Sundayís three-game NHL slate kicks off at 5:00 PM Eastern time with the Hurricanes hosting the Devils, but the matchup with the most playoff implications is the other all-Metropolitan showdown in which the Rangers will be looking to put some distance between themselves and the Penguins. There arenít many options to choose from, so itís all the more important to make every pick count. The recommendations below will give you an excellent start towards building a winning lineup.
Henrik Lundqvist, NYR vs. PIT ($33) - Lundqvistís $33 price tag is shockingly low considering the Swedish netminder heads into Sundayís tilt with the Penguins on a personal two-game winning streak and owns a 21-5-2 record at Madison Square Garden this season. While Pittsburgh managed to hand him one of those rare home losses two weeks ago, their chances of a repeat are slim considering the Rangers have largely dominated them at home over the past two seasons. Lundqvistís combination of ability and affordability is unmatched by any other available option.
Goalie to Avoid:
Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT at NYR ($40) - Fleury is priced at $7 more than second-most expensive option Henrik Lundqvist, even though his Penguins have won just two of their last seven trips to Madison Square Garden (including playoff games). While heís been hot recently, itís tough to justify such a hefty investment in Fleury when multiple cheaper goaltenders have easier paths to victory.
Adam Henrique, NJ at CAR ($19) - Henrique has been on a scoring binge in March, as eight of his 27 goals this season have come in 12 appearances this month. Itís not like the low-scoring Devils have many other top-end options to call upon, and theyíre likely to break through at least a couple times against a Hurricanes team that has lost five of six heading into the weekend and will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set. You wonít find another player priced under $20 with a higher likelihood of putting the puck in the net.
Center to Avoid:
Elias Lindholm, CAR vs. NJ ($15) - Not only is Lindholm facing a tough matchup against New Jerseyís eighth-ranked defense, but heís also thoroughly outclassed by teammate Jordan Staal while only costing $1 less. If you insist on using a Carolina center, Staal makes much more sense, as he has nine more goals, eight more points, and a positive plus-minus that blows Lindholmís atrocious minus-18 mark out of the water.
Patrick Kane, CHI at VAN ($25) - Kane has hit a bit of a cold spell recently, but those struggles have lowered his price just in time for a date with a free-falling Canucks team that has dropped seven straight. Nobody would be surprised if Kane adds to his league-leading point total of 92 in a big way Sunday, making him a no-brainer selection as only the sixth-most expensive skater in action.
Artemi Panarin, CHI at VAN ($19) - Panarinís production has slowed down a bit with star linemate Patrick Kane no longer producing at a superhuman level over the last few games, but assists in back to back contests suggest the Russian rookie is starting to find his rhythm again. Itís only a matter of time until Kane breaks back out, and his linemates figure to benefit when he does. Take advantage of Panarinís discount in price compared to his usual going rate, as it may rise right back to normal levels by the time he gets done with Vancouverís 21st-ranked defense.
Wings to Avoid:
Carl Hagelin, PIT at NYR ($22) - Hagelinís scoring rate is very low for a forward with his price tag, and facing his former employers in New York doesnít figure to help considering the Rangers have limited the winger to an average of just 2.5 fantasy points per game in his four career meetings against them. There are a multitude of higher-skilled options from the same team and position in Hagelinís price range, and any one of them would make for a more sensible play.
Daniel Sedin, VAN vs. CHI ($19) - Much like his Canucks as a whole, Sedin has been struggling to get on the scoreboard recently. He hasnít reached double-digit fantasy points in any of his last 10 games, registering just two goals, two assists and a minus-4 rating over that span. Donít expect a sudden offensive explosion against a playoff-bound Blackhawks team considering the Canucks have been shut out in four of their last five games.
Kevin Klein, NYR vs. PIT ($19) - Kleinís tremendous two-way play has been on full display over his last six games heading into the weekend, as he has padded his strong plus-minus rating with a plus-7 mark over that span in addition to his two goals and five assists. Skepticism over the former Predatorís ability to maintain that offensive production over the long haul has left his price at a very reasonable $19, and Kleinís strong shot-blocking ability makes him a low-risk investment that could pay off big time if he stays hot.
Justin Faulk, CAR vs. NJ ($16) - Faulkís price is low because he just returned from a lower-body injury Mar. 24, making now the time to buy before his offensive prowess propels the bluelinerís price back into its proper range. With 15 goals and 34 points in 56 games heading into the weekend, Faulk has proven to have much more offensive ability than can usually be found in $16 defensemen.
Defensemen to Avoid:
Brent Seabrook, CHI at VAN ($17) - Chicagoís matchup couldnít get much better, but even that may not be enough for the fading Seabrook to reverse his fortunes. Seabrookís total of 20.0 fantasy points over the last seven games doesnít inspire much confidence in the veteranís ability to make a meaningful positive contribution Sunday.
Jaccob Slavin, CAR vs. NJ ($14) - Slavin doesnít do anything particularly well, which is why he hasnít topped 6.0 fantasy points in any of his last nine appearances. He brings almost nothing to the table offensively, and Slavinís decent shot-blocking ability figures to be neutralized by a Devils team that attempts by far the fewest shots in the NHL. This man wouldnít even be worth lineup consideration at the minimum price.
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