A limited two-game slate Wednesday means you’re going to have to take advantage of certain matchups in order to find success. Here are some ideas on where to find the best ones.
Tuukka Rask, BOS vs. MON ($40)
Rask is the priciest option at goalie Wednesday, but he is also probably the surest bet to anchor your lineup. For starters, the Canadiens take 34.4 shots on goal per game -- good for fifth in the league -- but convert that into just 2.57 goals per game, the third-worst mark in the league. With a couple of exceptions, Rask has been outstanding since the start of December and delivered a nice win in Montreal on Saturday.
Goalie to Avoid
John Gibson, ANH vs. PIT ($32)
Gibson faces the unenviable proposition of having to face the Penguins right now -- the defending Stanley Cup champions have been on an absolute tear of late, putting up four goals or more in five of their last six contests. Gibson has actually been solid lately, posting a .927 save percentage and 1.99 GAA over his last six games, but has attained wins in just half of them, speaking to his lack of goal support.
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David Krejci, BOS vs. MON ($17)
In the six games since returning from a lower-body injury, Krejci has posted two goals and three assists to go with a plus-2 rating. What makes the Czech national especially appealing Wednesday is his proficiency on the power play, where he has recorded eight of his 19 points this season. Montreal enters Wednesday’s matchup killing off just 78.2 percent of their penalties, which ranks them 26th in the NHL and opens the door for Krejci.
Center to Avoid
Ryan Kesler, ANH vs. PIT ($17)
Since finally making his season debut following offseason hip surgery, Kesler’s play has not been up to the level that we’ve come to expect from him over the course of his career. The veteran pivot shows four points and 13 shots on goal in eight games, but perhaps most concerning is his minus-4 rating that would seemingly indicate that his usually sound defensive game is off. Don’t trust him until he starts showing some life.
Danton Heinen, BOS vs. MON ($17)
Heinen is continuing to carve out a nice role for himself in his first full season as a Bruin, logging nine points and an astounding plus-7 rating in his last eight contests while cementing himself as a fixture of the team’s top power-play unit. Considering the strength of the Bruins offense right now, the weakness of the Canadiens penalty kill, and the relatively low price being offered here, the rookie winger represents a great value.
Ondrej Kase, ANH vs. PIT ($17)
Perhaps nobody has done more with less than Kase this season and in the last eight games, his efficiency has been even better, to the tune of seven points and a plus-3 rating. It’s also nice to see that the 22-year-old has some consistency in his ability to attack the net, as he has managed at least two shots on goal over that eight game span, firing 27 total. Look for him to take advantage of Pittsburgh’s weak goaltending.
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Wings to Avoid
Patric Hornqvist, PIT @ ANH ($22)
Hornqvist really hasn’t played up to his potential to this point in the season and inconsistency continues to plague him in recent play, as he has just a goal and an assist to his name over the last eight contests. The Swede’s pricing leaves just three wingers with more expensive price tags Wednesday, so either choose a better premium option or find a better value at a lower price.
Daniel Sprong, PIT @ ANH ($18)
Perhaps it was his three-point showing against the Islanders on Jan. 5 that elevated his status, but Sprong’s Wednesday price is just a bit too high to justify his use against a solid Anaheim defensive front. The 20-year-old is just too unproven and lacks enough of an immediate scoring role at this point in the season, so you won’t want to risk your budget on a piece that is far from a sure bet.
Zdeno Chara, BOS vs. MON ($17)
Chara hasn’t been known for his offensive prowess in recent seasons but he’s put together a nice run of it lately, recording a goal and two assists in his last three games. Even if the Bruins’ captain is unable to put it together offensively Wednesday, it very much works to his advantage that the Canadiens fire so many shots on net, as Chara blocks pucks at a high rate.
Josh Manson, ANH vs. PIT ($17)
Manson continues to be the rock of Anaheim’s blueline corps and has the solid metrics to prove it -- the Illinois native shows five assists and a plus-7 rating while averaging 20:38 of ice time in the last seven contests, giving him a nice floor to work with. Manson’s lack of a power-play role is mostly diminished by the fact that Pittsburgh boasts a strong penalty kill, so roll out the d-man with confidence here.
Defensemen to Avoid
Kris Letang, PIT @ ANH ($25)
Letang’s Wednesday price places him as the most expensive defensive option by a decent margin. For players like Brent Burns and Victor Hedman, this might be justifiable because they are reliable offensive products as well as defensive, but Letang on the other hand has just four points in his last 12 contests and doesn’t even have the defensive metrics to make up for it. Don’t overpay here.
Jeff Petry, MON @ BOS ($17)
Petry’s 12 points in the last 20 games isn’t terrible, but only one of those points was a goal and he also shows a pitiful minus-11 rating over that span. The Bruins come into Wednesday’s rivalry game having scored 28 goals while only having allowed 14 over their last six contests, so the 30-year-old defenseman’s three-game point streak could very well come crashing down against that type of resistance.