Saturday's eight-game NHL slate begins at 1:00 PM Eastern time. Owners looking for a leg up in this mid-sized slate should heed the advice below, as this column pinpoints which players to target and which to avoid.
Jonathan Quick, LA vs. CHI ($27): Quick's been on his game lately, allowing just 11 goals over his past six games while winning four of them. The perennially elite netminder remains underpriced relative to his usual value, and he should have no trouble maintaining momentum against a Blackhawks team that's won just five of its past 20 games. Roll Quick out with confidence.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Casey DeSmith, PIT vs. NYI ($32): DeSmith's allowed three goals in each of his past four appearances, including Thursday when the Bruins took just five shots and 5:17 to get to that total and chase him from the game. While offensive support likely won't be hard to come by in this matchup, the seventh-ranked Islanders offense (3.20 goals per game) poses a serious risk to DeSmith's fantasy value.
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Mika Zibanejad, NYR at EDM ($15): Zibanejad leads the Rangers with nine power-play goals and is also tied for the team lead with 15 points in extra-man situations despite missing nine games this season. While he doesn't have the proficiency of an Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos, the right-handed shot is used similarly as the focal point of New York's man advantage unit, with teammates looking to set him up for one-timers. An Oilers penalty kill that ranks last in the league at 73.6 percent is unlikely to successfully contain the sniper.
CENTER TO AVOID
Sean Couturier, PHI at TB ($24): Couturier hasn't lit the lamp in the past six games, and he has just three goals over his last 19 appearances. Getting back on track will be difficult against a Lightning team that's outscored opponents 3.52 to 2.68 on average this season. Even if you fancy Philadelphia's chances in this matchup, fellow $24 Flyers center Claude Giroux outclasses Couturier.
Mark Stone, OTT at ARI ($20): In a game between two teams that lack game-breaking talent, Stone stands out as easily the best contributor on either team. Despite missing nine games this season, he has 12 more points than any other player suiting up for this game and has the highest rating of anybody involved as well. Stone's a man amongst boys here and should generate chances at will.
Phil Kessel, PIT vs. NYI ($29): Kessel's offensive ability is no secret, but he's been tremendously well-rounded of late with a plus-10 rating over the past 15 games as well. He also has 72 points in 65 games overall, making Kessel a more productive player than teammate Sidney Crosby. If you can't afford Evgeni Malkin ($31), Kessel's your man against an Islanders team that's allowing a league-high 3.53 goals per game.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Patrick Kane, CHI at LA ($28): Kane's a tremendous talent, but this isn't the time to pay up for him. Los Angeles has done a tremendous job of limiting opposing fantasy production, allowing the fewest goals per game in the league (2.46).
Carl Hagelin, PIT vs. NYI ($17): Hagelin's outclassed by plenty of teammates in this favorable matchup, especially since a productive trade deadline has given Pittsburgh a more balanced lineup. Paying $17 for a player that's averaging just 4.2 fantasy points per game is rarely worth it, especially when his team has 10 skaters with more points.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI vs. OTT ($17): Ekman-Larsson's offensive upside against this opponent makes him a strong play. The Senators have had serious problems keeping the puck out of their own net, as they allow the second-most goals per game (3.44) and have the league's fourth-worst penalty kill (75.5 percent). The skilled defenseman's on pace for a fifth consecutive season with at least 39 points and has 42 power-play goals over that stretch, so he's primed to exploit this favorable matchup.
Torey Krug, BOS vs. MON ($20): Krug's been arguably the biggest beneficiary of Boston's improved forward group this season, as his shooting percentage has jumped from last season's 3.8 percent to 8.1 percent thanks to the increased quality of scoring opportunities. He's thrived recently with four goals and 12 points in the past 13 games, and that production is unlikely to slow down against a Canadiens club that's allowing 3.02 goals per game and is missing starting netminder Carey Price (concussion).
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Jeff Petry, MON at BOS ($18): Petry's minus-24 rating is a major weakness, but owners are willing to stomach it because of his power-play production -- 17 of Petry's 31 points have come with the extra man. The Bruins are primed to lower Petry's rating while holding him off the board on the power play, as they rank fourth in goals per game (3.29) and seventh on the penalty kill (82.6 percent).
Ryan Pulock, NYI at PIT ($17): Pulock's the most expensive member of an underwhelming Islanders defense corps. The whole group is projected to struggle against a Penguins team that's scored 67 goals in the last 15 games, and Pulock carries the biggest risk of the bunch.