aho may move down and play with Jeff Skinner. There is a lot to like about that duo as they shoot and drive play well (with Lee Stempniak) and will certainly avoid the Kopitar line.

Hurricanes Special Teams Outlook
Carolina gets something of a favorable power play spot tonight, even if LA’s 84.6% penalty kill percentage is top notch. LA goes shorthanded at a higher rate (3.4 times per game) so Carolina should see a few chances with the advantage. Under the hood, the Kings have the second highest rate of scoring chances allowed per hour while shorthanded, with no worse than middle of the pack rates of shot attempt quantity and quality allowed. There should be looks available for the Hurricanes when they get on the power play tonight.

Hurricanes Goaltending Outlook
Cam Ward is the butt of a lot of jokes from the DFS populace, but he’s actually been serviceable this year. He’s highly matchup dependent, however. Tonight is a night where he is on the borderline. The Kings don’t have a high possession, high event offense anymore and they have some depth scoring issues. As long as the Staal line can slow down the Kopitar line, this should be a spot where Ward can provide value on his low salary. Then again, with Cam Ward, an early hook is always possibility too.

Kings Elite Plays: None
Kings Secondary Plays: Anze Kopitar, Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty
Stackability: Orange / Red
Goaltending: Orange

Hurricanes Elite Plays: Jeff Skinner, Sebastian Aho, Justin Faulk
Hurricanes Secondary Plays: Teuvo Teravainen, Lee Stempniak
Stackability: Orange / / Yellow
Goaltending: Orange / Yellow

Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Islanders

Columbus Blue Jackets New York Islanders
Sergei Bobrovsky Jaroslav Halak
Record Record
28-23-4 27-24-6
Team Stats 2.56 2.75 14.01 75.35 Team Stats 3.33 3.67 21.43 73.65

Blue Jackets Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 60.38 CF/60 (11) | 58.28 CA/60 (17) | 2.5 xGF/60 (3) | 2.39 xGA/60 (7)

And just like that we reach the game of the night that is most likely to smash the over. If you’re a big follower of Vegas lines the O/U on this one should be set at 7.

Anyway, no team has a better matchup than the Blue Jackets do, game on the road or not. The Islanders have imploded defensively and can’t do anything right at the moment. They are oozing shot attempts, scoring chances, and high-danger shot attempts at 5v5. They have catapulted their 5v5 expected goals allowed ranking to second worst in the league after spending much of the earlier part of the year in the middle of the pack. Over the past month, New York is allowing the most scoring chances and high-danger attempts at 5v5 by a wide margin. This group is bad, there is no other way to put it.

This matchup comes at a good time for the Blue Jackets. They have been pumping shots to the net at a high volume, so this is a spot where they could realistically put 50 shots on goal (they put up 49 in the same matchup two weeks ago). They sit just outside the top ten in most shot attempts generated at 5v5 on the year, but over the last month they hop to the other side of 10th. Scoring chances and high-danger attempts are present, too. This is an offense that should be able to capitalize on the matchup now that they are healthy.

It looks like Alex Wennberg is off the beat as top line center, with Pierre-Luc Dubois jumping back up to play between Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin. Atkinson has not put less than three shots on goal since returning from injury in late January. This is a great spot for this line, especially the defensive numbers even slipping for the Barzal line. Wennberg will pivot Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nick Foligno, who aren’t a bad play either. Bjorkstrand is playing well at the moment and Foligno, for his part, is also starting to pump shot attempts. Wennberg and Dubois are mostly interchangeable, low shot volume centers, but Dubois has goals in back to back games and has seen his shots on net spike. Even Josh Anderson and Boone Jenner, both struggling and working on the third line with Brandon Dubinsky, are nice value plays tonight despite their form.

Blue Jackets Special Teams Outlook
It’s too bad that Columbus’s power play has been a joke this year, because the matchup is great for production and would otherwise enhance the 5v5 matchup. The Islanders have oddly done well keeping high-danger shot attempts limited on the penalty kill, but they have struggled mightily with overall shot attempts and scoring chances allowed to opposing power plays.

Blue Jackets Goaltending Outlook
This game figures to be wide open and feature plenty of offense, making Sergei Bobrovsky a risky play right off the top. Columbus’s defense has struggled in their own right the past month, hemorrhaging shot attempts (fourth most per hour), scoring chances (third) and high-danger shot attempts (second) at 5v5. New York’s offense is dangerous in the top six and they have the tools to get goals back after their defense/goaltending inevitably let them in.

Islanders Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 56.27 CF/60 (21) | 63.22 CA/60 (3) | 2.27 xGF/60 (14) | 2.53 xGA/60 (2)

Though the matchup is certainly better for the Blue Jacket offense, the matchup isn’t all that far off for the Islanders. As noted in the Columbus goaltending section, the Blue Jackets have been horrendous in their own right over the last month. During that time (10 games), they have the fourth worst per-hour ratio in shot attempts allowed, third worst in scoring chances allowed, and second worst in HD attempts allowed. It’s been something of an issue all season, so the small sample size disclaimer isn’t too critical.

New York’s offense has slowed down a bit, maybe in an attempt to protect the defense or maybe as part of a natural rhythm of the season. They’re shot attempt generation has gone down a bit, and their expected goal rate is stuck in the middle of the pack. This game should be back and forth and feature plenty of offensive chances, making this a nice get-well game.

We have a known quantity on the top line with John Tavares, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey reunited. Bailey and Lee thrived as Tavares’s wingers much like many do for Sidney Crosby. This line also skates together on the top power play unit, so there is a strong correlation that carries to the advantage. The prices for Lee and Bailey have come down some during the slow down, but that makes stacking them in this great spot easier.

New York’s second line will come cheaper yet, and they offer a good deal of upside and floor in this matchup as well. That group consists of wunderkind Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, and Anthony Beauvillier in for Andrew Ladd. This line pushes play well and there is big game upside here, so they shouldn’t get overlooked in tournaments.

Islanders Special Teams Outlook
Columbus’s penalty killers have been middle of the road so far this year, posting ratios that don’t deviate too far from the median in all of shot attempts, scoring chances, and high-danger shot attempts allowed. New York’s power play has been dangerous, however, so there is nothing to fret over in this matchup besides a mind blowing Bobrovsky save or two. The main issue to work around for New York here is the fact Columbus only goes shorthanded 2.6 times per game on average.

Islanders Goaltending Outlook

In all honesty, this just isn’t a place that Jaroslav Halak can be used. Yes he’ll see a lot of shots — a lot — and could win, but he’s going to let a bunch by him and if that win bonus isn’t there, it’s going to be a bad fantasy number. There’s more risk than reward.

Blue Jackets Elite Plays: Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski
Blue Jackets Secondary Plays: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Alex Wennberg, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Josh Anderson
Stackability: Green
Goaltending: Orange / Red

Islanders Elite Plays: John Tavares, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal
Islanders Secondary Plays: Jordan Eberle, Anthony Beauvillier, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock
Stackability: Green
Goaltending: Red

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins

Ottawa Senators Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Condon Matt Murray
Record Record
19-26-9 31-22-4
Team Stats 2.63 3.39 16.17 75.16 Team Stats 3.05 2.96 26.29 83.08

Senators Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 55.08 CF/60 (23) | 64.66 CA/60 (1) | 1.96 xGF/60 (28) | 2.44 xGA/60 (5)

The Senators’ offense has been showing some signs of life lately, and they have received a boost with Mark Stone and Derick Brassard returning last game. This puts them back to a team with a capable top six, though the system in which they play remains a failure. They enter with one of the worst expected goals rates in the league, as shot attempt quantity and quality have failed to materialize.

At the same time, Pittsburgh defensive play has been steadily improving over the past month plus. They still struggle with high-danger shot attempts allowed, and their style of play lends itself to some back-and-forth hockey, so all is not lost for the Sens. The Pens just aren’t the matchup they were, say three months ago.

With the forward group (mostly) back to full health, the top six is actually a respectable group. If only they opened the playbook. Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman on the top line are a solid duo, and they’ve been playing with highly regarded rookie Colin White. This group doesn’t have the ceiling they could thanks to the system in which they play. Mark Stone returned to the second line with Derick Brassard and Zack Smith. Stone picked right up where he left off by grabbing a couple apples in ~19 minutes, so he seems good to go.

If Pittsburgh’s form was closer to how it was earlier in the season, this would be a great contrarian/leverage spot for the Sens. But Pittsburgh defense is playing better and they do well on the penalty kill, so the appeal is still a bit limited for Ottawa here.

Senators Special Teams Outlook
Ottawa’s power play hasn’t been great this year, and they will go up against a penatly kill group that has been strong this year. The Penguins enter with the second lowest per-hour rates of shot attempts and scoring chances allowed while shorthanded, and their HDCA/60 is right outside the bottom five. The Senators will get a fair amount of opportunities, most likely, as the Penguins do go shorthanded 3.4 tims per game.

Senators Goaltending Outlook
As far as goaltending goes tonight, this spot might be arguably worse than that of the New York Islanders. There is absolutely no reason to use an Ottawa goalie in a tough matchup, especially true when it’s on the road against a surging Penguin offense. There will be blood (figuaretely).

Penguins Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 61.02 CF/60 (6) | 56.86 CA/60 (21) | 2.41 xGF/60 (10) | 2.29 xGA/60 (13)

The is, once again, an A+ spot for the Pittsburgh offense. They’re on home ice facing the poor Ottawa defense. The Senators have been especially generous to other teams over the past month, coming in allowing over 73 shot attempts per hour (12 games), most in the league during that time. Quality allowed has been there too, making this a matchup that is absolutely worth paying for as far as Penguin forwards go.

The matchup is strong on the power play too (see below), so that puts all of the big names in play. At 5v5, this team should feast on the blood being let by the Ottawa defense. Evgeni Malkin remains dialed in; his pointless effort in Pittsburgh’s last game was his first in six games and an exception not the rule to calendar 2018. Sidney Crosby has also stayed hot, making the 1A, 1B centers a coin toss. Malkin gets the better 5v5 draw because he skates with Phil Kessel (as well as on the power play). Crosby is working with Dominik Simon and Bryan Rust. While cheap, they don’t’ offer the same upside as Malkin/Kessel (and Carl Hagelin, whose been getting it done).

Penguins Special Teams Outlook
Ottawa enters this game with a paltry 75% effectiveness on the penalty kill. That number could conceivably go down against the high powered Pittsburgh power play. The one thing Ottawa does well is avoid the penalty box, going shorthanded an average of just over three times per game. What they do bad, well, is everything after. The Senators have allowed the sixth highest amount of shot attempts per hour while shorthanded, as well as the eighth most scoring chances and 11th most high-danger shot attempts. That will not get it done against the Penguin power play.

Penguins Goaltending Outlook
In theory, Matt Murray draws a nice assignment tonight with Ottawa in town. Their offense hasn’t been very good, the goal support should be there, and this game figures to be in Ottawa’s zone most of the night. There is almost some issue of Pittsburgh overlooking this one, but that’s intangible. Tangibly, Murray hasn’t been great, but he did get back in the ledge in his last start while stopping 33 of 34 shots in a win. Ottawa’s top six is back together and Pittsburgh does still struggle with high-danger shot attempts, but Murray should be a fine play tonight.

Senators Elite Plays: None
Senators Secondary Plays: Matt Duchene, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson
Stackability: Red / Orange
Goaltending: Red

Penguins Elite Plays: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel
Penguins Secondary Plays: Carl Hagelin, Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel, Kris Letang, Justin Schultz
Stackability: Green
Goaltending: Green / Yellow

Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres

Tampa Bay Lightning Buffalo Sabres
Louis Domingue Chad Johnson
Record Record
38-15-3 16-30-10
Team Stats 3.56 2.60 24.08 78.57 Team Stats 2.36 3.29 16.96 78.57

Lightning Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 62.15 CF/60 (4) | 55.8 CA/60 (24) | 2.25 xGF/60 (16) | 2.07 xGA/60 (25)

After a game with the high flying Maple Leafs last night, the Bolts will get a different look against the Sabres. Buffalo plays a low event, slow paced game — the complete opposite of what the Bolts try to do. Buffalo’s blueline is weak, so a deep and dynamic team like Tampa Bay should have no problem playing their style. Even though Buffalo’s ratios are not out of whack, expect Tampa’s offense to put up their numbers.

And their numbers have been strong this year. The quality is curiously on the low end as evident by the mediocre expected goal rate, but there are high end goal scorers on this club and the top six has been lethal. Scoring chances should not be a problem tonight. The Sabres will also be majorly shorthanded with Jack Eichel out of commission, meaning the O’Reilly line is the only matchup to watch.

With the way Tampa has their lines set up, it’s unclear who O’Reilly will play against. Steven Stamkos is the premier center on the team and a sniper in his own right, but he’s not working with Nikita Kucherov at the moment. Instead, Stamkos is centering Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde, two excellent complimentary forwards for Stammer. Kucherov works on the second line with impressive youngster Brayden Point and Alex Killorn, who doesn’t offer much offensively.

While the O’Reilly factor is definitely an issue here, it’s not the end of the world. The Tampa top six has shown enough in more difficult matchups and they should have no problems with the Eichel-less Sabres tonight.

Lightning Special Teams Outlook
Buffalo doesn’t go shorthanded often, just three times per game, and they would be wise to play disciplined again tonight. Tampa Bay comes in with one of the better power play units in the league. The Sabres have been middle of the road defensively, ranking near the median in shot attempts, scoring chances, and high-danger shot attempts allowed per hour while shorthanded. The lack of high-end numbers means that Tampa’s power play shouldn’t really have an issue with the run of the mill group.

Lightning Goaltending Outlook
This is a great matchup for Louis Domingue, as Andrei Vasilevskiy took the tougher assignment last night. The Sabres are the worst offense in the league by a country mile, posting the worst shot attempt rate and the lowest expected goal rate in the league at 5v5. Now with Jack Eichel out the mix, things are going to get worse… so much worse. With Tampa Bay playing strong defensively this year and a win likely, Domingue is a strong value play on FD.

Sabres Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 49.92 CF/60 (31) | 57.98 CA/60 (18) | 1.77 xGF/60 (31) | 2.15 xGA/60 (20)

What can we say about the Buffalo offense now that Jack Eichel is out? They already have the worst expected goal rate at 5v5, the lowest shot attempt rate, and the worst rates of scoring chances and high-danger shot attempts generated at 5v5. And that’s all with Eichel, a ~point per game player. Yikes.

With Tampa coming in playing well defensively this year and a powerhouse of the Eastern Conference, the Sabres can mostly be ignored tonight. About the only thing working in their favor is they’ll avoid Vasilevskiy in net, but that’s not nearly enough to move the needle.

The only line with viable forwards consists of Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane, and Jason Pominville has swapped spots with Kyle Okposo (third line). Sam Reinhart also takes a huge step back as he no longer works with Eichel, and he too joins a 5v5 line island. Worst of all, the O’Reilly line is used in a defensive capacity (or they had been with Eichel, maybe they’ll be sheltered some now) and that means a tough matchup against the Stamkos or Point line tonight.

Sabres Special Teams Outlook
Tampa Bay has been one of the better teams limiting high-danger shot attempts on the penalty kill, so the Sabres shouldn’t expect to see many quality chances tonight. They shouldn’t expect to see a high volume of shot attempt or scoring chance opportunity either as the Bolts have been fine defending them (though not elite). Buffalo’s middling power play numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, of course, now that Eichel is taken off the power play. Dark times indeed.

Sabres Goaltending Outlook
Robin Lehner has been struggling a bit, getting lit up in his last start and not faring too well over his past several games in general. He’s typically been a nice source of value in GPPs when on home ice, but that can thrown out now given his form, his opponent, and the fact the team is without Eichel. Wins will be much harder to come by and the defensive metrics should start to deteriorate for Buffalo. Update: It will be OchoCinco (Chad Johnson) in net. The previous remains true for him as it does Lehner, and Johnson has been far worse than Lehner this year. Yikes.

Lightning Elite Plays: Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman
Lightning Secondary Plays: Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, Brayden Point, Vladislav Namestnikov
Stackability: Green
Goaltending: Green

Sabres Elite Plays: None
Sabres Secondary Plays: None
Stackability: Red
Goaltending: Red

Calgary Flames at Boston Bruins

Calgary Flames Boston Bruins
David Rittich Tuukka Rask
Record Record
29-19-8 34-12-8
Team Stats 2.80 2.75 17.02 79.57 Team Stats 3.28 2.39 21.56 83.75

Flames Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 64.49 CF/60 (2) | 58.54 CA/60 (15) | 2.46 xGF/60 (5) | 2.27 xGA/60 (17)

After a few generous defensive matchups against the New York teams, things take a turn for the worse for Calgary. The Bruins defense is better than that of either New York team by a factor that can only be calculated by NASA computers. The Bruins are the best team in the league at suppressing shot attempts at 5v5, and they keep the quality down too. Their 5v5 expected goals allowed rate is one of the lowest in the league and they have an elite shut down line.

That line will likely spend plenty of 5v5 time against Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, making them tough to pay up for tonight. The Flames in general, and Monahan-Gaudreau in particular, have been quite adept offensively this year. Shot generation numbers are quite healthy, and the scoring chances have been there as well. This has led to the Flames having one of the better offenses analytically speaking, with their expected goal rate fifth best and actual 5v5 GF/60 in-line with expectations.

Though they’ll avoid the Bergeron line, Calgary’s 3M line (Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk, and Michael Frolik) don’t skate under the radar here. Boston’s secondary lines have played well defensively and are overall a low event line in what they allow. While the 3M line should is in a better spot than the Monahan line as they avoid Bergeron, they figure to sill find little room to work with. Calgary’s third line is slowly starting to show some signs of life (Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski, Garnet Hathaway) after a prolonged slump (plus Troy Brouwer ruining things), but they can’t be trusted in this matchup.

Flames Special Teams Outlook
Though Dougie Hamilton is getting his revenge game on (hey, it works for Tyler Seguin), the Flames don’t get an overly attractive power play matchup. The team has strong metrics on the year, but have been slumping somewhat recently, causing a little bit of rearrangement. The Bruins don’t go shorthanded very often, and when they do, they carry over their strong defensive play.

Flames Goaltending Outlook
With Mike Smith out of commission (but avoiding a serious injury, it seems), look for Dave Rittich to get an extended run of starts. The good news is he is playing behind a mostly sound defense, and Rittich has been strong while filling in for Smith. Tonight he gets a Bruins offense that has been explosive at times and drive plays well at 5v5. They have an unimpressive expected goal rate, and outside of their top line, don’t have too many high-end finishers. There’s probably more risk than reward with Rittich in this matchup, but this game does set up to be lower scoring.

Bruins Offensive Outlook

5v5 (adj): 60.66 CF/60 (9) | 50.87 CA/60 (31) | 2.23 xGF/60 (17) | 1.97 xGA/60 (28)

The Bruins have a middle of the road matchup tonight in terms of sheer numbers, but on-ice matchups aren’t exactly favorable for key personnel. The Flames are right in the middle of the pack in allowing shot attempts and they aren’t necessarily weak in the high-danger spots on the ice. They are missing their starting netminder, true, but their backup play has been top notch.

Over the last month, Boston’s rate of high-dagner shot attempts generated per hour at 5v5 is tied for second lowest rate in the NHL. Basically, the Bruins have been fine creating shot attempts as a whole, but have kept them limited to lower probability parts of the ice.

Outside the top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, there aren’t many reliable or upside options for Boston. The Bergeron is probably going to spend most of its time against the Monahan line, so there at least should be some opportunities that go back the other way. Additionally, this line’s night is saved by their power play matchup as all three skate on the top unit.

David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, and Ryan Spooner are a threat to be run over at 5v5 as they work against the Monahan line. This line doesn’t have great quality numbers so that should be expected to stay the same here against the defensively stout Calgary seconds. The matchup is a bit better for Riley Nash, David Backes, and Danton Heinen, but note that the Calgary third line doesn’t have the dead weight of Troy Brouwer on it anymore.

Bruins Special Teams Outlook
Though the Flames have been average in allowing shot attempts while shorthanded, they have struggled mightily in avoiding scoring chances allowed and also have a top ten rate of high-danger shot attempts allowed per hour. That sets the Boston power play up for success, as it is driven by their dangerous top line. Calgary goes shorthanded about 3.3 times per game, so opportunities should be there.

Bruins Goaltending Outlook
With one of the lowest rates of expected goals allowed at 5v5, Boston’s netminder is more often that not going to be in a good spot. Tuukka Rask has been electric this year after a slow start, and even Anton Khudobin has had his career resurrected playing in Boston’s system. The matchup tonight isn’t great, as the Flames have been one of the most dangerous 5v5 offenses in the league. At least the top line should be slowed down by the elite defensive work from the Bergeron line. Rask isn’t a must play and he’s not a complete avoid, so he’s available in tournaments though there are better plays out there for the money.

Flames Elite Plays: None
Flames Secondary Plays: Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk, Dougie Hamilton, Mark Giordano
Stackability: Orange
Goaltending: Orange

Bruins Elite Plays: Brad Marchand
Bruins Secondary Plays: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner, Torey Krug
Stackability: Orange
Goaltending: Orange / Yellow

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About the Author

  • Ben Benwell (benwell311)

  • Ben has been playing fantasy hockey since the turn of the century, focusing on NHL DFS over the past three seasons. He has previously written hockey content for eDraft and The Fake Hockey. Feel free to reach out with questions, comments, and memes on Twitter @Benwell_B.


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