This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
It's an odd Thursday in the National Hockey League – there are just six games, and seven of the 12 teams they feature are almost certain to miss the playoffs.
New Jersey traveling to San Jose, Ottawa visiting Florida, and Edmonton at Minnesota all project as solid matchups for the home teams.
Spreading out your Aces picks across a few of those games is advised Thursday.
G: Martin Jones, SJ vs. NJ ($7,550): With 17 wins through his past 23 starts, a .930 save percentage and two shutouts, Jones is returning elite numbers consistently. New Jersey travels across the continent for a three-game stop in California, which is never easy, and the Devils are averaging a league-low 2.0 goals per game since the All-Star break.
C: Aleksander Barkov, FLA vs. OTT ($5,350): The budding star has seven points -- four goals -- through seven games since returning from an injury with an average of 20:20 on the ice per night. The Sens enter action Thursday allowing 3.44 goals per road game this season and killing penalties at only a 70 percent rate since the All-Star break.
C: Henrik Zetterberg, DET vs. WPG ($5,300): Positive regression is ahead for Zetterberg, who has gone pointless through his past eight games despite registering 31 shots on net, including eight in his latest outing. The Jets have allowed 3.35 goals per game since the All-Star break and 16 over their past four road contests. Target the bounce-back showing in the plus matchup.
W: Dylan Larkin, DET vs. WPG ($5,300): Piggybacking off the Zetterberg analysis, Larkin has clearly hit the rookie wall with just a single goal through his past 12 games. With 64 games under his belt this season, he's on borrowed time following a 35-game season with the University of Michigan. Still, his 3.3 shooting percentage has room for improvement against a favorable opponent, and Larkin is playing with Zetterberg.
W: Tomas Hertl, SJ vs. NJ ($4,450): While pointless through his past three games, Hertl still has a respectable 20 points through his past 28 games with 12 goals, a plus-18 rating and 76 shots on net. He continues to skate with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, presenting nice value.
W: Zack Kassian, EDM at MIN ($3,600): A low-priced flier, Kassian is expected to skate with Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall, which is a juicy fantasy spot. It's a daunting matchup, and Kassian hasn't registered a shot through his past two games while posting a minus-5 rating over his past three. While you're hoping the cookie crumbles right, he is sharing the ice with elite point producers.
W: Max Pacioretty, MON vs. BUF ($5,400): His pairing with Alex Galchenyuk has been a boon for both Habs, and Pacioretty will likely carry the lower ownership given Galchenyuk's recent hot stretch. However, Pacioretty still has consecutive multi-point games with a goal and three helpers.
D: Mathew Dumba, MIN vs. EDM ($4,400): There is still plenty of helium ballooning Dumba's fantasy stock upward. He's up to 12 points -- five goals -- through his past 18 games with an average of 3:35 power-play minutes per night, resulting in seven man-advantage points. At this cap hit in the midst of a small slate, this is a slam-dunk value roll.
D: Dmitry Kulikov, FLA vs. OTT ($3,650): This is a risky start, but Kulikov continues to see a heavy workload and chip in the peripherals with an average of 22:25 minutes per night, 12 shots per game and 16 blocked shots through his past eight games. Unfortunately, his power-play role isn't a lock. Still, there is a respectable floor at this low of a price point.