This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
There are six games in the NHL on Friday. The Blues, Blackhawks and Maple Leafs are the three largest favorites on the schedule and all three are on the road. Western Conference showdowns between Vegas and Winnipeg, and Colorado and Vancouver project to be the closest games, whereas Calgary is a home favorite over the Coyotes. Chicago and Toronto are the only teams playing for the second consecutive night.
While Jordan Binnington ($8,400) has been much sharper at home this season, his current run justifies his hefty salary Friday. He's rolled off six consecutive wins and allowed just nine goals during the stretch, which is all the more impressive considering five of them were in a single game. New Jersey has also only scored 2.18 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five – seventh fewest in the league – since Taylor Hall ($6,900) was dealt.
Jack Campbell ($8,000) allowed four goals last time out, but he's still won three of his five starts with the Maple Leafs and lands in a favorable matchup Friday. Anaheim has scored just 2.24 goals at five-on-five this season, and the Ducks own an underwhelming 5-6-3 active record. It's also worth noting the Maple Leafs can take a seven-point lead over Florida in the Atlantic Division, and while motivation is tough to quantify, Toronto is coming off a tidy defensive showing during Thursday's 1-0 shootout loss to Los Angeles.
Those looking for an against-the-grain candidate can consider Connor Hellebuyck ($7,800). Vegas has won nine of its past 10 games while scoring 3.66 goals per 60 minutes, so the matchup is daunting. However, Hellebuyck ranks third in the league in goals saved above average, and he's been impressive on home ice with a .922 save percentage and 2.53 GAA.
A game removed from a six-game winning streak, Pavel Francouz's ($7,700) salary stands out as a discount with the Canucks reeling. Vancouver is 4-8-2 with an underwhelming 2.46 goals per hour at five-on-five since early February, after all. For the year, the rookie netminder boasts a high-end 19-5-4 record, .927 save percentage and 2.30 GAA.
Nathan MacKinnon ($8,700) recorded double-digit DraftKings points for the 13th time in his past 14 games, and he sports an elite 3.74 points per hour for the campaign. His high-floor, high-ceiling profile and consistency warrant a look out of Friday's medium-sized player pool. Additionally, as noted, Vancouver has lost four straight and allowed 18 goals in the process.
Even with 15 points – three goals – through his past 13 games, there's likely still positive regression ahead of Johnny Gaudreau's ($6,300) 6.0 shooting percentage during the stretch. He's locked into a top offensive role, and his salary doesn't break the bank. He's also recorded a rock-solid 3.44 points per hour through 112 home games over the past three years. Still, with Arizona's defensive prowess (third lowest goals against per 60 minutes in the league), the American winger is more of a contrarian lean.
You'll have to double-check the the Avalanche line combinations before locking Vladislav Namestnikov ($3,900) in, but if he remains in a top-line role, the recently acquired Av stands out at his price. The Russian has cashed in on his cushy fantasy setup in consecutive games and should continue to have opportunities skating with Nathan MacKinnon ($8,700) and Gabriel Landeskog ($6,400).
With the Maple Leafs playing the second leg of a back-to-back set and their third road game in four nights, there's potential for Anaheim's offense to take advantage of Toronto's inconsistent team defense. Sonny Milano ($3,900) has settled into a top offensive role since joining the Ducks, and he's collected two goals and two assists through five games.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
St. Louis has loaded up its No. 1 line with Ryan O'Reilly ($4,900), Brayden Schenn ($4,900) and Jaden Schwartz ($4,800), and the trio have combined for eight tallies and 14 helpers through their past six games to improve to an elite 7.84 goals per 60 minutes for the campaign. They've also driven possession with a dominant 58.3 Corsi For percentage at even strength. The Devils have also surrendered the fifth most expected goals per hour in the league since Jan. 1, so the matchup checks out, too.
This could prove to be a soft schedule spot for Detroit with Chicago travelling for the second leg of a back-to-back set and third game in four nights. As a result, Detroit's No. 1 line could provide contrarian value. The Blackhawks have allowed the second most expected goals per 60 minutes since Jan. 1, and Dylan Larkin ($6,700), Anthony Mantha ($6,200) and Tyler Bertuzzi ($4,300) have clicked for a rock-solid 4.95 goals per hour dating back to last year.
On the flip side of this matchup, Chicago's new-look line of Dylan Strome ($4,000), Patrick Kane ($7,700) and Alexander Nylander ($2,900) have been hot of late with five tallies and five helpers through the past two games to improve to 5.17 goals per hour for the campaign. Obviously, with Detroit allowing the most goals per game in the league, the matchup is also soft. As noted, Chicago is playing its second game in as many nights.
Anaheim has surrendered the seventh most goals per hour this season and own a 25th-ranked, 77.0 penalty-kill percentage, so Toronto should have opportunities to score Friday. The No. 1 power-play unit consists of Austin Matthews ($8,400), Mitch Marner ($7,200), John Tavares ($6,500) and William Nylander ($5,900), and there's also the option of adding Zach Hyman ($5,500) to a Matthews-Marner stack, or fitting Pierre Engvall ($2,500) in with Tavares and Nylander.
The Devils have been shorthanded the ninth most times in the league this season, and Alex Pietrangelo ($5,700) hasn't recorded a power-play point in 15 straight games. His 1.85 points per hour are a career-high mark, and he's also recorded an impressive 21 points with the man advantage. Look for the pendulum to swing back in his direction Friday. Plus, he's a well-rounded contributor with 207 shots and 86 blocks through 66 games this year.
The RotoWire Lineup Optimizer is bullish on Tyson Barrie ($5,600), and with three multi-assist showings through his past six games, he's an upside addition to a Toronto stack. Barrie quarterbacks the No. 1 power-play unit, and he draws the noted favorable matchup.
While Filip Hronek ($5,000) has cooled off considerably with just four assists through 17 games dating back to mid-January, this could be a favorable spot for him to snap out of his offensive funk. He's still logging big minutes (24:25 per game with 2:49 on the power play during the noted stretch), and as noted, it should be a favorable matchup for Detroit. Additionally, at this price, there's a good chance Hronek is also low owned.
Quinn Hughes ($4,900) collected a power-play assist last time out to improve to 18 points – three goals – through his past 16 games, and his ice time has climbed to 22:20, including 3:22 with the man advantage.. So, even with Colorado allowing the fifth fewest goals per hour in the league, Hughes stands out at this price. He ranks fifth in the league in points per hour among regular defensemen, too.