This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
There are three games in the NHL on Friday. Carolina is the largest favorite on the docket and face a potentially vulnerable Arizona squad. The Coyotes are playing the second leg of a back-to-back set and third road game in four nights, after all. While the tilt between Pittsburgh and Colorado lacks some intrigue with Sidney Crosby still sidelined, it's still the marquee matchup of the evening. Detroit and Ottawa are in the league's basement, and there's potential for this to be a high-scoring affair with the clubs ranking 31st and 30th in goals against per game, respectively.
The Avalanche are home favorites, but it's a tough matchup against the Penguins, so Philipp Grubauer ($8,000) is a risky start at his salary. He owns a discouraging 6-5-1 record and .901 save percentage at the Pepsi Center, and Pittsburgh ranks second in the league in goals per hour at five-on-five on the road. Still, with limited options, sometimes your hand is slightly forced.
Similarly, at best, Petr Mrazek ($8,100) has been mediocre over his past eight starts with a 3-4-1 record, .894 save percentage and 3.08 GAA. However, he is in a potentially favorable schedule spot, and Arizona has scored just 2.02 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five on the road this season.
To round out the goalie landscape, it's tough to turn to the Arizona starter in a back-to-back set as an underdog, and especially knowing Antti Raanta ($7,100) didn't even dress Thursday. Tristan Jarry ($7,300) is a candidate to reward if Pittsburgh upsets Colorado, and he's cheap considering his 14-6-1 record, .934 save percentage and 2.04 GAA for the campaign. It's also hard to trust Jonathan Bernier ($7,800) and Marcus Hogberg ($7,400) since they backstop the two teams allowing the most goals per game in the league.
Evgeni Malkin ($7,500) has marked the scoresheet in eight of the past 10 games for four tallies and nine helpers, and he's now up to a high-end 4.12 points per 60 minutes for the campaign. It could also prove to be a favorable road matchup against Colorado, as the Avs have allowed 35 goals through their past 10 home games. No. 71 could also offer contrarian value.
Another high-priced pivot to consider is Sebastian Aho ($6,100). The Finn's recorded a 24th-ranked 3.33 points per hour, which goes to the tune of 20 goals, 13 assists and 89 shots through 31 games. As highlighted, it could prove to be a plus-matchup against the Coyotes, too.
Phil Kessel ($5,100) had a four-game point streak snapped Thursday in Tampa Bay, and overall, it's been a down campaign for the consistent scorer. His 8.7 shooting percentage is well below the 11.9 mark he posted over the previous three seasons, and the Hurricanes have been playing high-event hockey with 6.9 goals per game through their past 14 contests.
Dating back to early Dec., Ottawa has allowed 3.96 goals per 60 minutes through 14 games, so Detroit's skill players are in play Friday. Filip Zadina ($4,300) has scored in consecutive games and now locked in on the No. 1 power-play unit. He's an elite shooter with 11 points – five goals – through 19 games for the campaign and doesn't break the bank.
Still tied for the AHL lead in points, Drake Batherson ($3,000) has picked up a power-play assist and been on the ice for 10 high-danger scoring chances through two games since being promoted to the highest level last Saturday. The Red Wings check out as a favorable matchup with the most goals allowed per game (3.8) in the league.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
While it's a daunting statistical matchup against the Penguins, the Avalanche's top-six forwards are still in play out of the shallow player pool. Just know, Pittsburgh has allowed the second fewest goals per hour in the league since Dec. 1. Still, Colorado has loaded up its No. 1 line again with Nathan MacKinnon ($8,500), Mikko Rantanen ($6,400) and Gabriel Landeskog ($6,200), and they've clicked for an elite 5.27 goals over 1491:52 of shared ice time over the past two years. Nazem Kadri ($4,400), Andre Burakovsky ($3,900) and Valeri Nichushkin ($2,500) check out as a cheap line with upside, too.
With the Coyotes in the noted potentially soft schedule spot, the Jordan Staal ($3,800), Andrei Scvechnikov ($5,800) and Warren Foegele ($3,500) combo are definitely in play as a cost-effective, secondary stack. The trio have generated a dominant 18.45 high-danger scoring chances per hour with a 61.5 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five this season.
Detroit's top line also draws the noted soft matchup against Ottawa. Dylan Larkin ($6,500), Tyler Bertuzzi ($6,100) and Robby Fabbri ($5,400) have clicked for 4.84 goals per hour this season, and the Sens have allowed at least three goals in 11 of their past 12 games.
In a shallow player pool, spending up on the blue line can be an avenue to differentiating your lineups, and Dougie Hamilton ($7,100) has four goals, seven assists, 51 shots and three multi-point showings through his past 13 outings. In the midst of a breakout campaign, Hamilton averaging a career-high 23:31 of ice time per game, including 3:13 with the man advantage.
After registering a single goal through seven games, Kris Letang ($6,100) broke out with two assists Tuesday against Las Vegas.The veteran is logging 25:31 of ice time per game (3:31 with the man advantage) and probably has statistical correction ahead of his 3.98 points per hour on the power play considering he posted a 5.21 mark over the previous three years.
A two-game point drought has Cale Makar's ($5,500) salary down in profit territory, as the rookie still boast and elite 2.59 points per hour for the campaign. It's a tough matchup for the Avs, but Makar's role on the No. 1 power-play unit is a huge value boost as an addition to a Colorado stack with the top line.
Filip Hronek ($4,700) has recorded double-digit DraftKings points in consecutive outings and has a respectable two tallies, seven helpers, 23 shots and 18 blocks while logging hefty minutes (24:45 with 3:09 on the power play) through the past 12 games. Ottawa is obviously a favorable matchup, and Hronek's salary is manageable.
Cheap options include Jake Gardiner ($3,300), Mike Reilly ($3,000) and Juuso Riikola ($2,500). All three are receiving power-play time and own offensive upside. Gardiner has three points and eight shots through his past three games. Reilly has collected six shots and three blocks through his first two outings with the Sens, and Riikola is minimum priced despite recording five points through his past nine contests.