This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Thursday's NHL slate features no shortage of action, with 13 games on tap after 7:00 PM Eastern time. Below, you'll find an overview of the matchups and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
With so many games on the docket, there are naturally some highly appealing matchups. The Oilers, Blue Jackets and Golden Knights will all be facing bottom-five defensive teams in the Kings, Red Wings and Sharks, respectively. Meanwhile, the stingy Blues (vs. Calgary) and Coyotes (vs. Toronto) both get to play host to slumping Canadian squads.
Jordan Binnington ($8,200) should have no problem handling the reeling Flames, who have lost five consecutive games by a combined score of 18-5. Calgary's offensive production for the season has dipped to 2.50 goals per game, which is tied for second-lowest in the league. Meanwhile, Binnington owns a sparkling 10-3-4 record, 2.31 GAA and .920 save percentage.
The only team with a losing streak longer than Calgary's is Toronto, as the Maple Leafs have gone six consecutive games without a win, leading to Wednesday's firing of coach Mike Babcock. Given Darcy Kuemper's ($7,900) outstanding 1.85 GAA and .937 save percentage, the Coyotes' goalie is primed to help extend Toronto's losing streak in Arizona.
Joonas Korpisalo ($7,800) has won three of his past four starts, and he's limited the damage against him to two goals in five of the last six games. Columbus' netminder should continue to find success against a Red Wings team that's scoring a league-low 2.35 goals per game and allowing a league-high 3.70.
There's actually one other team with a losing streak of five-plus games out there, and that's the Predators, who have slipped into the bottom 10 defensively with 3.30 goals allowed per game. Elias Pettersson ($6,500) is primed to add to Nashville's recent struggles, as the second-year pivot leads the Canucks with 25 points through 22 games. After winning the Calder Trophy with a 28-38-66 line as a rookie, Pettersson's on pace for 30 goals and 93 points in Year 2.
William Karlsson ($7,000) was held off the scoresheet in his last game, but he delivered three consecutive multi-point efforts before then and still has a 4-3-7 line over his past four contests. While the Sharks have played better of late, they've done so by outscoring opponents rather than limiting chances against. Vegas' top-line center should thus thrive against San Jose's porous defense (3.55 goals allowed per game).
Conor Garland ($5,100) just keeps putting the puck in the net. He leads the Coyotes with 10 goals, while none of his teammates have mustered more than six. Garland's also tied for second on the team with four power-play points, putting him just one behind Phil Kessel's team-leading total. Despite all that success, the 23-year-old winger can still be had for just $5,100 as his team gets set to host a Maple Leafs club that's allowing 3.43 goals per game — eighth-most in the league.
With the Blues battling injuries up front all season, David Perron ($5,500) has stepped up. He's tied with Ryan O'Reilly for the team lead in points (20) and is second behind Brayden Schenn with nine goals. That success includes a 4-8-12 line over his last 11 contests, and Perron should stay hot against the struggling Flames.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Oilers at Kings
We're all familiar with this line by now, as it features the league's top two point-scorers and a physical puck retriever with enough skill to occasionally capitalize on the opportunities created by his linemates. Draisaitl leads the league with 44 points, while McDavid's hot on his heels with 43 thanks to an absurd 7-9-16 line over his past five games. Kassian is tied for third among the team's forwards with 16 points and has eight goals in 23 games. A Kings team that ranks among the league's three worst defensively with 3.57 goals allowed per game is unlikely to keep this line in check.
Avalanche at Wild
MacKinnon remains among the league's most productive players despite losing both of his usual linemates to injuries, as he has a 13-18-31 line in 21 games. Burakovsky is thriving on MacKinnon's wing with five goals in his last three games, and Donskoi has a nice 9-6-15 line this season. This line should stand out against a Wild team that's been outscored 70-57 through 21 games.
Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings
Coach John Tortorella is currently rolling with what he's deemed "Seinfeld lines", where he's doing the opposite of what his instincts tell him to. That shakeup has created some unconventional combinations, but it has also led to back-to-back wins. This is the top line that's come out of those changes, and it's been unstoppable over the past two games. Dubois has three goals and an assist over the last two contests, Bemstrom has a goal and two assists, and Milano has chipped in a pair of helpers. This trio should stay hot against the Red Wings, who are yielding a league-high 3.70 goals per game.
Cale Makar ($5,700) continues to be a steal at his valuation. Colorado's prized rookie blueliner is on pace to be the first rookie defenseman in NHL history to eclipse 80 points, as he has a 5-18-23 line through 21 games.
Miro Heiskanen ($5,500) is another young blueliner who has been outplaying his modest valuation. The third overall selection from the 2017 draft has two goals and five assists during an active four-game point streak, and his increase in power-play time with John Klingberg (lower body) on the shelf should translate to further production against Winnipeg's 74.5 percent penalty kill.
Matt Grzelcyk ($4,600) continues to fill in on Boston's top power-play unit with Torey Krug (upper body) out, and Grzelcyk will head into this matchup against Buffalo riding a wave of confidence after scoring two even-strength goals in his last game.