Roberto Luongo, FLA vs. OTT ($35) – Despite appearing in just 25 games, the 38-year-old is amazingly having his best statistical season since 2004 with a .930 save percentage and 2.51 GAA. The Panthers have won eight of their past 10 and the Senators are coming off a loss to the Flames on Friday in which they managed to score just one goal. Mark Stone will not be making the trip to Florida, which further hurts the Senators’ already anemic offense.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Scott Darling, CAR at NYR ($23) – The results so far this season have been disastrous for Darling, who was expected to challenge and win the starting job from Cam Ward. That hasn’t happened, and prior to his most recent win against his former employer Thursday, Darling had lost four straight with 14 goals allowed. He has lost both of his previous appearances against the Rangers this season, allowing nine goals on 51 shots for an ugly .824 save percentage.
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Aleksander Barkov, FLA vs. OTT ($25) – He’s been a beast for the Panthers as they make their late-season charge up the standings, and in his past nine games he’s scored five goals and nine points. The Senators don’t have any centers who can go head-to-head against the big Finn, and they’ve been one of the league’s worst teams on the road with just nine wins. Their 233 goals allowed is second worst in the conference, which means both Barkov and Vincent Trocheck could have big nights.
Anze Kopitar, LA vs. VAN ($24) – If the Kings were doing better in the standings Kopitar would be part of the Hart Trophy conversation. The former Selke winner has scored 74 points this season, just seven shy of tying his career-high and already 22 more points than last year. He’s riding a career-high 16.3 shooting percentage, and in past years he’s dominated the Canucks with 42 points in 48 career games. Kopitar has historically been a much better performer at home, and having power forward Jeff Carter in the lineup also helps soften the defense for him.
CENTERS TO AVOID
William Karlsson, VGK at PHI ($24) – He’s 25 years old so he’s still got some potential, but coming into the season Karlsson had 15 goals in 162 games. This year, he has already scored 35 on a ridiculous 23.5 shooting percentage, and it’s a good bet he doesn’t replicate his success next season. He’s been held without a goal in his past four games with just five shots on goal. Even though the Flyers aren’t very stout on defense or in net, Karlsson’s an expensive option enjoying what seems like to be an anomalous season.
Bo Horvat, VAN at LA ($18) – He’s registered just one assist in three games since Brock Boeser hurt his back and had nothing to show for his five-shot effort in a shutout loss to the Coyotes last night. The Kings will be an even tougher opponent, and Horvat will have his hands full facing Kopitar or Carter. While Horvat is an excellent two-way center, he needs scoring wingers to help him generate offense, and Brendan Leipsic is certainly a step down from Boeser.
Patrik Laine, WPG at WAS ($27) – Laine brings his five-game goal streak to Washington, where he will face Alex Ovechkin while being currently tied for the league lead with his childhood idol at 40 goals each. Laine is far more efficient than Ovechkin, though, and when shooters like Laine get hot, there’s little that can stop them, especially on the power play where he’s been especially dangerous this season. The Caps will start Philipp Grubauer as they try to right the ship, but if frustrations boil over they’ll have to be careful not to take any dumb penalties.
Rickard Rakell, ANH vs. STL ($25) – He’s in the running as the Ducks’ MVP this season with 59 points, including eight goals and three assists in his past six games. The Blues waved the white flag after trading Paul Stastny, and a big reason they haven’t been able to win games this season is because Jake Allen has not shown he’s capable of being a reliable No. 1 goalie. The Ducks are 6-3-1 in their past 10 thanks to Rakell’s offensive production, and in 10 career games against the Blues he’s scored eight points.
Logan Couture, SJ vs. DET ($22) – He hasn’t scored in three straight games, but he’s done very well against Detroit in the past with seven goals and 14 points in 19 career games. Couture is three goals shy of scoring 30 for the first time since his first two seasons in the NHL and expected starting goalie Jimmy Howard has lost five straight games with 15 games allowed. Couture’s speed may be difficult for the Detroit defense to contain, which has been one of the more concerning aspects of the team’s performance this season.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Vladimir Tarasenko, STL at ANH ($29) – Offensive production for the Blues’ top line has tailed off in the second half of the season, and even though Tarasenko is still considered one of the league’s top snipers, he is far off last year’s pace with one goal in his past four games and 27 on the season. It’ll be difficult to score against John Gibson and a pretty deep Ducks defense.
Vladislav Namestnikov, NYR vs. CAR ($19) – It’s no surprise Namestnikov’s production has taken a dive after leaving Tampa Bay. No longer able to ride the coattails of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, Namestnikov has been held without a point in his past five games. The Hurricanes are an easy target with their shoddy goaltending, but Namestnikov has also been tasked to play more of a two-way role with the Rangers, which he’s done very well but has had to sacrifice some offense to do so.
Daniel Sedin, VAN at LA ($18) – He hasn’t scored in four games even though he came close in the final seconds of last night’s game against the Coyotes, but without Boeser in the lineup the opposition has been able to hone in on Sedin, who is arguably the team’s only remaining sniper after they traded away Thomas Vanek. The Canucks offense has sputtered since Boeser’s injury with just three goals in their past three games, and the Kings have always been very tough to score against.
Alex Pietrangelo, STL at ANH ($24) – Pietrangelo is one of the league’s most underappreciated defensemen and has one of the highest floors in the league. He routinely drives possession and puts pucks on net, including eight against the Kings on Saturday. The Blues are playing their fourth consecutive game on the road so fatigue may be a factor, but Pietrangelo is as consistent and steady as they come.
Seth Jones, CLS vs. MON ($23) – He’s one of the league’s best young defensemen but no one talks about him because he plays in Columbus, and he enters Monday’s game with three goals and two assists in his past two games. The Jackets have a lot of momentum behind them with four straight wins, and the Habs defense has been allowing a lot of shots through. As good as Antti Niemi has been, Jones and the Jackets should take this game in a cakewalk.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI vs. VGK ($26) – For a guy who hasn’t registered a point yet in March, Gostisbehere certainly commands a premium price. He had just one shot on goal Saturday against the Jets and he faces a deep Vegas defense that also features Marc-Andre Fleury in net. The Flyers offense can be pretty potent, but that hasn’t been the case recently. Gostisbehere is a streaky scorer who’s mired in a slump right now.
Drew Doughty, LA vs. VAN ($23) – Doughty doesn’t play well against the Canucks. In 40 career games against them he’s scored just four goals with a minus-12 rating, the worst rating of his career against any team. Doughty is also coming off a minus-4 performance in a 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the Blues, and there’s just no real indication that Doughty will be a reliable option on offense even though the Kings are heavily favored.