This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
The league's climate feels different following the trade deadline as it often does, as the true contenders are starting to separate from the pretenders. The Flames made a statement with a 5-2 road win over the Bruins on Thursday, while the Maple Leafs continue to battle the drama with a big win over the front-running Lightning. It's an exciting time of year, so get in on the DFS action tonight.
Andrei Vasilevskiy ($9,200) has allowed a whopping 16 goals over his last three starts – all losses. The Blackhawks have been quite inconsistent lately, but they put up five goals on Jordan Binnington ($8,600) on Tuesday, so it may be worth fading Vasilevskiy tonight.
This looks like a place where Jaroslav Halak ($8,700) could get a spot start. He's been an overall solid No. 2 this season behind Tuukka Rask, and this matchup is favorable, as the Stars have scored 2.28 G/60 at even strength this month.
Ilya Samsonov ($7,700) is in a slump and likely won't be a popular pick in fantasy circles, but the rookie has been comfortable on the road this year with a 10-1-0 record and .916 save percentage. The Jets rank 27th in February with 2.08 xGF/60, per Natural Stat Trick.
MacKenzie Blackwood ($7,700) carries a six-game win streak into this contest, and he has a .970 save percentage in that stretch. Meanwhile, the Sharks have headed the other direction with five straight losses.
With Jacob Markstrom (lower body) out for two-plus weeks, Thatcher Demko ($7,600) will get an extended look in the crease. He's been inconsistent since the calendar flipped to 2020, but this matchup is superb against the rebuilding Senators, who have posted 1.75 GF/60 at even strength in February.
The pressure is on Dylan Larkin ($6,600) to lead the franchise in the rebuild, and he's answered the call of late with a four-game, six-point streak. The matchup against Minnesota is desirable, too, as they've been carved up for 14 goals over the past four contests.
If you're on board for the Vasilevskiy fade, Dominik Kubalik ($5,600) is the winger for you. He's been a key cog to keeping the Blackhawks afloat with seven points over the past six games, and he has a whopping 21 goals in his rookie season.
Max Domi ($4,900) is heating up with six points in five games, and this is an opportunity to add to his 11 power-play points, as the Rangers rank 30th this month with 9.76 xGA/60 while down a man.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Washington Capitals (TOTAL: $20,600)
Ovechkin continues to make history on his quest to catch Gretzky, but now head coach Todd Reirden is trying Kuznetsov as his centerman. And it's paying off, as the pivot has three assists over four games, so the tandem will look to gear up against the Jets' 22nd-ranked goaltending in February.
Toronto Maple Leafs (TOTAL: $17,200)
The Maple Leafs are in a bit of a rough patch. But their offensive upside is undeniable, and the Panthers' crease hasn't been dependable in February, allowing 2.93 G/60 at even strength – the fifth-most in the league. Nylander is on a tear with a point in 15 of the last 17 games, and Tavares is on a similar trajectory with 14 points over 10 contests.
David Rittich has struggled immensely at home this year with an .897 save percentage, so look for Roman Josi ($6,300) to vie for his ceiling. Even if he falls short, the veteran blueliner has directed three or more shots on net in nine of 12 games in February.
Charlie McAvoy ($5,200) has rung up two goals and three helpers over six games, and he runs the second power-play unit. The Stars have shown some issues on the backend lately, and more importantly, with the sixth-worst PK at 9.02 GA/60 this month.
Ryan Pulock ($5,100) is poised to reach career highs across the categories, and he's been especially good over the last 14 games, producing nine points, 26 shots and 35 blocked shots. It's an impressive floor, and he quarterbacks the second power play, too, which will be up against the Blues' 28th-ranked February PK (9.36 GA/60).