NHL Thursday: Evgeny Kuznetsov leads daily fantasy hockey plays
There are 12 games on tap Thursday, with only one game involving a tired team as Pittsburgh plays in Dallas after losing to Colorado on Wednesday. Tampa Bay plays in Ottawa, Montreal travels to Boston, the Rangers are in Carolina, Toronto takes on the Panthers in Florida, Philadelphia hosts Minnesota, Chicago travels to Washington, St. Louis is in Detroit, Seattle plays in Nashville, Calgary hosts Vegas, Winnipeg takes on Anaheim and San Jose travels up the coast to face Vancouver. Below, you'll find suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
Igor Shesterkin, NYR at CAR ($28): Shesterkin saw his five-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday as the Hurricanes scored three times in the third for a 3-2 victory. Shesterkin still managed to stop 36 shots. He was outstanding in the five wins, giving up nine goals on 155 shots. He is 32-12-7 with a 2.58 GAA and .913 save percentage this season. He will have a chance to redeem himself as Shesterkin will face the Hurricanes again in the second game of back-to-back contests.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jake Allen, MON at BOS ($25): Allen has given up six goals in each of his last two starts and faces the best team in the NHL on Thursday, as the Bruins have 113 points in 70 games. Allen is 0-5-1 in his last six starts, giving him a 14-23-3 record, to go with a 3.56 GAA and .892 save percentage. This is Allen's worst season in his NHL career as his GAA is 0.26 higher than last season, which was his previous worst mark. This is also the first time in his career that his save percentage has dipped below .900.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, WAS vs. CHI ($13): Kuznetsov has been in a prolonged slump, with one goal in his last 10 games, but he still has 12 goals and 51 points this season. He had an assist in his lone game versus Chicago earlier in the season. His value is big due to his low price.
CENTER TO AVOID
Ryan Hartman, MIN at PHI ($22): Hartman centers the top line in Minnesota, but he loses value as Kirill Kaprizov (lower body) is still out of action. He has only one assist in his last three games, giving him 12 goals and 30 points in 49 games. Hartman is on the first power play unit but has not contributed very much, scoring once and adding three assists.
Sam Reinhart, FLA vs. TOR ($21): Reinhart is on a six-game point streak with six goals and nine points. Reinhart has 27 goals and 54 points this season, after a career year in 2021-22, when he had 33 goals and 82 points. Reinhart has been a force on the power play with 13 goals and 22 points. He had an assist in his lone game versus Toronto this season.
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Claude Giroux, OTT vs. TB ($19): Giroux is having his best season in his last four years with 28 goals (tied for second best in his 15-year NHL career) and 68 points. He has seven goals and 22 points on the power play. Giroux plays on the top line with Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle - one of the best lines in the NHL. Giroux has a goal in his only game versus Tampa Bay this season.
WINGS TO AVOID
William Nylander, TOR at FLA ($28): Nylander is slumping for the first time this season, going his last four games with nary a point. Nylander has been outstanding for most of the season, setting a career high with 35 goals and is just one shy of his career best in points set last season with 80. Nylander is due to break loose, but until he does, it would be a good idea to look elsewhere at this time.
Nikita Kucherov, TB at OTT ($33): Kucherov is having an outstanding season with 28 goals and 72 points, the third time in his career that he has hit the 100-point mark. But Kucherov has been slumping of late with two goals and five points in his last six games. While most players would consider that a great two weeks, it has not been for Kucherov.
Rasmus Sandin, WAS vs. CHI ($17): Sandin has been a gem since his trade from Toronto on March 3, scoring once and adding 11 assists in just nine games. He remains on the top power play but that could come to an end shortly as John Carlson is expected back soon after missing three months with a fractured skull. Sandin had four goals and 16 assists in 52 games with the Maple Leafs before heading to Washington. He has 11 power play assists this season.
Morgan Rielly, TOR at FLA ($17): It has been a tough season for Rielly, who missed 15 games in late November and December with a knee injury and hasn't been the offensive force this year, like he has been in past campaigns. The good news is that Rielly has been turning it around of late, scoring twice and adding two assists in his last four games. The goals doubled his season output to four, while he has bumped his assist total to 32, in 55 games. Rielly has a goal and 15 points on the power play, as he is averaging a career high 2:56 of ice time with the man-advantage.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Josh Morrissey, WPG at ANA ($21): Morrissey has only two assists in his last six games. He has had a career year, with 15 goals and 54 assists, both career highs. Morrissey missed a couple of games with a lower-body injury a week ago, and the injury could still be bothering him.
Brent Burns, CAR vs. NYR ($23): Burns has assists in each of his last two games, but was pointless in his previous four contests. The 38-year-old blueliner could be slowing down as the season comes to an end, as the Hurricanes want him at full strength come playoff time. Burns has 12 goals and 53 points in 69 games this season, his first in Carolina after playing 11 seasons with the Sharks.