Monday fantasy hockey tips – NHL picks, matchups, more
A heavy Monday of NHL action after no teams played on Sunday. Of the nine games on offer, four in particular feel like a pretty bad mismatch, so we may get some more six- or seven-goal showings by one side. Pay attention to goaltender usage, as four teams are playing again on Tuesday — so the presumed starter may take a rest depending on how the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings approach their respective sets.
All times Eastern.
Favorable scoring match-ups
7 p.m., Air Canada Centre, Watch live on ESPN+
As expected, the Coyotes have proven to be a feasting ground for opposing offenses, allowing an average of 48 shots against through their two games as well as eight goals at even strength. The Leafs have been dominating play, even if their final scores haven’t suggested it so far. This really should be the game that Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner erupt. Their line ranks first in the league in shot attempts at this stage.
7 p.m., TD Garden, Watch live on ESPN+
The theory here is that both offenses will push each other to break and hopefully we’ll get some special teams heavily involved. Sam Reinhart should stay locked into lineups as the lucky forward to join the power play with Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk now that the Panthers are rolling with two defensemen on the point. Taylor Hall and David Krejci, as well as Hampus Lindholm on the point, are worth starting for the Bruins.
7 p.m., Bell Centre, Watch live on ESPN+
How about that Penguins offense through two games? Leading the NHL in expected goals for percentage (xGF%) is a good start. Getting six points out of Sidney Crosby through two games is even better. But a strong healthy start from Evgeni Malkin might be the best of all the news. Malkin’s line with Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker leads the NHL in expected goals for percentage thanks in large part to firing 31 pucks in just 21 minutes at five-on-five. Hopefully poor Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Josh Anderson (25 xGF%) don’t end up with the Malkin matchup (85.7 xGF%). Better get Zucker into lineups just in case.
8 p.m., Xcel Energy Center, Watch live on ESPN+
Two high-octane offenses clash as both teams have some special teams questions to answer. The Avs and Wild have combined to allow eight special teams goals against through two games each (Avs have allowed four power-play goals and one shorthanded, with the Wild accounting for three power-play markers against). If the teams can’t stay out of the box, this could get ugly.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
T.J. Oshie, W, Washington Capitals (48.1%): The Capitals are still tinkering to find their scoring line. While Oshie started the season on the third line, he spent the last game on a unit with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha. Most importantly, however, he trails only Alex Ovechkin and Kuznetsov for power-play minutes.
Alexis Lafreniere, W, New York Rangers (35.5%): Vitali Kravstov was back at practice but still in a no-contact jersey. That means at least one more spin with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck for Lafreniere before Kravtsov can challenge again for the role he lost by getting hurt in the first game.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Gabriel Vilardi, C, Los Angeles Kings (1.0%): His one goal against the Wild was an example of just how dangerous this Kings third line has the potential to be. Playing with Quinton Byfield and Alex Iafallo, Vilardi has definitely shown some shades of the high-end prospect he was before injuries derailed his career for several seasons. They’ve matched the Anze Kopitar line goal for goal through two games, but perhaps more impressive have allowed zero goals against.
Alex Newhook, C/W, Colorado Avalanche (7.2%): Just like Anze Kopitar’s line was greeted with a face full of Jared Spurgeon and Jacob Middleton, Nathan Mackinnon’s line can expect much of the same. While the top line for Avs should still produce here, the second line should get a chance to shine, too.
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Hampus Lindholm, D, Boston Bruins (18.3%): Keep rolling Lindholm as a value play until he loses the power-play gig.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen
David Savard, D, Montreal Canadiens (9.2%): The boundless void that is the Canadiens defense has one shining light. The veteran Savard can handle the puck and plays hard defense. His 16 blocked shots in three games is emblematic of that.
Ilya Samsonov, G, Toronto Maple Leafs (54.2%): With word that Matt Murray is sidelined for a while with a groin injury, the crease should be Samsonov’s to run with. Big asterisk here, as Toronto literally faces the easiest matchup in the league on Monday. If ever there was a time to let Erik Kallgren get a scheduled start before he backups Samsonov for the next few weeks, it’s right here.
Casey DeSmith, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (1.7%): There is nothing to suggest the Pens turn to their backup here other than the less-threatening matchup and that we’ve only seen Tristan Jarry through two games. If we get word DeSmith will start, he’s worth using in fantasy here.
Ryan Hartman, C/W, Minnesota Wild (74.5%): Messy game aside, Hartman found himself moved off the top line for the second period against the Kings on Saturday. It’s not clear if that will carry forward into this contest, but why risk it with so many other available options.
John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks (71.3%): After getting lit up by the Islanders, a visit to the Rangers isn’t usually a cure for the goaltending blues. The Ducks have more to prove before Gibson can evolve beyond a matchup goaltender this season — and this isn’t a good matchup.
Seattle Kraken: The best thing about the Kraken so far has been their power play. Guess who makes power plays look like novice hockey players? The Hurricanes should shutdown the Kraken.