This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
It's a very busy Thursday, as there are 10 games on the NHL schedule. That means a lot of options for your daily fantasy lineups. Many of the worst penalty kills are in action, which means guys who get a ton of power-play time could be of particular benefit. Also, the Red Wings are on the road against the Capitals, so circle that game for sure.
You know what team has the worst GAA in the NHL since the All-Star break? Nope, not the Wings. It's actually their opponent Thursday, the Capitals. Yes, Washington has a 3.50 GAA over its last 20 games. Of course, on the flip side, the Wings have only scored 1.70 goals per contest in that same time frame. Detroit has also only scored 1.94 goals per game on the road this year. Basically, I'm still totally fine with going with Braden Holtby ($8,500) at home. It would be a stunner of he doesn't at least pick up a win Thursday.
Since returning from his lengthy injury, Darcy Kuemper ($7,900) has hit the ground running. Over four starts he has a 2.55 GAA and .924 save percentage. On the season, the 29-year-old has posted a 2.22 GAA and .928 save percentage. Vancouver has had a lot of issues on the road. In addition to only scoring 2.82 goals per game in away contests the Canucks have a 3.50 GAA. I like Kuemper's chances of picking up a win.
Carey Price ($8,400) isn't in his Hart-winning form, but since the start of the new year he has a 2.50 GAA and .918 save percentage. That's not too shabby. He'll be at home against the Sabres on Thursday, and they've had a pretty punchless offense recently. Since the All-Star break they've only managed 28.7 shots on net per contest.
Alex Killorn ($5,100) may slip through the cracks in Tampa, but he's tallied 26 goals in 68 games. With Steven Stamkos out, Killorn has also moved to the Lightning's top line, and also their primary power-play unit. You may look at the Flyers' 2.77 GAA at be concerned, but they are a completely different team at home and on the road. In away games they have a 3.56 GAA.
Nick Suzuki ($4,000) isn't going to win the Calder, but the rookie has 41 points in 71 games. He's also tallied 14 power-play points and has earned a spot on Montreal's top unit. In addition to having a 3.41 GAA on the road, the Sabres have the 30th-ranked penalty kill. That time with the extra man could pay off for Suzuki.
Anders Lee ($6,200) has been staying active for the Islanders offensively. He's one of two players to score 20 goals for New York, and he also leads the team with 195 shots on net. The Flames have been one of the worst teams defensively at home, as they have a 3.36 GAA in Calgary. That's second highest in the NHL. They also have a 3.35 GAA since the All-Star break.
Filip Forsberg ($5,900) has started 59.4 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest on the Predators. Of course, that didn't stop him from being completely snake bit for a while. That's finally come to a conclusion. The Swede has notched three goals over his last three games, giving him 21 on the season. He has a decent chance to keep that going against a Maple Leafs team with a 3.17 GAA.
Capitals vs. Red Wings
The "bona fides" of the Red Wings are known by this point. They have a 3.73 GAA, highest in the NHL. Detroit has a 4.06 GAA on the road, also the worst in the league. They have the league's worst penalty kill to boot. This is, needless to say, a great matchup. So much so I am skipping the Capitals' top line for this stack and going with the second unit. Of course, Washington has one of the best second lines in the NHL. The players are just a smidge cheaper.
Backstrom has been up to his usual playmaking tricks, as he has 42 assists in 61 games. He also has nine points in his last 10 games. Vrana's offense has slowed down a bit, but he still has already set career highs in goals (25) and points (52). This matchup is the kind that could get him back on track. His slowing down does correspond to a stretch where the Capitals were on the road for five out of six games. Oshie has notched 26 goals, and 10 of those have come with the extra man. That lines up well with a matchup against the league's worst penalty kill.
Maple Leafs vs. Predators
I'm also actually going with Toronto's second line. I would have gone with the top line, but recently the Maple Leafs have shifted things a bit and moved Marner to the second unit. That may not stay the case for a while, but right now I am considering this a line for a stack. Plus, Marner and Tavares both play on the top power-play unit for Toronto, so they will be doing damage together either way. Nashville's GAA isn't really any worse on the road, it has a 3.10 GAA overall and a 3.12 road GAA, but it also has a bottom-four penalty kill.
Tavares gets overshadowed by Auston Matthews, which is totally reasonable, but he's having a great year. He's tallied 60 points in 63 games, including 21 with the extra man. Marner has actually been more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, as he has 16 goals but 51 assists. However, he's done that in only 59 games, so who is going to complain. The 22-year-old also has 24 points with the extra man. Kapanen hasn't really done much with the extra man. His power-play time is limited. However, he has 36 points in 69 games, and being on this line could pay off, especially at this price.
If Victor Hedman ($6,200) is still out, I really like Mikhail Sergachev ($5,500), but either way I'm in on him. He's started 54.3 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest among Tampa defensemen. He's also tallied 13 points with the extra man, and will get a lot more power-play time if Hedman indeed is sidelined once more. I don't know why the Flyers have been one of the best teams at home and one of the worst teams on the road, but what I do know is that they have a 3.56 GAA in away games.
Tyson Barrie's ($5,400) numbers have dropped from his last couple of seasons with the Avalanche, and his 3.0 shooting percentage is a big reason why. Also, his power-play time has dropped, but he's still played 2:40 per game with the extra man and notched 12 power-play points. That's still enough against the Predators and their bottom-four penalty kill.
It seems like Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($5,300), who has 30 points through 66 games, may fail to hit the 40-point mark for the third-straight season, but not if he can stay hot. The Swede has six points over his last six contests. Now he's squaring off with a Canucks team that has a 3.50 road GAA.
I'm going to end things by giving you a defensive option for the Capitals that won't make you break the bank like John Carlson ($6,900). If you want a cheaper option, I think you have to go with Dmitry Orlov ($3,800. He's second among Washington defensemen in points (27) and shots on goal (105). The Russian is also the only other defenseman besides Carlson to see any power-play time. Against a Red Wings team with a 4.06 road GAA and the league's worst penalty kill, he could be worth a flyer.