This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Friday's NHL main slate begins at the unusual time of 6:00 p.m. EDT and consists of four games. Below, you'll find a breakdown of the action and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
The Golden Knights and Maple Leafs will host Oilers and Sharks teams, respectively, that are playing their second games in as many nights. Additionally, the Bruins will visit the Sabres, and the Kings will head to Dallas. Toronto is Friday's biggest favorite in a game that's also tied for the highest over/under at 6.0 goals. Edmonton-Vegas also has an over/under of 6.0 goals, but given Vegas' early struggles and the Sharks' surprisingly stout defense to date, many lineups will likely be built around the Bruins, who are the night's second-heaviest favorites in a game with an over/under of 5.5 goals. Kings-Stars is also expected to be a tight-checking affair, with an over/under of 5.5 goals. Vegas and Dallas are both favored in their respective contests, as well.
Linus Ullmark, BOS at BUF ($8,100): Ullmark will be making his Bruins debut against a Sabres team with which he's made all 117 of his NHL appearances to date. The Swede posted a respectable 2.78 GAA and .912 save percentage in his time with Buffalo despite playing on some truly terrible teams, so Ullmark's numbers should look significantly better this year behind the stout Boston defense, and there's no better way for him to exorcise the demons from his Sabres days than to kick off his Bruins tenure with a win in Buffalo.
Braden Holtby, DAL vs. LA ($8,000): Whether it's Holtby or Anton Khudobin ($8,000), Dallas will be trotting out a competent veteran netminder playing behind a sturdy defense against a Kings team that's getting almost no secondary scoring. A hot start from Los Angeles' top two players has papered over the team's all-around offensive deficiencies early, yet the Kings are still 1-2-0 this year and had a bottom-five offense in each of the previous three seasons. Meanwhile, Holtby boasts an excellent 1.75 GAA and .947 save percentage three games into his Stars tenure.
Adin Hill, SJ at TOR ($7,000): It's a tiny sample, but Hill has thrived as the starter in San Jose after being acquired from Arizona in the offseason, going 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .932 save percentage. Going against a Toronto team that's mustered just eight goals through four games, Hill's the obvious choice if you're looking for an upside bargain play, though his high ceiling's accompanied by a low floor.
Connor McDavid, EDM at VGK ($9,200): Even playing his second game in as many nights and priced well above the top goalies, let alone other skaters, McDavid deserves consideration. He's the early league leader in both goals (six) and points (11), needing just four games to post those totals, and it wouldn't be surprising if he continued to occupy those top spots all season. For comparison's sake, Auston Matthews ($8,500) had eight shots in his season debut Monday, but he's yet to mark the scoresheet for Toronto and is taking on a Sharks team that's been the stingiest in the league against centers. An extra $700 for McDavid doesn't seem so bad in that context.
Anze Kopitar, LA at DAL ($7,900): The Kings have scored nine goals through three games, and Kopitar's had a hand in eight of them, with a 5-3-8 line. Given his hot start and the lack of production from most of his teammates, the top-line center should be the first player you target from Los Angeles. Kopitar's well on his way to leading the Kings in points for a fifth consecutive season.
Taylor Hall, BOS at BUF ($5,300): Hall lit the lamp Wednesday against the Flyers, giving him a 9-6-15 line in 18 games for the Bruins. After a couple of down years, the low point of which came prior to the trade deadline last season in Buffalo, Hall's motivated again on a contender and is looking more like the elite winger who carried the Devils to the playoffs on his back with a 39-54-93 line in 2017-18. He'll be motivated to once again show the Sabres just what they're missing out on, having already produced a 2-4-6 line in his last four meetings with Buffalo down the stretch last season.
Tage Thompson, BUF vs. BOS ($4,300): Thompson's quietly turning into an effective power forward for a Buffalo team that's off to a 3-0-0 start. The Sabres' success in the standings may not last, but the 6-foot-7, 218-pound winger should continue to make life difficult on opposing goalies as a net-front presence, both on the power play and at even strength. He has also proven adept at putting pucks on net, as Thompson already has two goals on 12 shots.
Michael Bunting, TOR vs. SJ ($4,100): Both teams in the Sharks-Maple Leafs game have a player who's flourishing now that he's gotten out of Arizona. Hill's doing so in the Sharks' net, while Bunting remains affordable despite thriving on Toronto's second line. The Toronto area native has notched a point in three of Toronto's first four games – two goals and an assist – and Bunting has 14 shots over his last three games. He's showing no signs of slowing down, so it's only a matter of time before Bunting's valuation starts to climb.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Bruins at Sabres
The Perfection line just keeps rolling along, at least when it comes to the wingers. Marchand has already managed to light the lamp three times just two games into the season. Pastrnak's still looking for his first goal, but he's dished a helper in each game to go with nine shots, and it's only a matter of time until the 2019-20 co-Rocket Richard Trophy winner (48 goals) starts to get rewarded for his frequent quality chances. Bergeron's still without a point, but he'll have a nice opportunity to get out of first gear against a Sabres team that brought up the rear in the standings last year.
Golden Knights vs. Oilers
With Mike Smith (leg) on IR, the Oilers will have to roll out backup Mikko Koskinen for the second time in as many nights. Koskinen's 3.17 GAA and .899 save percentage last season suggest this will be a favorable matchup for the only quality scoring line left for the injury-riddled Golden Knights. Karlsson scored the team's only goal in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Blues and also tied with Marchessault for the team lead among forwards with four shots, while Smith assisted on Karlsson's tally.
Stars vs. Kings
Few would have predicted that Faksa and Raffl would be the Stars' top two scorers four games into the season, but here we are. Faksa holds sole possession of the team points lead with a 1-3-4 line, while Raffl and defenseman Miro Heiskanen are tied for second with three apiece, and Raffl's the only player on the team to score multiple goals thus far. Pavelski would have been a much more conventional choice to lead the team in scoring at this point considering his 26-25-51 line in 56 games topped Dallas in both goals and points last season, and maybe skating on a line with the team's two hottest forwards will get the veteran going.
Drew Doughty, LA at DAL ($5,900): With a 1-6-7 line, Doughty actually trails his teammate Kopitar by just one point, while no other Kings player has mustered more than three points. Doughty's coming off a bounce-back offensive campaign that saw him post an 8-26-34 line in 56 games (a 50-point, full-season pace), and he's well on his way to challenging for the 50-point mark for the fourth time in his career.
Rasmus Dahlin, BUF vs. BOS ($4,500): Dahlin's coming off a down year, but it's easy to forget the 2018 first overall pick already has a pair of 40-point seasons under his belt. The 21-year-old Swede has bounced back with two helpers through three games this year, and his turnaround has played a key part in Buffalo's surprisingly strong start. At $4,500, Dahlin offers more reward than risk here.
Erik Karlsson, SJ at TOR ($4,100): Perhaps Karlsson still has something left in the tank. He has accrued a 1-4-5 line during his season-opening three-game point streak, with four of those points coming on the power play. Still only 31 years old, the former point-per-game scorer is a bargain at $4,100 if he can even get two-thirds of the way back to what he used to be.
Evan Bouchard, EDM at VGK ($3,600): Get ready for Bouchard's valuation to make a massive jump up after his production over the past two games: one goal, two assists, 10 blocks, seven shots. This could be your last opportunity, maybe ever, to grab the 2018 first-round pick at a sub-$4,000 valuation, so you may as well take advantage while you still can.