DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown

DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.

Thursday's NHL slate features Game 2s from four different first-round playoff series after 7:00 p.m. EDT. Below, you'll find a breakdown of the action and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.


Colorado's an overwhelming home favorite after a blowout Game 1 win over Nashville. The Panthers and Flames are also substantial home favorites against the Capitals and Stars, respectively, with Washington-Florida tying Nashville-Colorado for the evening's highest over/under (6.5 goals). Penguins-Rangers is more of a toss-up, with New York slightly favored on home ice.


Igor Shesterkin, NYR vs. PIT ($8,500): Shesterkin didn't have his A-game in Game 1 but still came away with a performance for the history books, turning aside 79 shots before Evgeni Malkin beat him for the game-winner in triple overtime. The Rangers deserved a better fate in that game and should get it in Game 2 behind the Vezina Trophy favorite.

Darcy Kuemper, COL vs. NSH ($8,400): This series appears to be about as large of a mismatch as you'll see in playoff hockey, making Kuemper a safe choice. He made 23 saves in the 7-2 Game 1 win, and Colorado should continue to dominate the Predators at Ball Arena, where the Avs went 32-5-4 in the regular season.

Jacob Markstrom, CGY vs. DAL ($8,100): After leading the league with nine shutouts in the regular season, Markstrom added another in his first game of the postseason. He faced just 16 shots in Tuesday's 1-0 win, as Dallas struggled to generate opportunities against the stout Flames defense. A similar result is likely in Game 2.

Vitek Vanecek, WAS at FLA ($7,800): Vanecek was solid in Game 1, making 30 saves in a 4-2 win. Florida had the league's best offense in the regular season, but the Panthers have yet to prove they can adapt to the tighter-checking style of the postseason. While he's a risky pick, going with Vanecek here could certainly pay off.


Roope Hintz, DAL at CGY ($5,700): Hintz is as good a candidate as anyone on the Stars to solve Markstrom after nobody could do it Tuesday. The top-line center finished the regular season with a 7-7-14 line in his last 11 games. Overall, he had a 37-34-71 line in his last 70 appearances after an ice-cold start to the campaign.

Bryan Rust, PIT at NYR ($5,000): Rust was extremely productive in Game 1, notching a power-play goal and two assists in regulation before continuing to pile up shots during the overtimes for a grand total of nine. Despite that performance, he's by far the most affordable member of what was the best line for either team in the series opener.

Matt Duchene, NSH at COL ($4,900): It's not hard to determine who was Nashville's best player in Game 1, as Duchene scored both of his team's goals in the 7-2 drubbing. A similar game script could well unfold in Game 2, which would benefit Duchene in a fantasy sense. Dating back to the regular season, he has a nine-game point streak going, with seven goals and six assists over that stretch.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, WAS at FLA ($4,900): Kuznetsov is arguably the key to the Capitals' playoff hopes, as you know you'll get inspired efforts from Alex Ovechkin but he needs help. The Russian center provided that help in the 2018 Stanley Cup run with a 12-20-32 line in 24 games. Kuznetsov also did so in Game 1, scoring the game-tying goal in the third period and totaling four shots.

Sam Bennett, FLA vs. WAS ($4,400): Bennett was all over the ice in Game 1, scoring one of Florida's two goals and throwing eight hits. He's built for the playoffs and has an 8-11-19 line in his last 21 playoff games. Skating on a line with 115-point producer Jonathan Huberdeau should allow Bennett to continue outplaying his modest $4,400 valuation.


Avalanche vs. Predators

Nathan MacKinnon (C - $8,900), Mikko Rantanen (W - $7,000), Valeri Nichushkin (W - $4,700)

MacKinnon and Rantanen each posted three points in the 7-2 Game 1 blowout, including two goals from MacKinnon. Nichushkin added an assist and should continue to benefit from being deployed alongside Colorado's top two forwards at even strength. With starting Nashville goalie Juuse Saros (lower body) still sidelined, look for Colorado's top line to dominate once again in Game 2 against either David Rittich or Connor Ingram.

Flames vs. Stars

Elias Lindholm (C - $6,000), Johnny Gaudreau (W - $6,600), Matthew Tkachuk (W - $5,700)

This trio combined to generate the only goal in Game 1, displaying the chemistry they showed in the regular season en route to 40-goal seasons for all three of these guys. Considering Gaudreau had 115 points, Tkachuk had 104 and Lindholm totaled 82 in the regular season before potting the lone Game 1 tally, these guys are all bargains at their respective valuations. The Stars will likely have no choice but to take more chances in Game 2 after getting just 16 shots in the series opener, and this line should capitalize on the additional open ice.

Rangers vs. Penguins

Mika Zibanejad (C - $6,200), Chris Kreider (W - $5,900), Frank Vatrano (W - $4,000) 

Between having to play against both the Penguins and the zebras, Game 1 felt like a bad Madagascar movie for the Rangers. The controversial goalie interference call that took away New York's game-winner late in regulation helped the Penguins eventually win the battle in triple overtime, but it may have inadvertently put the Rangers closer to winning the war, as Pittsburgh goalie Casey DeSmith went on to exit in the second overtime due to a lower-body injury. Zibanejad and Kreider both had multi-point performances in Game 1 and should be able to repeat those feats, especially if Pittsburgh's forced to turn to third-string goalie Louis Domingue for the entire game. Even with his inability to mark the scoresheet in the series opener, Vatrano has eight goals and five assists in 23 games for the Rangers.


Cale Makar, COL vs. NSH ($7,900): Makar was the third Avalanche player to produce three points in Game 1, alongside MacKinnon and Rantanen. That productivity wasn't surprising given the offensive prowess all three stars displayed in the regular season. In Makar's case, he led all defensemen in goals and finished second in points with a 28-58-86 line.

John Carlson, WAS at FLA ($5,300): Carlson's upside relative to his valuation is hard to ignore. He was one of five blueliners to eclipse the 70-point mark with a 17-54-71 line in the regular season, marking the third time in the last four years Carlson has reached that threshold. Considering he also piles up shots and blocks, Carlson's a steal at just $5,300.

Noah Hanifin, DAL at CGY ($4,700): Hanifin was held off the scoresheet in the series opener, but his usage was promising. He was deployed like a true No. 1 defenseman, amassing 25:21 of ice time with four shots and two blocks. The points will come if he keeps getting used in this way, as Hanifin closed out the regular season with a 3-11-14 line in his last 12 games.

Brandon Montour, FLA vs. WAS ($3,500): Montour had an assist in Game 1, building on his productive finish to the regular season, which saw him post a 2-7-9 line in his last 12 games. With Aaron Ekblad still building back up in his return from a lower-body injury, the Panthers will need the likes of Montour to continue to step up offensively.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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