This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Thursday's NHL slate features nine games after 7:00 p.m. EST. Below, you'll find a breakdown of the action and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
The Golden Knights are Thursday's most overwhelming favorites on home ice against the last-place Canadiens, with the Penguins right behind them at home against Ottawa. The Stars (in Buffalo) and Avalanche (in Los Angeles) are both clear road favorites, while Panthers-Oilers (over/under: 6.5 goals) is projected to be the night's highest-scoring game, pitting Florida's red-hot offense against Edmonton's star power. With plenty of favorable situations for goal scoring Thursday, identifying the right teams to build around offensively will be key to finding success.
Robin Lehner, VGK vs. MON ($8,500): Lehner's 0-2-1 in his last three starts following a five-game winning streak, but a visit from the Canadiens should help him get back on track. Montreal has scored a league-low 2.16 goals per game en route to a league-worst 8-25-5 record. The favorable matchup makes Lehner the chalk goalie play despite his hefty valuation.
Jake Oettinger, DAL at BUF ($8,200): There's a decent chance Braden Holtby ($8,200) will get the start here with Oettinger having been pulled from each of his last two outings, but either Dallas netminder would make an appealing option against a Sabres team that's mustering just 2.54 goals per game. If it's Oettinger, he would have a nice opportunity to bust out of his mini-slump and get back to the strong play that's led to his 9-4-0 record this season. Holtby has the better underlying numbers, with a 2.53 GAA and .920 save percentage compared to Oettinger's 2.73 and .905 marks.
Elvis Merzlikins, CLS at PHI ($7,600): Merzlikins has displayed a low floor and high ceiling on a game-to-game basis this season, but he's likely to play closer to the latter than the former against a Flyers team that has lost nine consecutive games. Philadelphia's offense has slipped into the bottom five league-wide, making the mercurial Merzlikins an appealing upside play at $7,600.
Connor Hellebuyck, WPG at NSH ($7,400): Nashville's slide isn't nearly as extreme as Philadelphia's, but the Predators are 0-3-1 in their last four games and have been outscored 16-8 in that stretch. Hellebuyck can beat anybody when he's on, and his results over the past 10 games perfectly encapsulate his inconsistencies behind a sometimes shoddy Jets defense, as he's allowed four-plus goals five times but also logged two shutouts. If you can stomach Hellebuyck's downside, he's an appealing value pick against the struggling Predators.
Nazem Kadri, COL at LA ($7,400): After posting his latest dominant performance with a goal and an assist in Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Ducks, Kadri boosted his team-leading point total to 51 through 36 games. Leading the high-powered Avalanche in points is no small feat, and Kadri should have little trouble adding to his 15-36-51 line against a Kings team that has allowed six goals in each of its last two games.
Timo Meier, SJ at SEA ($7,100): The Kraken give up 3.61 goals per game, and Meier's primed to capitalize on Seattle's inability to keep the puck out of its net. The power forward is coming off the strongest performance of his breakout season, as Meier lit the lamp five times to bring his season line to 20-25-45 through 35 games. He's also an elite source of shots, ranking fifth in the league with 146.
Evgeni Malkin, PIT vs. OTT ($6,500): After mustering a 2-2-4 line through his first four appearances of the season, Malkin is set to make his home-ice season debut in a juicy matchup against an Ottawa team that gives up 3.59 goals per game. If knee surgery and age haven't slowed down the future Hall of Famer, Malkin will likely see his valuation climb from its current $6,500 before long, as he has 1,108 points in 944 career games. Whether you stack him with Pittsburgh's top line or use him as a standalone option, Malkin is a strong choice here.
Travis Konecny, PHI vs. CLS ($4,000): Despite their nine-game losing streak, the Flyers are actually favored in this one against a Columbus team that's 6-12-0 on the road. The Blue Jackets have struggled to keep the puck out of their net — allowing 3.61 goals per game — and Konecny's poised to add to those struggles. He has goals in each of the past two games and points in three straight, so Philadelphia's leading scorer from the 2019-20 season is heating up.
Kailer Yamamoto, EDM vs. FLA ($2,600): The Oilers will need to score a bunch to keep pace with the Panthers, and Yamamoto should help provide some offense at an affordable valuation. He has thrived on Connor McDavid's wing recently, notching a 3-4-7 line in his last seven games. As long as Yamamoto's flanking the best player in the world, he'll be an appealing bargain option.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Golden Knights vs. Canadiens
Vegas' top line offers excellent value here against a Canadiens team that's scoring the fewest goals in the league and also allowing the most (3.66) per game. Stephenson and Stone have been terrific together all season, with the former producing an 11-26-37 line in 39 games and the latter adding a 7-19-26 line in just 23 games. Dadonov has fit in nicely in the spot formerly occupied by Max Pacioretty (wrist), producing a 2-4-6 line through six games since the calendar flipped to 2022.
Penguins vs. Senators
All three members of Pittsburgh's top line have been terrific on a per-game basis. Guentzel leads the team in both goals and points with a 20-18-38 line in 32 games, while Crosby's on a point-per-game pace in 26 and Rust boasts a 9-11-20 line in just 16 appearances. This trio's excellent chemistry should be on full display against the bottom-five Ottawa defense.
Panthers at Oilers
The Flames managed to cool down Florida's offense Tuesday, but the Panthers have still mustered 55 goals in their last 10 games, while the Oilers have been outscored 27-16 during their ongoing six-game losing streak. There's no shortage of options to choose from in the deep Panthers attack, but this line has delivered the best combination of short-term and long-term results. Bennett potted the team's lone goal Tuesday, giving him seven goals in the last five games. He has pulled into a tie for the team goals lead with Duclair at 16 apiece, and the latter has added 14 assists, putting Duclair one point shy of his games played total with 30 in 31. Huberdeau easily leads the Panthers in points with a 15-38-53 line, which puts him just two points shy of Alex Ovechkin's league-leading total.
Roman Josi, NSH vs. WPG ($8,000): Given Winnipeg's struggles when down a man and Josi's prowess on the man advantage, the star defenseman should be worth paying up for. Josi ranks third among all skaters with 20 power-play points, as well as second among defensemen in goals and third in points with 13 and 40, respectively. Meanwhile, the Jets rank 31st on the penalty kill at 71.7 percent.
Shea Theodore, VGK vs. MON ($5,900): Theodore has delivered an elite mix of scoring and secondary stats over the past nine games. In addition to his 3-5-8 line over that stretch, the talented blueliner has added 35 shots and 10 blocks, with four-plus shots in seven of those nine contests. Another dominant performance is likely on the way against the lowly Canadiens.
Esa Lindell, DAL at BUF ($4,400): Lindell had a three-game point streak snapped in his last game, but he continues to contribute well-rounded stat lines, with multiple shots in three consecutive games and multiple blocked shots in four of six, including a six-block performance. He's a high-floor option against the Sabres at his middling $4,400 valuation.
Justin Schultz, WAS at BOS ($2,600): With Dmitry Orlov (suspension) joining John Carlson (COVID-19 protocols) among absent Capitals defensemen, Schultz is slated to take on a larger role that includes first-unit power-play responsibilities. Even with just Carlson sidelined, Schultz had already stepped up his production, notching a helper in each of the past two games along with five shots and four blocks over those two contests. He's a steal at just $2,600.