This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Thursday features 13 games, and a lot of the top offensive production comes from the East Coast while the goaltending and defensive value hide in the Western Conference. No teams are playing on the second half of back-to-back games, so it figures to be plenty of No. 1 options in the crease. The slate starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Keep reading for tips on how to set a winning lineup for today's gauntlet.
Tuukka Rask ($8,900) is one of the chalkier plays tonight, and he's been one of the best backstops in the league this year, sporting a 9-2-2 record and .930 save percentage. The Sabres hot start looks like it was a mirage again, as they rank 27th in the league with 51.1 high-danger chances per 60 over the last month, per Natural Stat Trick, so Rask is a superb choice.
The Blues vs. Flames comes in at 5.5 O/U – one of two games with this low of an expected total. It's a warranted tag. Since Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder) got hurt, the Blues rank 28th in the league with 1.87 G/60 at even strength, and the Flames rank dead last in that span with a 1.47 mark. Jordan Binnington ($8,500) and David Rittich ($8,200) are both solid options.
Jacob Markstrom ($7,300) and Thatcher Demko ($7,900) have been switching off in the blue paint, but both are top-tier fantasy values while the latter is a legitimate Calder Trophy contender. The Predators have lost five straight games and averaged just 2.2 GPG in that stretch, paving the way save gamers some salary with a shutdown netminder.
Despite missing the first 11 games of the season, Bryan Rust ($4,800) ranks tied for second on the Penguins with seven goals. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have both missed time, too, but they combined for just eight so far.
Justin Dowling ($4,100) centers a line with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, and he's enjoyed the riches with three goals and a helper over the last four contests. He's earned power-play time as well, and now he'll look to feast on Winnipeg's 26th-ranked penalty kill (73.1 percent).
Andrew Mangiapane ($3,700) is getting the boost to the second line due to a couple of injuries, and he'll play alongside Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan. Mangiapane is solid in his own right, though, as he's recorded a 52.0 Corsi For percentage this year and opportunities with the big dogs should boost him further.
Andrew Copp ($3,700) is averaging 17:34 of ice time in November, and he leads the Jets with 21 shots on net over the last five outings. That provides a solid floor for a winger with a scoring touch to the tune of five points over the past seven contests.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Florida Panthers (TOTAL: $22,300)
This line is averaging a combined 4.25 points per game over eight November outings. Both Barkov and Huberdeau rank in the top-10 in the NHL with 27 and 28 points, respectively. It doesn't look like they'll be slowing down tonight, as the Ducks rank 29rd in the league with 3.08 GA/60 at even strength over the past month.
Colorado Avalanche (TOTAL: $19,000)
It truly doesn't matter who you flank MacKinnon with. It's automatic production. Burakovsky had his first taste of the top line Tuesday and stacked up two goals quickly with MacKinnon providing the helpers. It's been a matchup-proof unit, but it doesn't hurt that Minnesota's goaltenders combine for a 3.33 GAA this season.
Philadelphia Flyers (TOTAL: $14,000)
Frost made his NHL debut Tuesday and lived up to his first-round pedigree, scoring a highlight-reel goal against Sergei Bobrovsky. Hayes is coming off a career-high 55-point season while and van Riemsdyk both is a perennial 25-goal scorer, rounding out a quietly stacked unit. It's cheap, too, coming in at a major bargain against the Hurricanes' suspect defense, which has yielded 2.80 G/60 at even strength – the eight-most in the league.
Two of the most-expensive blueliners come from the Bay Area, as Brent Burns ($7,300) and Erik Karlsson ($6,600) will take on Vegas. Both are off to superb starts, but the duo combines for 17 pointless outings, making it hard to peg when the production will surface.
Sticking with the Sharks-Golden Knights matchup, Nate Schmidt ($4,400) is a promising option. Since returning from a lengthy lower-body injury, the 28-year-old has accrued eight points over 10 games. The blueliner is set up for success once again with the Sharks ranking worst in the league over the past month with 3.66 GA/60.
Oscar Klefbom ($5,700) does it all for the Oilers with 53 shots on net and 67 blocked shots. His well-rounded game makes him a high-floor blueliner, but his offensive touch has come around thanks to 10 power-play assists.
It's a broken record at this point, but Cale Makar ($5,100) is still underpriced. We'll keep plugging him in until that changes. The 20-year-old has 23 points – nine on the power play – through 21 games. It helps that he's getting every chance to succeed with 60.2 percent of shifts starting in the offensive zone.