Friday's NHL slate consists of two games, making it just large enough to run DFS contests. Once the puck drops at 7:00 PM Eastern time, certain players are primed to stand out in either positive or negative ways. Read on to find out which guys to target and whom to avoid.
Henrik Lundqvist, NYR at CLS ($28): Lundqvist succumbed to a third-period scoring outburst Wednesday in Chicago, but his six-game winning streak prior to that outing suggests the veteran netminder should bounce back against a middling Blue Jackets offense. The notoriously slow starter has picked up his level while simultaneously getting plenty of support from an offense that's averaging 3.32 goals per game. At just $28, Lundqvist is a solid value play with all other No.1 options priced at least $4 higher.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Robin Lehner, BUF at DET ($33): Regardless of whether Lehner or Chad Johnson ($24) starts this first leg of a back-to-back, the Buffalo net in general should be avoided against a Red Wings team that's coming off a season-high eight-goal output Wednesday against Calgary. It's a travesty that Lehner is priced higher than all the possible alternatives in net given his lackluster 3.10 GAA and .903 save percentage.
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Dylan Larkin, DET vs. BUF ($17): Larkin has been on fire over his past eight games, registering points in six contests over that stretch for a total of two goals and seven assists. He's priced evenly with teammate Frans Nielsen despite thoroughly outplaying Nielsen all year with an average of 2.6 more fantasy points per game thanks to double the points (18-9) and almost four more minutes of ice time per contest through 19 games. Plugging in Larkin's a no-brainer against a Sabres team that's allowing the third-most goals in the league and the most in this slate at 3.56 per contest.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jack Eichel, BUF at DET ($26): Eichel ended an eight-game goal drought Tuesday against the Penguins, but Detroit's been far superior defensively with 2.74 goals allowed per game compared to Pittsburgh's 3.55. The third-year center is priced at least $7 higher than any other player at his position despite averaging fewer fantasy points than two other pivots, so the bang for the buck just isn't there.
Artemi Panarin, CLS vs. NYR ($22): Something about playing the Rangers brings out the best in Panarin, as he's scored a goal in each of his two clashes against them this season while lighting the lamp only once in 17 other games. New York's fast-paced style coupled with the occasional Lundqvist gaffe have led to an ugly 3.37 goals allowed per game, ranking sixth-worst in the league. With a healthy average of 20:36 played per game, Panarin will be given every opportunity to take advantage of this favorable matchup.
Rick Nash, NYR at CLS ($18): Nash always seems to be the victim of horrible puck-luck, but Lady Luck has finally smiled on him over the past five games, as he's buried five goals on 20 shots in that stretch after converting at a paltry 4.2 percent clip with two goals on 48 shots in his first 14 games. The former Maurice Richard Trophy winner is still shooting 1.9 percent below his 12.2 percent career clip, but his ability to get to prime scoring areas through a combination of size, speed and skill puts Nash in good position to close that gap against the club he played for when he won that award for leading the league in goals. Columbus' 2002 first-overall pick also tends to bring a little extra juice defensively whenever he returns to his former home venue, as Nash posted a season-high three blocked shots in his first trip to Ohio this season.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Chris Kreider, NYR at CLS ($15): Kreider's assist Wednesday was his first since Oct. 8, and his poor production hasn't gone unnoticed by coach Alain Vigneault, who has trusted the power forward with fewer than 15 minutes of ice time in three consecutive contests. While Kreider managed to sneak one by Sergei Bobrovsky the last time these two teams met, the netminder's stellar 2.16 GAA and .928 save percentage suggest repeating that feat won't be easy.
Gustav Nyquist, DET vs. BUF ($17): Nyquist is already halfway to last season's total of 12 goals in 76 appearances just 19 games into this campaign, but his lack of supporting stats is troubling. The Swede has produced just one point on the power play, three assists and a minus-5 rating, making him almost useless when he doesn't light the lamp. With a trio of more productive and well-rounded teammates at his position available within $1 of Nyquist, it doesn't make sense to use him despite the favorable matchup.
Ryan McDonagh, NYR at CLS ($18): McDonagh's being tasked with a huge role in all
situations, and has turned things on offensively with nine assists in his past nine games. While he's yet to find the back of the net himself, the career 5.7 percent shooter is bound to break through after going scoreless on his first 35 shots of the year. McDonagh's heavy ice time (23:21 per game) helps him rack up counting stats, as he's averaging just a shade under two per game in both shots and blocks, and he's as solid as they come in the rating department with a plus-4 mark thus far after reaching double-digit positives in each of his seven previous NHL campaigns.
Mike Green, DET vs. BUF ($18): Green's showing serious shades of his prime Washington days, as his 17 points in 19 games are reminiscent of the 32-year-old veteran's pair of 70-plus point seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10 with the Capitals. Considering Buffalo's aforementioned defensive struggles, Green's offensive upside on the blue line is unmatched in this slate despite the presence of some notable offensive defensemen from other teams.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Marco Scandella, BUF at DET ($13): Scandella's been operating as the first-unit point man for Buffalo's power play with Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body) sidelined, but that role hasn't led to much production as Scandella's generated just one point with the extra man this season. Those hoping to use Scandella as a cheap source of offense from the blue line are likely to be sorely disappointed against Detroit's 84.3 percent penalty kill, which ranks eighth in the NHL and is at least 3.0 percent better than any of the other three teams in action.
Kevin Shattenkirk, NYR at CLS ($19): Shattenkirk's 10 points in his past eight games make him a tempting target, but his inconsistent totals in shots and blocks coupled with a minus-6 rating give the offensively-minded blueliner an extremely low floor. His reduced chances of getting on the scoresheet against Bobrovsky make it tough to justify swallowing the risk of using Shattenkirk here.