This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
It's a busy Thursday slate with 10 games, including a return by the Avalanche as they visit the Blues (8 p.m. EDT) following multiple postpones due to positive COVID tests. It's the Avs' first game in over a week, who have fallen to second place in the West Division and just witnessed the Golden Knights clinch a playoff spot Wednesday night.
Other key games include a Central Division showdown between the Hurricanes and Panthers (7 p.m.) and battle between the two top North Division teams in the Maple Leafs and Jets (7 p.m.) With so many games on the docket, DFS managers have plenty to choose from after a thin Wednesday slate that didn't have a lot of surprises.
Jeremy Swayman, BOS at BUF ($8,000): He's 4-1 this season with the only blemish coming against the Flyers in a road game. The Sabres are playing better but couldn't generate a single goal (thanks to Tuukka Rask's incredible diving save on Dylan Cozens) last game. The Bruins and their new-look second line have provided a lot of goal support.
Igor Shesterkin, NYR vs. PHI ($8,000): The good news is that the Flyers' goaltending can implode at any moment, so Shesterkin doesn't have to be lights-out to get the win. He didn't look good at all in his last start with six goals allowed, but he has fared quite well with a .925 Sv% against the Flyers this season facing a barrage of shots. Just be wary of his goals against; he's averaging three goals allowed against the Flyers and that will totally negate any fantasy points gained from a win.
Connor Hellebuyck, WPG vs. TOR ($7,800): The Leafs offense can be intimidating, but Hellebuyck has at least limited them to six goals in their past three games. It's a tough play but a pretty decent value play for one of the league's best goalies, and the Leafs' goaltending is all of a sudden sinking the team after pushing them to a big lead at the top of the division earlier in April.
Anton Khudobin, DAL at DET ($7,700): This will probably be a very popular pick with the Stars having already won twice in their four-game set against the Wings. Wins have been a little difficult to come by for Khudobin, but he hasn't lost a game in regulation since March 23. Thanks to a very good top line, the Stars are also providing good goal support after struggling to score earlier in the season.
Jordan Binnington, STL vs. COL ($7,300): This is a sneaky play for a goalie who (for the most part) has turned it around with a .930 Sv% in April. The Avs are a fearsome opponent, but they will be missing their starting goalie and top winger Mikko Rantanen. The Blues have lost four straight against the Avs, but the three most recent losses were just one-goal games. The margin should be closer than expected.
Braden Holtby, VAN vs. OTT ($7,300): Holtby played out of his mind and stole two games from the Leafs, and the Canucks are undefeated in five games against the Sens, though the two most recent wins came via extra time. Thatcher Demko will also be a strong play after serving as the backup last game as the Canucks ride a wave of positive momentum following a lengthy COVID break. Teams coming out of the break tend to do well in the beginning but fade as adrenaline wades and fatigue sets in.
Josh Norris, OTT at VAN ($4,300): Norris' point streak has reached five games and he's a good play as the No. 1 center facing a team that may or may not hit a wall soon after coming back from a COVID break. Nearly half of his points have come on the power play, and the Canucks have the third-worst penalty differential in the league at minus-22.
Andre Burakovsky, COL at STL ($4,000): With Rantanen unavailable, Burakovsky is a likely candidate to step on to the top line. There's no question he gets a big fantasy boost playing alongside Nathan MacKinnon.
Nils Hoglander, VAN vs. OTT ($3,800): That's not two straight games with a goal for Hoglander, some thanks to the Leafs' atrocious goaltending. He's been a natural fit on Bo Horvat's wing, which has served as their top line with Elias Pettersson unavailable.
Wade Allison, PHI at NYR ($3,000): It's about opportunity for Allison, who is expected to skate on a line with Kevin Hayes and Joel Farabee. Allison can be a good net-front presence and his both on the second line and the top power play unit gives him a lot of value.
Rangers vs. Flyers
Again, thank goodness for Blackwell for keeping the cost of this line stack low. Take away Mika Zibanejad's two anomalous six-point games and he's scored just three points in five games; meanwhile, Panarin has scored seven in five and Strome has six in five (taking away his four-point game).
Bruins at Sabres
The Sabres have actually done a very good job of keeping the B's top line off the scoresheet, so once again we're sticking with Smith and Krejci, who have scored a combined nine points in four games, and Hall's revenge tour.
Devils at Penguins
They combined for four points and it's a good matchup for the Devils offense because the Pens have had trouble keeping them off the board all season. It's a cheap line stack but certainly not low in quality despite having two wingers most people have never heard of before the season. Hughes has been excellent all season and over the past three games has scored three points with 15 (!) shots on goal.
Stars at Red Wings
Dickinson is a downgrade from Roope Hintz, but Pavelski (four goals in five games) and Robertson (five-game point streak) have been so good they managed to get him two assists last game. If Hintz plays, this is an even better line stack, but for now, Dickinson will do against a team that has allowed 12 goals in their past three games.
Dougie Hamilton, CAR at FLA ($6,600): Hamilton's assist streak has reached four games and the Hurricanes have fared very well against the Panthers this season, winning five straight after losing their first game of the season in overtime. There's no lack of options Thursday, but Hamilton's been one of the most consistent point producers this season.
Cale Makar, COL at STL ($5,700): Prior to the break, Makar scored four assists in three games and gets a good matchup against the Blues, who have had problems with their goaltending all season. Even without Rantanen, the Avs offense should be able to generate quite a bit of offense. Though he doesn't generate a ton of shots himself, Makar's ability to create and move around the ice makes him an elite playmaker, which will be handy against the Blues' 27th-ranked PK.
Quinn Hughes, VAN vs. OTT ($5,400): Hughes scored three points in just his second game back after getting COVID. The diminutive defenseman is one of the best skating defensemen in the league, and his offensive upside is no less than Hamilton or Makar's on most nights. He's scored 31 points in 39 games and remains the Canucks' top PP QB.
Zac Jones, NYR vs. PHI ($3,500): If Jacob Trouba cannot play, look for Jones to make his NHL debut. His minutes will be limited, of course, but the UMass-Amherst standout has some offensive ability – he scored nine goals in the NCAA this season – and will likely see action on PP2. Considering the state of the Flyers' defense and goaltending, Jones is an intriguing and sneaky play.