This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
The featured contests at DraftKings are comprised of Friday's two games. The Penguins host the Devils, and the Rangers visit the Senators. Pittsburgh is the only club playing the second leg of a back-to-back set, whereas Ottawa and New York both pulled off upset wins Wednesday, and New Jersey has been off since losing 5-1 to Boston on Tuesday.
The Penguins are 1-1-3 with Sidney Crosby (groin) out of the lineup, and they've surrendered nine goals through their past two contests. Add Tristan Jarry's ($8,200) underwhelming .902 career save percentage, and this could prove to be a soft matchup for the New Jersey offense. Additionally, there should be statistical correction ahead for the Devils. They've recorded a 6.2 team shooting percentage and 0.977 PDO at five-on-five through their past 10 outings.
Ottawa enters this tilt with consecutive wins, a 6-4 record on home ice and an impressive 7-3 over the past 10 contests. The Sens have also tightened up defensively with just 2.07 goals against per hour at five-on-five in November – albeit with an unsustainably high .935 team save percentage. Although the Rangers have been wildly inconsistent this season, they enter Friday's contest with an active 7-4-1 record while scoring an impressive 3.71 goals per 60 minutes during the stretch. It's definitely worth noting New York has also surrendered a healthy 3.38 goals per hour during the same timeframe, though.
Considering Anders Nilsson ($7,600) entered the year with a .907 save percentage through six seasons and with six different teams, his current .924 mark is probably going to begin to be chipped away. Potentially, starting Friday. His current form is excellent, but the Sens also still rank third last in expected goals against per hour. Buyer beware.
Even with a discouraging .899 save percentage and 2.95 GAA, MacKenzie Blackwood's ($7,000) 7-5-3 record is respectable. He's also allowed two goals or fewer in six of 14 starts, so he's been a valuable fantasy contributor at times this year. At a discounted salary, he checks out as a high-risk, high-reward candidate with Pittsburgh facing those noted obstacles.
As highlighted, Tristan Jarry ($8,200) has been solid this season, so there's potential he's a popular play. Just remember his statistics might be inflated compared to his talent and career track record. Henrik Lundqvist ($7,700) is also already confirmed for New York, and the veteran is a potential contrarian option. He's coming off an upset, 30-save win over the Capitals on Wednesday, after all.
Evgeni Malkin ($7,500) has found the scoresheet in seven of the past eight games for three tallies, nine helpers and five multi-point showings. With salaries down across the player pool, it's not difficult to fit the veteran Russian under the cap, either.
Scoring peaks and valleys are typical for rookies, and Jack Hughes ($4,100) is currently mired in a six-game slump that's resulted in just a single assist. However, he did score 4.27 points per hour through the prior eight contests, so Hughes has already showcased his upside at the highest level.
With three goals, four assists and 22 shots through his past 10 contests, Tyler Ennis ($3,700) is providing solid secondary scoring for the Sens. The veteran has been a proven contributor in the past, and his consistent role with Ottawa positions him for a bounce-back campaign. Ennis should also find a number of soft on-ice matchups given New York's noted defensive shortcomings.
While held off the scoresheet last night, Brandon Tanev ($3,000) recorded multi-point showings in each of his previous two outings and is up to a respectable five goals and six assists through 22 contests. His recent promotion to the second line aligns with the uptick in offense, and the 27-year-old winger has also shown steady improvement in his points-per-hour mark in each of the past four seasons.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
The combined cap hit for New Jersey's top line is manageable, and Nico Hischier ($4,500), Taylor Hall ($6,400) and Kyle Palmieri ($5,000) have clicked for 5.03 goals per hour over 786:58 of shared ice time the past three seasons. Pittsburgh's dealing with multiple injures, starting its backup netminder and playing the noted back-to-back set, too.
Another affordable trio, Logan Brown ($3,600), Brady Tkachuk ($6,700) and Anthony Duclair ($5,500) are skating together in all situations and have the potential to thrive against the Rangers. They've combined to generate a high-end 17.74 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes this season, after all.
Another young line creating a lot of scoring chances is New York's Brett Howden ($3,300), Kaapo Kakko ($4,600) and Brendan Lemieux ($3,500), and they're also ripe for statistical correction. Despite generating 17.21 high-danger scoring chances, they've only combined for two goals and own an unsustainably low 4.9 shooting percentage. The Rangers' third line also opens up oodles of spending room.
It's becoming harder and harder to overlook Adam Fox's ($4,300) strong play. He's racked up three tallies, six helpers, 20 shots and 12 blocks through his past 12 games to improve to a rock-solid 1.64 points per hour for the campaign. He's also slated to skate with the top power-play unit.
Sticking with the Blueshirts, Anthony DeAngelo ($5,000) has racked up an impressive six goals, nine assists, six power-play points and 38 shots through 20 contests this season. He will probably be more expensive and is not projected to skate with the No. 1 power-play unit, though.
While Marcus Pettersson ($2,600) definitely owns a low fantasy floor, he's positioned to log big minutes with both Kris Letang ($6,500) and Justin Schultz ($4,600) out of the lineup with lower-body injuries. Additionally, Pettersson's low cap hit will soften the blow if he fails to capitalize on his increased opportunity.
Slightly more expensive, John Marino ($3,000) is up to a goal, five assists, 11 shots and 16 blocks while logging 21:46 of ice time through his past eight outings. While those numbers warrant a Marino mention, his upside is slightly capped because of his lack of regular power-play time.
Sami Vatanen ($4,200) and P.K. Subban ($4,500) are both receiving power-play looks and have proven offensive track records. Vatanen is a solid addition to the highlighted New Jersey stack, whereas Subban probably offers the higher floor through his shot and block volume.