This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
It's a quiet, three-game night in the NHL. The Penguins are a sizeable favorite in Detroit, and Carolina is receiving the most chalk at home against the Ducks. The marquee matchup of the evening, which is also a potential high-scoring affair takes place between Tampa Bay and Winnipeg at Bell MTS Place.
While it's been a down year overall for Matt Murray ($8,200), he lands in a cushy matchup and has won three straight starts with a .916 save percentage. Detroit has scored the fewest five-on-five goals per 60 minutes in the league and won just 12 of 47 games. Just note, the Penguins are playing their second consecutive road game after losing 4-1 in Boston on Thursday.
Loading up Andrei Vasilevskiy ($8,000) in a potentially tough road matchup is risky, his salary doesn't match his recent stretch of dominant play. He's won nine consecutive starts with a .943 save percentage and 1.77 GAA. Additionally, the Jets rank last in the league in expected goals per hour at five-on-five (1.89) this season.
Petr Mrazek ($8,300) or James Reimer ($8,300) are also strong options against Anaheim. The Ducks are 7-15-2 on the road with just 2.29 goals per game. This will also be their fourth consecutive away contest, and Carolina owns the best Corsi For percentage on home ice in the league.
Dylan Larkin ($5,200) has found the scoresheet in eight of his past nine contests for three goals, six assists, 24 shots and nine blocks.He's also attempted an impressive 22 shots through his past three outings. With Pittsburgh playing its second game in consecutive nights, and Matt Murray ($8,200) owning an .875 save percentage on the road this season, Larkin could be facing a vulnerable opponent. Don't overlook the fact that he'll likely line up opposite Sidney Crosby ($8,000) and Evgeni Malkin ($7,500) most of the night, though.
Finding creative ways to load up a few Lightning could be beneficial Friday. Anthony Cirelli ($4,000) and Tyler Johnson ($3,900) are cheap and skate together at even strength and on the No. 2 power-play unit. They've combined with linemate Steven Stamkos ($7,000) for 3.95 goals per hour at five-on-five, and the Jets also have the third worst penalty-kill percentage in the league. With that in mind, Alex Killorn ($4,700) is lining up down the depth chart at even strength but remains a fixture with the No. 1 power-play unit.
Rickard Rakell ($4,800) is coming off a two-point effort Thursday and has collected two tallies, a helper and 11 shots over his past three games. His price makes him a potential standalone option from the Ducks. Similarly, Filip Zadina ($3,800) could be a bounce-back candidate from the Red Wings. He's missed the scoresheet in three consecutive games despite attempting 12 shots and averaging 3:48 of ice time on the power-play.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
With the Penguins attempting to balance out their lines at even strength, loading up their No. 1 power-play is an approach with Detroit owning the second worst penalty-kill percentage in the league. Sidney Crosby ($8,000), Evgeni Malkin ($7,500), Bryan Rust ($7,100) and Patric Hornqvist ($5,400) combined for 89.5 DraftKings points Tuesday against Minnesota, after all.
Even with Tampa Bay rolling, Winnipeg's No. 1 line probably isn't priced prohibitively enough to ignore. Mark Scheifele ($5,500), Patrik Laine ($6,600) and Kyle Connor ($6,100) have clicked for 20 tallies and 23 three helpers through the past 12 games to improve to a high-end 5.21 goals per hour for the campaign.
Carolina is in the noted soft matchup, so expect plenty of high ownership percentages for the Hurricanes top forwards. Additionally, they've switched up their line combinations, so there's limited five-on-five familiarity amongst their projected two top lines. Jordan Staal ($4,400) is centering Andrei Svechnikov ($5,800) and Teuvo Teravainen ($4,900), while Erik Haula ($4,200) is between Sebastian Aho ($6,300) and Warren Foegele ($3,500). It's important to note that through seven January games, those six forwards have combined for just four multi-point showings. Although, the poor offensive stretch could be twisted to suggest statistical correction of poor puck luck is ahead.
At the top of the salary list, Dougie Hamilton ($6,900), Kris Letang ($6,700) and Victor Hedman ($6,200) all have favorable matchups and rank among the top-20 bluelines in points per hour this season and over the past three years. Letang and Hedman have the advantage of quarterbacking loaded No. 1 power-play units facing poor penalty kills. However, Hamilton's injury scare Thursday could keep his ownership down, but he's obviously also a risk to miss Friday's game entirely.
Logging oodles of minutes and delivering cross-category production, Filip Hronek ($4,000) is an affordable target – albeit in the noted tough matchup. The 22-year-old defenseman has recorded 12 points, 27 shots and 18 blocks while averaging 24:35 of ice time (3:16 with the man advantage) over his past 15 outings.
If Dougie Hamilton ($6,900) doesn't suit up, it could provide a larger offensive role for Jacob Slavin (4,300) and Jake Gardiner ($3,400). Slavin probably offers the higher floor with 22 points, 99 shots and 74 blocks this year, but Gardiner has been the better offensive contributor of late with a goal and four assists over his past seven outings.
Near the contest minimum, Jan Rutta ($2,600) and Sami Niku ($2,600) are options as low-priced flier. Rutta is projected to skate with Victor Hedman ($6,200) in all situations, and the 29-year-old Czech has recorded a solid 56.9 Corsi For percentage while beginning 55.8 percent of his five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone. Niku, on the other hand, has been an excellent offensive contributor at the AHL level with 22 tallies and 58 helpers through 114 games over the past three years.