Was Justin Williams or Lionel Messi dressed for the Carolina Hurricanes last night? What a setup last night by Mr. Game 7 on Nino Niederreiter’s fifth goal in five games with the Canes. I’ve seen players kick and redirect pucks through their legs to set up goals, but I can’t recall ever witnessing a player (on purpose) using the outside of one of their skates to register an assist. That was pretty slick, if I do say so myself. Moving onto Saturday now, there are 11 games in tonight’s main slate. Six of the 11 games in tonight’s main slate begin at 7 pm EST, and then the night is capped with a divisional battle between the San Jose Sharks and the Arizona Coyotes in California. With the NHL schedule still recovering from the NHL All-Star Break, a whopping 12 of the 24 teams in action tonight will be playing on a back-to-back. Let’s take a look at some players who have been red hot as of late and can be used in your lineups tonight.
C – Matt Duchene (DK $6,400, FD $7,100)
Matt Duchene is the fourth-best center in tonight’s main slate when we consider average fantasy points per game on both DraftKings and FanDuel over the past calendar month. After roasting Jack Johnson and Marcus Pettersson last night to score his 21st goal of the season, the Haliburton, Ontario product now has six goals in his last eight games. Duchene also has 10 points in his last nine games. The 2018-19 NHL season sees Matt Duchene at over a point-per-game pace for the first time in his NHL career. The 28 year old will be getting a major increase in pay very soon, and if being an Ottawa Senators fan in the past has taught me anything, he’ll likely be employed by another organization next season (the experts at TSN can back me up on this). The 3rd overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft will likely be shooting on Jonathan Bernier tonight. Out of all NHL goalies that have played a minimum of 15 games this season, Bernier ranks as a bottom five goaltender in both Sv% and GAA. Duchene will try to increase his value even more tonight against the 27th-place Detroit Red Wings.
W – Evander Kane (DK $6,400, FD $7,300)
Evander Kane has the second-most fantasy points per game on both DraftKings and FanDuel among all NHL forwards over the last month. Evander Kane aka “The Tone$etter” has five goals in his last four games, and he has eight points in just his last five games. Kane has been held off the scoresheet only twice in his last 13 games. The year 2019 has treated the Atlanta Thrashers’ first rounder well, as he has more goals and points than any other Sharks player in the last month. A big part of Kane’s fantasy success derives from how much he’s been shooting the puck; he has over two more shots/60 than any other Sharks player during the past month. This is an especially notable stat considering how much this San Jose Sharks squad likes to shoot the puck. Kane’s tendency to shoot over pass coupled with a 21.28 SH% over the past month has been a recipe for success for the $7 million/year man. Plug “The Tone$etter” into your lineups with confidence.
W – Viktor Arvidsson (DK $7,000, FD $7,800)
Taking into consideration all of the wingers in Saturday’s main slate, Viktor Arvidsson ranks in the top ten in fantasy points per game on both of the major Daily Fantasy Sports sites over the last month. What Arvidsson has accomplished not only in the past month but in his short, NHL season is very impressive. Arvidsson has seven goals in his past six games, 13 goals in 16 games since returning from a thumb injury, and 21 goals in 29 total games this season. That’s a 59-goal pace spread out over a full, 82-game season. C’mon Arvy, you can’t break a 60-goal pace? Be better. Now that Filip Forsberg has returned from injury to join Arvidsson and Johansen on the Predators’ top line, Arvidsson is in an even better spot. At 5v5 over both this season and last season, Arvidsson, Johansen, and Forsberg have gelled beautifully together in a plethora of statistical categories. When Arvidsson and Johansen are placed with a linemate other than Forsberg, almost the opposite occurs. Johansen and Arvidsson have actually been disastrous at 5v5 over the last two seasons without Forsberg complimenting them. CF%, SF%, GF%, SCF%, HDCF% – the list of stats that Arvidsson combined with Johansen and any linemate other than Forsberg have struggled with goes on and on. Luckily, the entire top Predators’ line is healthy at the moment so these poor stats are not applicable at this point in time. Arvidsson will look to keep up his torrid goal-scoring pace tonight at Bridgestone Arena.
D – Tyson Barrie (DK $5,500, FD $6,200)
Tyson Barrie has been the fourth-best defensemen in the entire NHL over the past month in terms of average fantasy points-per-game on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Barrie has recorded 15 points in just his last twelve games, which includes a four-point night against the Los Angeles Kings two weeks ago today. Over half of these previously mentioned points have come with the man advantage. These stats are being highlighted because the Avs are playing against the Vancouver Canucks tonight. The Canucks have been shorthanded more times than all but four NHL teams this season. They also have the fourth-worst Road PK% in the entire NHL. Barrie has a good opportunity to contribute offensively tonight against the minus-14 goal differential Canucks.
D – Victor Hedman (DK $6,000, FD $6,500)
Victor Hedman has been the sixth-best defensemen in the NHL over the last month in terms of average fantasy points-per-game on both of the major DFS platforms. The reigning Norris Trophy winner has five points in his last four games and 15 points in his last 15 games. The New York Rangers, Hedman’s opponent on Saturday, haven’t been terrible defensively as of late; they have only allowed just over two goals per game over their last five. However, this season as a whole for the Rangers hasn’t been the same story. The Blueshirts have allowed the sixth-most goals per game in the NHL. They are very much deserving of this outcome as the team ranks near the bottom of the league at 5v5 and 4v5 when it comes to preventing shots on goal and scoring chances. Hedman and company will be in play tonight at Madison Square Garden.
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