This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
There's more at stake for the Jets than the Sharks, who are pretty much out of the playoff race already. A Jets win will move them into the first wild-card spot, but a team that's usually dominant at home (25-12-4 last season) have been so-so (14-13-3) this season.
The Canadiens have lost two straight after getting their playoff hopes up, and they face another tough conference opponent in the Penguins after losing to the Bruins on Wednesday. No question the Penguins should be heavily favored.
The Rangers will face the Blue Jackets in Columbus, and while a win for the Rangers doesn't really improve their playoff prospects, the Jackets can leapfrog the Isles for third place in the Metro. The Jackets are playing the second half of a back-to-back after losing to the Sabres in overtime last night.
The darling Hurricanes are in danger of missing the playoffs if they keep losing. They'll host the Devils, who are a respectable 12-15-0 on the road this season. The Hurricanes are quite stingy at home in averaging just 2.54 GA/GP, seventh-best in the league, while the Devils offense on the road ranks 24th with 2.48 GF/GP.
Tristan Jarry ($8,800) has the most recent win, but Matt Murray ($8,500) looked sharp against the Lightning, and both should be strong plays against the Habs. Carey Price ($8,200) will likely get the start, and despite being his usual impeccable self lately, could not keep the Bruins off the scoresheet and gets little goal support from his team.
I like Connor Hellebuyck ($7,500) against the Sharks. I will take his ability to steal a game over the Sharks' toothless offense any day. Elvis Merzlikins ($8,600) is a slightly tougher call because the Rangers offense is pretty good, and playing on a back-to-back will challenge Columbus' resilience and depth. Merzlikins looked very good against the Lightning.
Petr Mrazek ($8,100) would be my pick if I had to choose, but don't sleep on MacKenzie Blackwood ($7,300), who could be the second-best value play of the night behind Hellebuyck. The Devils have won three of their past four and have been noticeably better when Blackwood is in net.
Emergency call-up and top prospect Liam Foudy ($3,000) has been pretty impressive, scoring his first point in 18 minutes against Buffalo last night. His playing style — fast and toward the net — is the type of game that John Tortorella loves, and he's not stingy about ice time if he thinks a player has earned it. He's playing on the second line with Boone Jenner and Gustav Nyquist.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Pittsburgh Penguins (TOTAL: $17,200)
In a game in which the Lightning looked like the far better team, this trio had a 66.67 CF% with eight chances in just under five minutes of playing, according to Natural Stat Trick. It was a combo Mike Sullivan found later in the game, and if we believe in some of the predictive powers of analytics, there's a good chance this line stays good. Zucker's a shooter, something that's been missing from the Pens since trading Phil Kessel.
Winnipeg Jets (TOTAL: $21,600)
This line terrorized the Sharks earlier this season with six points in a 5-1 win. Laine had three points that game, and he's scored six goals in his past six games.
Kris Letang ($6,900) is on a three-game scoring streak, which includes nine-shot performance against the Lightning. With John Marino out, Letang takes even more responsibility, and he'll be playing big minutes against the Habs. He's worth the price until you get to the next tier with Anthony DeAngelo ($5,200), the Rangers' PP QB, and steady options Jaccob Slavin ($5,000), Jeff Petry ($4,800) and Neal Pionk ($4,700).
There's been some pickup in Jake Gardiner's ($3,800) game lately with a three-assist effort against Vegas. If he continues this pace, he might siphon more power-play time from Slavin.