NHL DFS Hockey: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Sunday, March 12
You may have lost an hour Sunday, but you gain another opportunity at DFS success. There are six NHL games Sunday night, more than usual. Let's take advantage of that! Here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your lineups.
Filip Gustavsson, MIN at ARI ($39): You are almost definitely going to be using a goalie on a team that is on the second leg of a back-to-back. Only two teams didn't play Saturday, the Flames and Ducks, and neither has appealing crease options. Gustavsson has been one of the best goalies in the NHL, as he has a 1.91 GAA and .935 save percentage. The Coyotes are last in shots on net allowed per game, so they may not challenge Gustavsson much.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Pyotr Kochetkov, CAR at NJD ($22): Kochetkov is back in the NHL with Antti Raanta out, and he's coming off a shutout. Both of these teams are top notch at suppressing shots, but the Devils have an imposing offense, and now that includes Timo Meier. New Jersey is in the top five in both goals and shots on net per contest.
Robert Thomas, STL vs. VGK ($17): Thomas is a stellar playmaker, but also able to score goals on limited shots. He had 41 assists to go with 16 goals in 62 games, and he had 50 helpers last season. There is a good chance Adin Hill is not going to be able to play Sunday, as he is injured and Vegas called up Jiri Patera from the AHL. This could be Patera's first NHL start.
CENTER TO AVOID
Mark Scheifele, WPG at TAM ($20): With the abundance of teams on the second leg of a back-to-back, other elements need to be considered in terms of who to avoid. For example, which teams are on the road? Also, what goalies have been saved for Sunday? The Jets are on the road, and the Lightning saved Andrei Vasilevskiy for this matchup. The veteran goalie has a career .919 save percentage and plenty of hardware to his name.
Tyler Toffoli, CGY vs. OTT ($19): Toffoli's first full season with the Flames has gone swimmingly. He has 26 goals on 210 shots on net, including nine goals in his last 17 games. The Flames are, as I noted, one of only two teams not on the second leg of a back-to-back. This means Toffoli is rested and facing a Senators team that is not, and is also dealing with goalie injuries.
Matthew Boldy, MIN at ARI ($17): Boldy has had some puck luck concerns, as he only has 17 goals on 203 shots on net. On the other hand, that's a lot of shooting, and the Coyotes rank 31st in shots on net allowed per game — and most of that came before they dealt away their two top defensemen. Karel Vejmelka has a .904 save percentage, so shots on him tend to turn out well for the opposition.
WINGS TO AVOID
Clayton Keller, ARI vs. MIN ($19): Keller has been doing just fine after the trade deadline, but he's gotten dealt some bad luck given that the Wild saved Gustavsson for this one. As I mentioned, Gustavsson has an 1.91 GAA and .935 save percentage. Plus, the Wild have a top-eight penalty kill for good measure.
Drake Batherson, OTT at CGY ($17): The Flames haven't gotten great goaltending, but they have only allowed 27.2 shots on net per contest and have an above-average penalty kill. In terms of Batherson, 24 of his 51 points have come with the extra man, and the Senators are on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back as well.
Shea Theodore, VGK at STL ($22): Theodore has been on fire, tallying 14 points and 42 shots on net over his last 15 games. The Blues are in the bottom 10 in shots on goal allowed per contest, and Jordan Binnington will be getting the start in this one. Binnington's glorious rookie campaign is well behind him, as this year he has a 3.31 GAA and .894 save percentage.
Mikhail Sergachev, TAM vs. WPG ($20): This is the flip side of the goaltending situation the Jets are facing. Tampa Bay saved Vasilevskiy for this one, but Winnipeg started Connor Hellebuyck on Saturday. That leaves David Rittich to start Sunday. Rittich has a .906 save percentage this year, and a career .905 save percentage. As for Sergachev, he has four multi-point games in his last six outings.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Dougie Hamilton, NJD vs. CAR ($28): Hamilton's lofty salary may be hard to justify against his old team. The Hurricanes are first in shots on net allowed per game and in the top five on the penalty kill. Hamilton's DFS value comes from his shooting prowess and his power-play acumen, so this matchup is tough for the defenseman.
Shayne Gostisbehere, CAR at NJD ($18): Gostisbehere has four points in five games since joining the Hurricanes, but he's also seen his minutes drop considerably. It's not likely he can sustain this, especially with Brent Burns around to play first-unit power-play minutes. The Devils are in the top five in shots on net allowed per game, and Vitek Vanecek has a 2.55 GAA this season.