This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
There are five games in the NHL on Friday with the Golden Knights and Penguins the largest favorite on the slate. Philadelphia and Columbus are also receiving notable chalk in their respective home matchups against the Rangers and Wild – both teams are playing their second road game in consecutive nights. The most intriguing matchup is between the Avalanche and Hurricanes. Carolina isn't currently in a playoff position, whereas Colorado has won four straight and continues to build its case as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
At the top of the price list, Marc-Andre Fleury ($8,400) has won five straight with two shutouts and a .942 save percentage. The Sabres have also scored just 2.19 goals per hour on the road at five-on-five this season, so the matchup checks out. Robin Lehner ($8,400) should also shine in the plus-matchup, if he receives the starting nod and makes his debut with the Golden Knights on Friday.
The Rangers rank sixth in the league in goals per game, so even with them playing their second road game in consecutive nights, they shouldn't be overlooked. However, Carter Hart's ($8,200) dominance at the Wells Fargo Center this season speaks for itself. The sophomore is 17-2-2 with a dominant .941 save percentage and 1.65 GAA at home.
The Pittsburgh starter in Anaheim is also a strong lean. Tristan Jarry ($8,100) has lost consecutive outings, but his 20-10-1 record, .927 save percentage and 2.23 GAA for the campaign shouldn't be overlooked. Matt Murray ($8,100), on the other hand, hasn't been as successful this year (17-9-5, .901 and 2.84) and has also lost two straight. Still, Anaheim is an inferior team, and the Penguins are coming off a disappointing loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday. Plus, the matchup is the real draw with the Ducks scoring the eighth fewest goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five in the league.
The Minnesota-Columbus game could be the lowest scoring of the evening, so both Joonas Korpisalo ($8,000) and Devan Dubnyk ($7,400) are in play. Just note, the Blue Jackets are riddled with injuries, and Korpisalo has only made one start since Dec. 29. The risk with Dubnyk has been his poor play (.892 save percentage and 3.34 GAA for the campaign), and Minnesota playing its second road game in consecutive nights.
Sporting a three-game point streak (three tallies and two helpers) and a manageable cap hit, Evgeni Malkin ($7,200) stands out. He ranks sixth in points per 60 minutes for the campaign among NHL regulars, and the Ducks are a soft opponent with 3.12 goals against per hour – eighth most in the league. Malkin also offers a high fantasy floor with double-digit DraftKings points in each of his past four outings.
With six tallies and 10 helpers through his past 14 games, Andrei Svechnikov's ($5,700) salary is light. He's locked into a top offensive role, and Colorado is dealing with a number of injuries. It's also worth noting that his points per hour climbs to a high-end 3.55 mark on home ice.
As long as Valeri Nichushkin ($3,700) is skating with Nathan MacKinnon ($8,700), the Russian is a worthwhile flier. He's failed to capitalize on the opportunity recently, but his low salary is easy to accommodate, and MacKinnon ranks fifth in league scoring with 85 points. Similarly, Tyson Jost ($3,100) is receiving extended minutes for the Avalanche and is coming off his best game in months. He's locked into a top-six role and skating with the No. 1 power-play unit, so the 2016 first-round selection is a potential value to target. Just note the Hurricanes are stingy on home ice with just 2.65 goals against per hour.
Filip Chytil ($3,500) and Conor Sheary ($3,500) are both projected to remain in scoring roles and offer cap relief. Chytil has been quiet of late with only two points through his past nine outings, but linemates Mika Zibanejad ($8,200) and Chris Kreider ($6,500) have clicked for a high-end 5.19 goals per 60 minutes this season, so the sophomore is positioned for success. Sheary returning to Sidney Crosby's ($7,900) wing is an obvious value boost, as the duo generated 14.16 high-danger scoring chances per hour through Sheary's final two years in Pittsburgh.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
The Flyers have loaded up their top line with Sean Couturier ($6,700), Claude Giroux ($5,600) and Jakub Voracek ($4,700). The trio have combined for a rock-solid – goals per hour this season, but could also still have statistical correction in their favor. Couturier, Giroux and Voracek has driven possession with an elite 64.9 Corsi For percentage but sport an unsustainably low 5.1 shooting percentage through their past five games at five-on-five. New York allowing the most expected goals per 60 minutes in the league helps the case, too.
Vincent Trocheck ($4,400) had a quiet Carolina debut, but he logged 17:06 of ice time and dominated possession with linemates Martin Necas ($3,000) and Nino Niederreiter ($3,100) to the tune of 11 shot attempts to one at five-on-five. With the Avalanche dealing with so many injuries, and Carolina's top two lines likely facing Colorado's top competition, Trocheck, Necas and Niederreiter could be a sneaky – and cheap – line to target.
Take your pick with Vegas' top two lines in the cushy matchup against Buffalo. The Sabres own the worst penalty-kill percentage in the league and have allowed a healthy 3.35 goals per hour on the road this season. Additionally, the Golden Knights have won seven straight and scored three or more goals in six of those contests. William Karlsson ($5,500), Mark Stone ($7,000) and Max Pacioretty ($8,400) have combined for 10 goals and 17 assists during the stretch, whereas Paul Stastny ($4,700), Jonathan Marchessault ($5,900) and Reilly Smith ($5,400) have seven tallies and nine helpers. It's also helpful that the trios stick together while skating with the man advantage, too.
It's not out of the question to spend up for Kris Letang ($6,700) on Friday. He's been a consistent contributor of late with 12 points, 46 shots and 22 blocks through his past 15 games, and he's locked into a cushy fantasy setup playing pitch and catch on the top power-play unit with Evgeni Malkin ($7,200) and Sidney Crosby ($7,900). There's nothing intimidating about Anaheim's 78.1 penalty-kill percentage, either.
The offense is beginning to trickle in more consistently for Ivan Provorov ($5,000), as he's collected six points – two goals – through his past 11 contests. The matchup against the Rangers is favorable, and he's an affordable stack candidate from the Flyers, especially considering his role as the power-play quarterback on the No. 1 unit.
Jaccob Slavin ($4,400) continues to shine as Carolina's go-to blueliner and is coming off an impressive 16.8 DraftKings points showing last time out. His salary hasn't caught up to his production, either. He offers a high fantasy floor considering his role (24:54 of ice time with 2:54 on the power play) and cross-category contributions.