This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Not only is NHL Friday's schedule jammed full, there are also six afternoon games. The Flyers, Sharks and Wild are all notable home favorites, whereas Toronto, Colorado and Carolina are additional strong leans.
The RotoWire Lineup Optimizer loves Connor Hellebuyck ($7,100), and with a .930 save percentage and 2.34 GAA, the veteran is trending toward the best season of his career. The Ducks have also slowed down considerably with a 3-5-4 record and just 2.63 goals per hour in November.
Buffalo is also in a miserable slide and has scored just 2.21 goals per 60 minutes during its active 2-8-3 slump. Additionally, Toronto is 3-0 under new head coach Sheldon Keefe, and most eye-test accounts agree the Maple Leafs have looked considerably better since the coaching change. Michael Hutchinson ($7,800) has struggled this season with an 0-4 record, .879 save percentage and 4.44 GAA, but he's a sizeable road favorite with these two teams heading in opposite directions.
As the starting goalie for the largest favorite on the schedule, Carter Hart ($8,200) will probably be a popular play Friday. He's stopped 41 of 44 shots through his past two starts, and Detroit has scored just 2.19 goals per game this season. The Red Wings have also been shut out in consecutive contests.
The Kings have just two road wins with a league-low 23 goals this season, so heading to San Jose to face the scorching hot Sharks sets up as a daunting test for Los Angeles. Martin Jones ($8,300) stands to pick up his ninth win in 10 starts, but his supporting statistics aren't sharp, as he owns an underwhelming .896 save percentage through his past nine outings. His mediocre form and high price should keep his ownership in check, though.
While a win might be hard to come by, Darcy Kuemper's ($7,300) salary and strong play should have your attention. He's sporting a .923 save percentage and 2.37 GAA through 82 starts as a Coyote, and Arizona is surrendering a league-low 1.7 goals per hour on the road this season. It might not be the toughest matchup, either. Vegas is just 6-5-3 at home this season.
Through his past 12 games, Evgeni Malkin ($7,500) has recorded five goals, 13 assists and 50 shots during the stretch, but his salary still isn't phobitive. The Russian is probably more of a contrarian lean Friday, though. Columbus has surrendered just 1.94 expected goals per hour this season – fourth fewest in the league.
After recording consecutive 91-point seasons, Blake Wheeler ($5,400) had recorded just 12 points through his first 23 games of the campaign this year. The veteran has now rattled off consecutive multi-point games and appears to be kick-starting an offensive heater. This isn't a daunting matchup, either. The Ducks have surrendered 3.9 goals per game through their past 10 outings.
At minimum price and skating on the No. 1 line, Alexandre Texier ($2,500) warrants mention. The 20-year-old rookie has been limited to just three goals and an assist through 20 games to start the campaign, so there's a reason he's so cheap. But Pittsburgh has also surrendered 37 goals through 12 games in November.
With two tallies, three helpers and eight shots through his past four games, Ondrej Palat ($5,100) is taking advantage of his top-line gig. He's clicked with long-time linemate Nikita Kucherov ($7,300) for 6.66 goals per 60 minutes during the four-game stretch, too.
Andrei Svechnikov ($6,500) has recorded double-digit DraftKings points in eight of his past nine outings and collected five tallies, eight assists, 24 shots and marked the scoresheet in each game during the stretch. Nashville has surrendered 38 goals through its past nine contests, too.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
As noted, Toronto's coaching change has helped the team tremendously, and the top line has been dominant through three games with 4.64 goals and 24.76 high-danger scoring chances per hour at five-on-five while also dominating possession with a 60.7 Corsi For percentage. As noted, the Sabres are in a major funk, and they're missing their top defenseman. Look for Auston Matthews ($8,300), William Nylander ($6,000) and Andreas Johnsson ($4,700) to stay hot Friday.
With Detroit allowing the most goals per game in the league this season, including 26 through its past six contests, look for Philly to have a strong showing. Sean Couturier ($5,900), Jakub Voracek ($5,200) and Oskar Lindblom ($4,900) have clicked for a respectable 3.5 goals and a 58.7 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five, and they all skate on the same power-play unit.
Quietly, Minnesota's third line have clicked for an impressive 4.52 goals and 14.12 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes while driving possession with a 52.3 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five this season. Joel Eriksson Ek ($3,300), Jordan Greenway ($2,900) and Luke Kunin ($3,300) are also affordable, and Ottawa has surrendered the fifth most expected goals per hour in the league this season.
The Avalanche are expected to announce their lines ahead of Friday's game, so checking in on Nathan MacKinnon's ($8,500) wingers is encouraged. Look for a Joonas Donskoi ($5,800) to likely stick on one side with J.T. Compher ($3,900) another candidate for the other. Chicago has surrendered more expected goals per 60 minutes than any other team in play, so MacKinnon and his linemates are positioned to have a solid showing.
Another Flyer to consider against Detroit is Ivan Provorov ($5,200). The Red Wings have the worst penalty-kill percentage (72.6) in the league, and the Russian defenseman has collected a respectable two tallites, two helpers, 10 shots and 16 blocks through his past six contests.
This is a low salary for Ryan Suter ($4,000). He's marked the scoresheet in four of his past five contests for a goal, six assists and 10 blocks while logging a hefty 26:26 of ice time with 3:54 on the power play. As noted, the Sens' underlying statistics suggest they could be vulnerable, too.
Mired in a two-game point drought, look for Victor Hedman ($6,600) to have a bounce-back showing against Washington. The blueliner ranks fifth in points per hour among all regular defensemen over the past three seasons and has scored at a point-per-game pace this year, after all.
With the noted struggles of the Preds, and their 30th-ranked, penalty-kill percentage, Dougie Hamilton ($6,900) stands out as a high-floor, high-ceiling target. His elite 2.67 points per hour this season rank fourth among all regular defensemen, and he's recorded a rock-solid four tallies, nine helpers, 52 shots and 18 blocks through 13 November games.
A third high-scoring defenseman to keep in mind is Cale Makar ($6,800). He's gone pointless through his past two contests, but the mini slump was preceded by an eight-game stretch consisting of six goals and eight assists. Chicago has been serving up high-danger chances in bunches, as noted, too.
At this price, Neal Pionk ($3,800) is a worth a flier as the power-play quarterback on Winnipeg's top unit. Ananheim owns a 23rd-ranked 76.7 penalty-kill percentage, and Pionk collected an assist with the man advantage last time out.