This article is part of our FantasyAces NHL series.
Nine games are scheduled for this Tuesday night, and with the season winding down, the stakes are highest in a couple Western Conference matchups. However, for our purposes, we need to take advantage of some mismatches on the board.
As always, I begin setting my lineups with a search for the easiest-looking goalie win. On this slate, that looks like the Sharks against a Vancouver club that is floundering, having lost its last eight games.
Second, the Pens' high-octane offense gets a home tilt against a Buffalo squad leaning on its backup goalie. Despite being without Evgeni Malkin (upper body), the Penguins have enjoyed an offensive surge, scoring 24 goals in their last six games.
Here are my recommendations for games on March 29, 2016:
C: Jordan Staal, CAR at NYI ($4,850 ): Staal has not missed a beat since taking on first-line responsibilities, and he gets a favorable matchup against an Islanders squad that lacks its top goalie and has faded to a 3-5-2 mark in its last 10 games. For his part, Staal has points in four of his last five.
C: Nick Bonino, PIT vs. BUF ($4,400): Bonino has filled in as the second-line center admirably in Malkin's absence, producing eight points in his last seven games. He's also poured 20 shots on goal in that stretch, far outpacing his season average. As noted above, this matchup favors the Pens' offense, making Bonino an inexpensive option with upside.
W: Kyle Palmieri, NJ vs. BOS ($4,900): Palmieri has fashioned a career season out of his top-six minutes and front-line power-play roles with the Devils. He is on a tear with eight points in his last seven games and looks undervalued against a Boston team that's by no means averse to giving up goals.
W: Andrew Ladd, CHI at MIN ($4,800): Ladd has made a seamless transition in his return to Chicago and finds himself on an experienced top line next to Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. He has four goals on 13 shots and an assist in his last five games, marking his most productive stretch of this season.
W: Chris Kunitz, PIT vs. BUF ($4,650): Another Penguin who looks like a bargain on Tuesday's board, Kunitz is riding shotgun with a red-hot Sidney Crosby. The winger has five goals in his last nine games and is among the league leaders with a plus-31 rating, which should be even higher after this one.
W: Tomas Hertl, SJ at VAN ($4,450): Hertl is enjoying life on the Sharks' top forward line alongside Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. He's on a point-per-game pace in his last nine starts while averaging almost three shots per game in that stretch. And as noted above, this mismatch against the Canucks – who haven't given up fewer than two goals in a game since Feb. 21 – is a favorable one.
D: Justin Faulk, CAR at NYI ($4,850): Faulk gets a nice edge against an Islanders club that has stumbled recently. He's played three games since returning from a lengthy injury absence, reclaiming his top-pairing and top-power-play-unit minutes. Prior to his injury, Faulk was among the most prolific offensive defensemen in the league, yet he's priced much lower than some of those notables on this night.
D: Colton Parayko, STL vs. COL ($4,850): Parayko snapped out of a scoring funk six games ago and has four points with 15 shots on goal in his most recent string of success. His surge is in line with the Blues' teamwide trend, as the club has won four straight and eight of 10; meanwhile, the Avs have been playing inconsistent hockey as they attempt to grab onto a playoff spot.
G: James Reimer, SJ at VAN ($7,250): Aside from getting shelled for five goals on only 21 shots in his last start, Reimer has been solid for the Sharks, collecting two shutouts and allowing a total of five goals in his four previous appearances. He's priced surprisingly low Tuesday, considering the disparity between these two teams.