As we approach the end of the week, the NHL features nine games on a Thursday night that is sure to provide some fireworks. With some high-powered offenses and very forgiving defenses, there are sure to be some high scores atop the leaderboards over at DraftKings on Thursday!
VIEW TONIGHT’S NHL ODDS AND BET ON THE ACTION AT DRAFTKINGS SPORTSBOOK
Auston Matthews, TOR (DK $9,000)
- This may be getting a little redundant, the whole idea of rostering Matthews night in and night out but the facts are this. There’s no one hotter in the league right now than Matthews (points in each of his last 11 games with 12 goals over that span) and Ottawa, one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL is the team that Matthews has had the most success against to this point in his career.
- With four goals and 16 shots in four games against the Senators this season, expect the Matthews onslaught to continue.
Brady Tkachuk, OTT (DK $6,500)
- On the other side of the matchup with Matthews and the Maple Leafs comes Tkachuk, one of the better young power forwards in the NHL and someone who’s had success against the Leafs’ leaky, susceptible defense.
- In four games against Toronto, this season Tkachuk has two goals, three assists, and 18 shots. Tkachuk is also second among forwards in shots per 60, second in expected goals per 60, third in scoring chances per 60, and second in high-danger scoring chances per 60 at 5v5 among forwards this season.
David Pastrnak, BOS (DK $8,900)
- After starting out his season, delayed keep in mind due to hip surgery, Pastrnak was on fire with five goals, three assists, and 22 shots in his first four games. Over his last three games, however, Pasta has been held in check with just two assists and four shots in two matchups against the Rangers and one against the Islanders.
- The Devils, after a lengthy layoff due to COVID protocols, came out against the Rangers the other night emerging victorious by a count of 5-2. MacKenzie Blackwood has been outstanding and was so the other night stopping 37 of 39 shots faced. As good as Blackwood is between the pipes, the underlying numbers are bound to catch up to him sooner than later and that sooner, in my mind is Thursday night.
- Although Blackwood has stood tall, the Devils are allowing the sixth-highest expected goals against mark per 60, while surrendering 26 scoring chances against per 60 and the third-most high-danger scoring chances per 60 (12.64) at 5v5. The Bruins top line is potent, especially with a fully healthy Pastrnak in the fold.
ENTER THURSDAY’S NHL CONTESTS ON DRAFTKINGS
New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal – Anders Lee – Josh Bailey – Jordan Eberle
- Early on this season and for much of last, Barzal, Lee, and Eberle were together at even strength and were one of the more potent even-strength lines in the league, which includes posting a 3.46 expected goal per 60 mark this season. It begs the question as to why coach Barry Trotz bothered splitting them up but that’s obviously not a question for me. In comes Josh Bailey who’s the third leg of the new “Law Firm” for the Isles, a distinction given to the John Tavares, Lee, Bailey line from a few years ago. With all of that being said, Bailey offers a sufficient value at $3,900 on DraftKings as a good distributor of the puck with two assists in each of his last two games.
- Where the strength, in my mind, in this matchup comes into play is on the power-play where Barzal, Lee, and Eberle have been key contributors to a 22 percent success rate. The Penguins have been solid defensively at even strength but their weakness has been in net and notably on the penalty kill. Pittsburgh boasts just a 74 percent kill rate which ranks 25th in the league, attributing to allowing 3.57 goals per game, fourth-most in the NHL.
St. Louis Blues
Ryan O’Reilly – David Perron – Mike Hoffman – Justin Faulk
- Coming into Thursday the Sharks have the fifth-highest expected goals against mark per 60 at 5v5. Additionally, the Sharks have allowed the fifth-most scoring chances per 60 and the sixth-most high-danger scoring chances per 60 at 5v5. The Sharks and Blues have split the two games in which they’ve matched up in this season but despite being shut out in their last game, St. Louis has scored nine goals in their last three affairs.
- The Blues, one of the more sound teams in the league have a potentially potent top line and a power-play unit that should be able to feast on the Sharks’ defense and goaltending which is clearly lacking. St. Louis ranks 11th in the league with 3.19 goals per game while San Jose has allowed 3.57 scores per contest, fourth-most in the NHL. The Blues power-play has yet to get going consistently but should generate their chances against one of the most heavily penalized teams in the league with one of the worst penalty kills. O’Reilly and Peron correlate on the first line while they join Hoffman and Faulk on the top power-play unit, two guys that have been power-play ringers in their careers.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner – Joe Thornton – T.J. Brodie
- Matthews, Marner, and Thornton correlate at the top line and top power-play unit, and coming out of an off night, I look for them to come out fast and potent on the back to back.
- T.J. Brodie, although not seeing power-play time on the top unit for the Leafs the veteran defenseman is a key cog on the second unit. Brodie offers much-needed value in this stack and has correlated well at even strength with the “Matthews line” in his first season with Toronto. With five assists, 16 shots, and 22 blocks on the campaign, Brodie finds himself involved offensively as he’s seen at least 20 minutes of ice-time in all but one game, including over two and a half minutes of power-play time on Wednesday against Ottawa.
Other Stacks to Consider
Columbus Blue Jackets
Jack Roslovic – Patrik Laine – Cam Atkinson – Seth Jones
Sean Couturier – James van Riemsdyk – Joel Farabee – Erik Gustafsson
Top Positional Plays
*Note: The last skater listed at each position is my top value play.
- Patrice Bergeron, BOS (DK $8,300)
- Jack Eichel, BUF (DK $7,900)
- Anze Kopitar, LAK (DK $6,600)
- Josh Norris, OTT (DK $4,500)
- Ryan Strome, NYR (DK $4,300)
- Alex Ovechkin, WAS (DK $8,400)
- Taylor Hall, BUF (DK $7,400)
- Zach Hyman, TOR (DK $6,100)
- Connor Garland, ARI (DK $6,900)
- Jakub Vrana, WAS (DK $4,400)
- Mikael Granlund, NSH (DK $4,600)
- Phil Kessel, ARI (DK $4,000)
- Thomas Chabot, OTT (DK $5,900)
- Adam Fox, NYR (DK $5,700)
- Charlie McAvoy, BOS (DK $5,600)
- Drew Doughty, LAK (DK $6,000)
- Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (DK $4,400)
- Cam Fowler, ANA (DK $3,400)
- Jordan Binnington, STL (DK $8,300)
- Semyon Varlamov, NYI (DK $7,600)
- John Gibson, ANA (DK $7,600)
- Elvis Merzlikins, CBJ (DK $7,800)