FanDuel NHL Lineup Advice: Tuesday 3/3
With the final day of the NHL season slated for April 4, we are just about one month from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After incredible starts to the year 2020, both Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay have cooled off lately. Boston now holds a seven-point lead in the East. Florida’s game has curtailed which means the Maple Leafs are currently comfortably in. Out West, Vancouver has slipped up a bit and now find themselves sitting in wild card position. On Sunday, they blew a 3rd period lead against a banged-up Blue Jackets team in Columbus. The race for the Western Conference wild card positions has tightened, with Vancouver, Nashville, Winnipeg, Arizona, and Minnesota all separated by just three points. Let’s take a look at another busy ten-game Tuesday night in the NHL.
Mika Zibanejad (NYR): $8,400 vs STL
It doesn’t seem possible, but I think the number one center on the New York Rangers may still be underrated. Mika Zibanejad has 32 goals, 33 assists, for 65 points this season. The only thing keeping Zibanejad away from hitting 100 points this year is a brief absence due to injury. He is scoring 1.25 points per game, a 103 point pace. He has more points in the last two weeks than anyone else in the NHL with 13. He has eight goals in his previous eight games. He also shoots the puck plenty, averaging over 3.5 shots per game. He has benefited from playing on a powerplay unit alongside Artemi Panarin, but he is skating on a line with Pavel Buchnevich and Phil Di Giuseppe this evening. Zibanejad is a superstar in this league. This is a game the Rangers must have if they want to remain in the playoff chase.
Kevin Fiala (MIN): $5,900 vs NSH
With 49 points in 60 games, Kevin Fiala is already having a career year. With 20 goals in the bank, he will likely surpass his career mark of 23 in that statistic as well. Fiala is also shooting the puck more, on pace to shoot it 210 times this season, well beyond his career average. Fiala has been hot lately. He is riding a four-game goal streak where he has tallied nine points over that span. He has 17 points in his previous 12 games. Minnesota is battling for playoff position now, and Fiala is a big reason why. Tonight he will host his former team in the Nashville Predators, so I expect him to have a little extra juice for this one as well.
Phillip Di Giuseppe (NYR): $3,300 vs STL
I’ve made some pricey selections tonight, so I had to find a bargain somewhere. Di Giuseppe is slated to play on New York’s top line this evening next to Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. The former 38th overall pick is a capable linemate for Zibanejad. He’s just starting to see regular NHL ice time with Chris Kreider out of the lineup. Di Giuseppe scored his first goal on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens. This is a cheap way to stack a top-line on a team that scores the fifth most goals per game in the league.
Neal Pionk (WPG): $4,600 vs BUF
In a year where the Jets have really struggled to put together a defensive core, Neal Pionk has been a major positive. After losing Tyler Myers, Dustin Byfuglien, and Jacob Trouba in the offseason, Pionk was thrust into a huge role. He is currently paired with Dmitry Kulikov and skating upwards of 25 minutes a night. He is solidified as the quarterback on a power play unit that will hopefully return Patrik Laine this evening. The great thing about Pionk is that even if he is not on the scoresheet, you can count on him to shoot the puck and likely block a few shots. He has shot the puck 20 times in his previous three games. Tonight the Jets host a Buffalo team that is no longer playing for anything. The Jets need these points, and they need Pionk to contribute.
Robin Lehner (VGK): $8,100 vs NJD
It isn’t unfamiliar territory for Marc Andre Fleury to be dealing with a goalie controversy just before the playoffs. With Fleury posting sub-average numbers this season, Kelly McCrimmon and the Vegas Golden Knights went out and acquired Robin Lehner at the deadline. Lehner has been rock solid since leaving the Buffalo Sabres a couple of years ago. This year, he has a 2.98 GAA but a .919 SV%. In his first start as a Knight, he defeated Buffalo 4-2. After Marc Andre Fleury took the loss against LA on Sunday, a good start here could really change the dynamic between the pipes in Vegas. Tonight Vegas will host a Devils team that have scored the 5th fewest goals in the league.