This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Thursday night features 11 meetings on the frozen sheet, and three clubs will be grinding through part of back-to-back games. The Rangers are the only team that played last night, while the Canucks and Devils lace 'em up tomorrow.
Among the most exciting matchups is Toronto vs. Vegas, as Marc-Andre Fleury and Frederik Andersen rank first and second in the league in wins with nine and eight, respectively. Neither team is light on offense, however, so something's going to have to give. This is one of five contests that starts at 7:00 p.m. ET.
This slate also features a game between two bottom feeders when the Wild travel to San Jose. We expected Minnesota in this position to an extent, but the Sharks are in uncharted territory.
Thursday is stacked with talent and plenty of excitement is on tap. Read on to help hone in on a few stacks and value plays to help you achieve DFS glory.
Marc-Andre Fleury ($9,000) endured a three-game stretch where he posted an .843 save percentage, but he took a night off (due to illness) and came back better than ever with a 29-save effort to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 on Tuesday. A little rest does wonders for a workhorse like Fleury, and he's now ready to take on the mighty Maple Leafs. Fleury has been superb on the road, however, with a 5-0-0 record and .961 save percentage. On the contrary, his counterpart, Frederik Andersen ($8,500), would rather be anywhere but home, as he has a pitiful .897 save percentage in his barn.
We cannot gloss over what's happening on Long Island. New York is riding a 10-game win streak into this contest, and the tandem of Semyon Varlamov ($8,200) and Thomas Greiss ($8,200) is responsible for the success with a 1.7 GAA during the stretch. They'll have their toughest test yet, however, as the Penguins feature a league-high 53.37 Corsi For percentage – and now they're fully healthy.
Deep in the desert hides one of the league's premier goaltenders. He's not a well-kept secret anymore, but Darcy Kuemper ($8,400) provides ample value every time he enters the blue paint. The 29-year-old has allowed more than two goals just once in 10 starts, and he ranks first with a .940 save percentage. The Blue Jackets aren't a matchup to fear, as they come in 30th with 2.33 GPG.
It hasn't been determined who will tend Vancouver's twine in Chicago, as the Canucks will be on the first game of back-to-back outings. Jacob Markstrom ($7,600) and Thatcher Demko ($7,900) are both sound choices, though, especially since the Blackhawks have dropped seven of their last nine decisions and mustered up a measly two GPG in that stretch.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau ($4,400) punches in as the Senators' top-line center with Colin White (hip) on the mend. It may look like I'm just picking on the Kings' dead-last 4.63 road GAA – which I am – but Pageau's been a stud in his own right. He leads the league with a plus-15 rating, and he's stacked up three goals and an assist over the last three contests.
Clayton Keller ($5,700) is a swift skater who can get open in the blink of an eye. His whopping 60.5 Corsi For percentage tells the rest of the story, and he's on pace for 55 points this year. Columbus has lost five straight contests and yielded four scores per game in the process, so Keller gets the green light in DFS.
It's smart to target sustainable scoring, which is what Bryan Rust ($3,800) has. He began his four-game point streak before Evgeni Malkin returned from injury, and he's continued it since. Malkin's addition simply ups Rust's ceiling.
Max Pacioretty ($7,000) is an appealing one-off in tournaments. Some gamers may be frustrated with his lack of production, as the previously perennial 30-goal scorer has tickled the twine just three times in 16 games. He's scoring on just 4.8 percent of his shots, however, which is 6.7 percent less than last year's mark. The 30-year-old is bound for positive regression, and he maintains the volume to support it with nearly four shots per game. With low ownership in DFS, a Pacioretty explosion could make a major difference.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Calgary Flames (TOTAL: $21,000)
This unit can be streaky, but they've found this swagger recently, combining for four goals and eight assists over their last four appearances. The trio gets an extra bump versus the lowly Devils – who possess the league's worst traveling penalty kill at 56.3 percent – as they all work on the same power-play unit. It'll be a bonus if the winless Cory Schneider ($7,000) returns to the crease.
San Jose Sharks (TOTAL: $18,900)
Kane is on track to shatter his career-high 30 goals, as he's lit the lamp nine times in 13 games. The high-volume shooter can withstand some regression from his 17.0 shooting percentage. Couture and Labanc combine for 1.2 points per game, which is troubling, but Minnesota's vulnerability helps disintegrate those worries, as the Wild rank 22nd in the league with a 3.60 GAA on the road
Philadelphia Flyers (TOTAL: $17,800)
This may be the best two-way line through the first month of the season, as Couturier and Konecny combine for a 64.0 Corsi For percentage and Lindblom isn't far behind at 59.3. High-danger chances are only worth as much as their production, though, and this group isn't short in the point column. Over the last eight contests, they've combined for 10 goals, 11 assists and 57 shots on net.
Don't panic just because John Carlson ($7,100) has failed to notch a point in three of four contests – he's still heading the league's second-best power-play unit. However, he should be faded appropriately against Florida's effective penalty kill (84.0 percent). Brent Burns ($7,200), and Roman Josi ($6,700), on the other hand, have continued to stack up points. Burns has an easier matchup against the Wild, but Josi provides a sturdier floor based on shots and blocked shots.
Nate Schmidt ($4,400) looks like he's running on adrenaline during his three games back from injury, generating a goal, an assist, seven shots on net and eight blocked shots. It's a well-rounded stat line, and his average of 22:38 TOI makes him an intriguing play at the price.
The Coyotes are giving Oliver Ekman-Larsson plenty of chances to succeed, as he's starting a career-high 57.8 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. He's in a bit of a slump, but Columbus is coming to town as the second-worst road defense (4.33 GAA).
Ivan Provorov ($5,000) and Cale Makar ($4,700) both quarterback power-play units that stack up against swiss-cheese penalty kills. Provorov works on Philly's top unit against Monreal's 30th-ranked kill (68.9 percent), while Makar ranks second in the league with seven PP assists and will set his sights on Nashville's 7.92 GA/60 (23rd) when down a man.