Brian Elliott, CGY vs. LA ($8,600) – The last time Elliott faced the Kings at home, he notched the fourth win of his current 10-game winning streak, allowing just one goal on 29 shots. The only teams that have managed to beat Elliott more than twice since mid-February are the high-powered Penguins and Predators, and although the Kings have won three of their past five, they’ve also scored just five goals in their past three games. After a horrific start to the season, Elliott has elevated his play and re-earned his reputation as one of the league’s toughest goalies to beat at even strength. Scott Darling, available at the same price, is also a viable play at home against Colorado, but Chicago is also playing the second half of a back-to-back.
Jonathan Toews, CHI vs. COL ($7,400) – Normally, Toews isn’t considered an elite fantasy option because he takes so much pride in his defense that he’s willing to sacrifice offensive opportunities, but with a three-game point streak and an easy opponent, he’s as good an option as any. He’s the best center to take the ice Sunday, and that alone makes him an attractive pick.
Mikael Backlund, CGY vs. LA ($5,300) – He’s a bit of an off-the-board selection, but the former first-round pick has continued to be one of Calgary’s most dependable and underrated players. Through 71 games he’s scored 49 points, a career high, and rarely goes two straight games without a point. He’s not known for his offensive ability and the Kings are very hard to score against, but he’s also fired 15 shots in his past five games. He’s currently the team’s de facto No. 1 center with Sean Monahan going through a difficult season.
Patrick Kane, CHI vs. COL ($8,800) – He was held without a point against Toronto, but still managed five shots on goal and prior to that was on a four-game point streak with two goals and five assists. He has a very favorable matchup against the Avs, who can’t defend and will likely be starting Jeremy Smith, who has a 3.12 GAA and .898 save percentage this season. The Avs allowed five goals against Detroit yesterday, and the Blackhawks’ offense will be even tougher to defend. Kane is the focal point on offense and will likely finish as the team’s top scorer for the second straight season.
Artemi Panarin, CHI vs. COL ($6,800) – It’s a bit perplexing he comes at such a big discount to his linemate, especially given the five-game point streak he’s on. Even though Kane has a 13-point lead in team scoring, Panarin’s 42 assists are just four behind Kane. A point of concern, though relatively minor, is center Nick Schmaltz won has won just four of 19 faceoffs in his past two games and notched one assist in his past five. The good news is that Joel Quenneville still trusts him, and even though the Avs are one of the better teams in the dot, it should be an easy win for Chicago — and perhaps even a blowout.
Jeff Skinner, CAR at PHI ($6,400) – He was a game-time decision Saturday but looked no worse for wear with a two-goal effort against Nashville. After a tough stretch at the beginning of the month and a few choice words from Bill Peters, the Hurricanes are back on track as one of the league’s most exciting young teams, winning three of their past five games. Skinner has been equally productive, scoring five goals in his past six games. He’s a high volume shooter, so if anything he creates a lot of scoring opportunities.
Sebastian Aho, CAR at PHI ($5,100) – The rookie that everyone’s talking about who won’t even sniff the Calder Trophy, Aho has been trusted with important minutes and heads into Sunday’s match having recorded points in back-to-back games. The Flyers’ defense is inconsistent and so is their goaltending, which makes them difficult to assess. They allowed six goals to New Jersey, arguably the league’s most boring team, but managed to shut out Pittsburgh the night before.
Erik Karlsson, OTT at MON ($7,400) – Having to face a pretty good Habs defense and (potentially) Carey Price should not faze Karlsson, who played 33 minutes and scored a goal and an assist last night. It’s the second time in three games Karlsson has skated at least 30 minutes, and while he’d be hard-pressed to do that again Sunday, don’t be surprised if the intense Guy Boucher leans on his best player again to see if they can tie the Habs for the Atlantic Division lead. Karlsson has been the clear No. 2 fantasy defenseman this year behind Brent Burns, and also leads the league with 189 blocked shots.
Dougie Hamilton, CGY vs. LA ($5,600) – There are no guarantees the Kings will be easy to score on, but Hamilton has been a top-five fantasy defenseman all year and has scored five points in his past four games. He comes at a slight discount to the superior Mark Giordano ($5,700), but overall has been the more productive player on offense. The Kings’ penalty kill is among the league’s best, but Hamilton provides more than just power-play value with four shots and five blocked shots in his past three games.