DraftKings NHL DFS Strategy Advice: Saturday (3/13)
Week 9 in the NHL reaches its crescendo with a 12-game slate on Saturday, pitting divisional foes against each other as the postseason push is well underway. In the competitive West Division, only four points separate the Coyotes and Kings from top-four postseason security. Meanwhile, teams like the Hurricanes, Lightning, and Panthers are notably superior compared to the rest of the Central Division, sporting double-digit goal differentials when compared to lower-tier teams like the Blue Jackets and Predators. A few teams play the second or third game of their series on Saturday, which tends to heavily rely on the momentum generated or lost in the previous matchup. This creates an additional factor to focus on when constructing your winning lineups on Saturday. Let’s analyze a few players that carry hidden value or who are simply too talented and riding the momentum wave.
David Krejci (BOS): $3,900 vs. NYR
The Bruins are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games played, trying to at least stay in fourth place in the Eastern Division, as the Flyers are only three points behind. A big reason for Boston’s previous win against the Rangers stemmed from second-line C David Krejci, who racked up two points (one goal, one assist) on two shots across 16:25 of ice time during Thursday’s 4-0 win. Afforded additional scoring opportunities on the Bruins’ top power-play unit, Krejci will be in a great position to replicate his previous outing but will face a new netminder in Keith Kinkaid, who managed to save all 13 shots after replacing G Alexander Georgiev on Thursday. Despite a possible upgrade for the Rangers in the net on Saturday, Krejci has 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) this season and should be able to capitalize on the momentum he initially created on Thursday that ended his season-long scoring drought. At this price, the Bruins second-line C contains a great value to bolster your lineup when he takes the ice on Saturday afternoon.
Evander Kane (SJ): $6,800 @ ANA
San Jose LW Evander Kane has been on a tear recently, earning three points in his last two games, including a goal and an assist against the Ducks on Friday. Kane is a big-bodied winger that skates on the Sharks’ first-line, earning extra opportunity for points on the first power-play unit. Kane is perhaps one of the safest low-risk options to invest in to yield a winning lineup on Saturday, although you will have to pay up a bit more than the average value player. Fresh off a two-point outing in a 6-0 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks Friday, the former top-five pick in the 2009 draft will look to extend the Sharks’ winning streak against one of the worst goaltending units in the league. Projected Ducks G Ryan Miller has a 3.20 GAA with a sub.900 save percentage (.888) with only two wins in five starts this season, making Kane a must-add in DFS during Saturday’s late-night slate.
Kasperi Kapanen (PIT): $4,500 @ BUF
Kasperi Kapanen has generated at least a point in three consecutive games, including a +3 rating across 16:13 average time on ice during this same stretch. Pittsburgh is one of the hottest teams in the league heading into Saturday’s contest against Buffalo, who is easily the worst team in the league. Kapanen gets the advantage of skating alongside second-line C Evgeni Malkin, who has overcome a shaky start to return to form, allowing Kapanen to get more involved in the offensive zone. Earning additional minutes on the Penguins’ second power-play unit, fantasy managers should target the fifth-year Finnish winger, as he racked up an assist against the Sabres on Thursday and has scored four goals since the start of March. Buffalo is expected to start G Carter Hutton on Saturday, who has an awful 3.40 GAA and a .883 save percentage, with just one win across nine starts this season. Kapanen is positioned to have a multi-point outing against the Sabres and should be rostered at this price without hesitation.
Neal Pionk (WPG): $4,600 @ TOR
The Jets defenseman has six points across his last four games, including a three-assist outing against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Pionk skates on the second defensive line but earns additional minutes on the second power-play unit, averaging 22:17 minutes of ice time for Winnipeg this season. He also creates additional fantasy value through the 29 blocks and 46 shots on goal he has totaled. Pionk is an assist machine but has not scored a goal since mid-February, a dry-streak that could end Saturday night in Toronto despite the elite play of projected G Frederik Anderson, who has a 2.77 GAA with a .902 save percentage across 20 games this season. At this price, Pionk is a value play on defense, as he contains all of the necessary skills to accrue assists and has at least two shots on goal in seven of his last eight games. Pionk is amongst the hottest defenders in the league at the moment and should be deployed into your lineup despite facing a tough opponent on Saturday night.
Ilya Samsonov (WSH): $7,500 @ PHI
In his last two starts, Ilya Samsonov has allowed four goals and earned two wins, posting a 2.00 GAA, and an elite .943 save percentage. The 24-year old Russian netminder is projected to start again for the second game of a series back-to-back against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Samsonov is another player riding the momentum from his previous win against the Flyers on Thursday and should be started with confidence in lineups on Saturday night. As goalies often determine a win or a loss in DFS contests, wins are extremely valuable as the points given erase the negative points accrued from allowing multiple goals. The Flyers are trying to get back into the top-four of the East Division, so expect Samsonov to face at least another 30 shots in between the pipes, which will add to his total fantasy output if he is able to replicate his 30-save performance from Thursday.