FanDuel DFS NHL Strategy Advice: Thursday (2/4)
Despite some hiccups, the NHL season has continued to roll on. Tonight, two games have been postponed due to COVID: Sabres/Lightning and Devils/Penguins. Despite that, there is still a full nine-game slate to look forward to. I, for one, have not forgotten what it was like last spring with no hockey, so I am just grateful for the games we have. Why don’t we take a look?
Jesperi Kotkaniemi (MTL): $4,800 vs OTT
Kotkaniemi is a former third overall pick from the 2018 NHL draft. He recorded 34 points in his rookie season, then lost most of his second year to a spleen injury. This season, Kotkaniemi has seven points in ten games. He is skating alongside the red-hot Tyler Toffoli and Corey Perry. He is also centering the second power-play unit. Tonight the rolling Habs welcome in a Senators team that has completely hit the skids. We could have anticipated it would be a long year for Ottawa in an otherwise very talented division. However, I did not anticipate that the Sens would be surrendering an absurd 4.8 goals per game after acquiring Matt Murray. These two teams are going in opposite directions right now, and I think Kotkaniemi is a cheap way to invest in what should be a high scoring affair.
Kevin Fiala (MIN): $6,000 @ COL
Kevin Fiala returns tonight after serving his three-game suspension for boarding Matt Roy. After breaking out with 54 points in 64 games last season, Fiala has gotten off to a slow start in 2021. He has just three points in eight games this year. While his production is by no means “scratch worthy,” a few nights in the press box may actually do some good for Fiala, allowing him to reset on the season. It is unclear where he will fit back into the lineup, but we can assume he will play many minutes and on the top power-play unit. He can always be relied on to shoot the puck. He has crossed the five-shot marker in half of his games this year. Tonight Minnesota remains in Denver to take on a Colorado team playing their second game without star centerman Nathan MacKinnon. This will be the fourth of four consecutive meetings between the two teams. Colorado leads the season series 2-1.
Pavel Buchnevich (NYR): $5,400 vs WSH
Not much has gone right for the New York Rangers in 2021. Mika Zibanejad is off to a slow start. Kaapo Kakko is on the COVID list. Alexis Lafreniere has one point in nine games. One of the few bright spots for this team has been Pavel Buchnevich, who looks like a different player this year. Buchnevich has seven points in nine games. In three of those nine games, he has eclipsed five shots on goal. He has become the focal point of their forecheck. Tonight Buchnevich will likely skate alongside Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere. On paper, that should be an exciting line if they can get it together. He will slot into the top power-play unit as well. With Ilya Samsonov still on the COVID list this morning, it will likely be backup Vitek Vanecek in goal for the Capitals.
Colton Parayko (STL): $4,800 @ STL
Parayko is riding a three-game point streak. He has five points in his last five games. He has a +4 rating, and he is averaging two shots and two blocks per game. He should log up over twenty minutes of ice time and chip in all over the stat sheet. He is paired with Marco Scandella. I’m looking for him to stay hot tonight.
Chris Driedger (FLA): $7,300 vs. NSH
Before the year started, it was reported that Joel Quenneville was eying closer to a 50/50 split between his goaltenders this season. Despite the Panthers paying Sergei Bobrovsky $10 million a year for the next five years, it appears there is a goaltender controversy brewing in Florida already. Bobrovsky got off to an awful start in Florida, posting a 3.23 GAA and .900 save percentage in his first season. So far this year, he has a 2.87 GAA, and .894 save percentage. Meanwhile, 26-year-old Chris Driedger has posted a 1.95 and .937. Granted, it is still very early, particularly for the Panthers, who have only played six games. However, if the team is focused on riding the hot hand this year, Driedger should be between the pipes tonight. Quenneville has yet to name his starter for this evening, but I will gladly plug in Driedger to my DFS lineup if he gets the nod. The Nashville Predators have scored a third-worst 2.09 goals per game this year. The Panthers at 5-0-1 are favored to win the game as well. This is a good bet.