NHL Thursday: Artemi Panarin leads daily fantasy hockey plays
There are 11 games on tap Thursday, with only one game involving a tired team as Colorado plays in Ottawa after losing to Toronto on Wednesday. Tampa Bay plays in New Jersey, Montreal travels to Florida, the Rangers entertain Pittsburgh, Nashville hosts Chicago, Boston travels to Winnipeg, Dallas takes on the Oilers in Edmonton, Calgary plays in Vegas, Vancouver faces the Coyotes in Arizona, Seattle travels down the coast to play San Jose and Columbus takes on the Kings in LA. Below, you'll find suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
Igor Shesterkin, NYR vs. PIT ($26): Shesterkin has won three straight games, giving up seven goals on 90 shots. He has won five of his last six starts and is 30-11-7 with a 2.64 GAA and .910 save percentage this season. Shesterkin lost his only start versus the Penguins earlier in the season, giving up three goals on 24 shots in a 3-2 loss. The Penguins are 13th in NHL scoring, averaging 3.28 goals per game this season, but this is a much better Rangers team since acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane before the trade deadline.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Vitek Vanecek, NJ vs. TB ($29): Vanecek shut out the Hurricanes on March 12, stopping 32 shots, but it has been the only game in his last five starts in which has given up less than four goals. Despite the shutout, he has given up 17 goals on 135 shots during the five games. Overall, Vanecek has been great for the Devils, going 28-8-3 with a 2.52 GAA and .908 save percentage, but his play of late has to be a concern. He faces the Lightning, who are sixth in NHL scoring, averaging 3.46 goals per game.
Connor McDavid, EDM vs. DAL ($37): McDavid is the best player in the world. He leads the NHL in goals with 56, assists with 73 and has already smashed his career high in points with 129. McDavid has been held off the scoresheet only seven times in 68 games this season. To put that in better perspective, he has had 10 games with at least four points. The superstar has been amazing on the power play with 59 points.
CENTER TO AVOID
Patrice Bergeron, BOS at WPG ($26): Bergeron has been slumping of late, as he has only one goal in his last four games. He's having his typically strong season, scoring 24 goals and adding 25 assists in 66 games and is the strongest two-way center in the league, but as far as DFS is concerned, there are plenty of better centers to select Thursday.
Sam Reinhart, FLA vs. MON ($18): Reinhart snapped a six-game point drought last Friday and has points in each of his last two games. He has 23 goals and 48 points this season, after a career year in 2021-22 in which he had 33 goals and 82 points. Reinhart has a goal and three assists in two games versus Montreal this season.
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Artemi Panarin, NYR vs. PIT ($25): Panarin has points in six of his last eight games, giving the Rangers star 20 goals and 74 points in 67 games. He has been a great set-up man on the power play with 25 assists in addition to three goals. Panarin is back on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Vladimir Tarasenko, and that can only help his cause.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jake DeBrusk, BOS at WPG ($25): DeBrusk has only a goal and an assist in his last six games, going minus-five in his last three contests. He's having a nice season with 20 goals and 39 points in 48 games, but his salary is awfully high considering his relatively low scoring rate.
Rafael Harvey-Pinard, MON at FLA ($18): Harvey-Pinard got off to a great start with the Canadiens, scoring seven goals and adding four assists in his first 14 NHL games, but it has been a struggle for the 24-year-old rookie ever since. He has a goal and an assist in his last 10 games. He has only 39 shots on goal in 24 games and that is not a great stat for a forward on the top line.
Miro Heiskanen, DAL at EDM ($21): Heiskanen has been red hot of late as he is on an eight-game point streak, scoring three times and adding 11 assists. The talented blueliner has 10 goals and 56 points, crushing his previous career high of 36 points, set last season. Heiskanen has been a power play stud with 25 points this season – his previous best being 11.
Kris Letang, PIT at NYR ($23): Letang is on a three-game point streak, scoring twice and adding three assists. It has been a tough season for the Penguins defenseman as he has had a stroke, a lower-body injury and has had to deal with the passing of his father. Letang has 10 goals and 34 points in 49 games this season, including five goals and 11 assists on the power play.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Shea Theodore, VGK vs. CGY ($22): Theodore has only one assist in his last three games, giving the defenseman eight goals and 37 points in 48 contests. He has one assist in two games versus Calgary this season.
Tyson Barrie, NAS vs. CHI ($18): Barrie was having a great season with the Oilers, scoring 10 times and adding 33 assists in 61 games, but he was dealt at the trade deadline and is now in Nashville. He has a goal and an assist in seven games as he has suffered without Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Barrie had 28 points on the power play with Edmonton, but has seen his power play time plummet in Nashville behind Roman Josi, where he has yet to pick up a point with the man advantage.