This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
It's a busy 11-game Thursday with the Stars and Blackhawks the only two teams playing a back-to-back. The Devils and Hurricanes will be well-rested having had two days off, but they're not as lucky as both the Penguins and Sabres, who are playing their first games this week. Whether the result is extra jump or some rust remains to be seen.
There are a few marquee matchups, including Canucks at Wild and Stars at Flames, as the Western Conference playoff race really heats up. For the others, including Bruins at Penguins and Maple Leafs at Lightning, the bigger implications will be playoff seeding.
Jacob Markstrom, CGY vs. DAL ($7,900): True, the Stars have been quite good on the road in the second half of the season, but they are also playing the second half of a back-to-back. The Flames should provide plenty of goal support having scored seven goals on the Stars in their previous two meetings, and expected Jake Oettinger hasn't been particularly sharp. Markstrom's career numbers against the Stars haven't been good, but he's also coming off two straight wins with only three goals allowed.
Ville Husso, STL at SJ ($7,800): Husso is expected to start and has not lost in regulation since March 26. He's the far better option than Jordan Binnington, and the Blues have a huge edge over the Sharks with their depth and talent. The Blues are 2-0-0 in the season series with a plus-5 goal differential.
Jonathan Quick, LA vs. CHI ($7,700): Quick's not getting goal support but he doesn't really need to with only two goals allowed in his past two games. The Hawks offense should provide a stiffer challenge than either the Ducks or Jackets, though Quick was victorious in their previous meeting with 18 saves on 20 shots.
Marc-Andre Fleury, MIN vs. VAN ($7,600): Fleury will likely draw the start under the Wild's current rotation, though Cam Talbot is also a good choice coming off a shutout win in his previous start. The two meetings have been close this season, but the Wild are 2-0-0 and the Canucks have injuries to numerous key players and may be starting a very tired Thatcher Demko, who was supposed to have the night off on Tuesday but ended up coming in relief for the injured Jaroslav Halak.
Joe Veleno, DET at FLA ($3,200): With Dylan Larkin out for the season, Veleno has stepped in as the No. 1 center between Tyler Bertuzzi and Lucas Raymond. Though Veleno has not registered a point since March 22, he played 17 minutes and fired three shots on goal last game. As bad as the Wings are, the Panthers are unlikely to keep them off the board given their propensity to allow scoring chances.
Vasily Podkolzin, VAN at MIN ($4,000): The young Russian winger has been very good since being moved into the top six, and will likely continue to play with top scorer J.T. Miller and Conor Garland. Podkolzin had his three-game point streak snapped against the Sens but managed to put five shots on goal and there's extra value now that he's on the top power play unit.
Sabres at Devils
The Sabres mixed it up a little bit, swapping Mittelstadt for Tage Thompson, which helps bring the cost of this line stack down. The Devils have had very poor goaltending all season and allow 3.62 goals per game, the sixth-highest mark in the league. Mittelstadt has been quiet on offense but all three will feature on the top power play unit.
Flames vs. Stars
It's an expensive stack but could be very worthwhile since they've combined for six points in two games against the Stars this season. They will be facing a team that should be pretty tired having played Wednesday night in Edmonton, and based on their recent play, the Flames draw the easier matchup with Oettinger in net for the Stars. It's also worth noting the Flames PP is better at home (24.8%) than on the road (21.4%).
Blues at Sharks
Thomas is a steal at this salary and Buchnevich has a chance to extend his point streak to 12 games. The Sharks have lost 10 of their past 11 games and allowed at least four goals seven times. Though the Blues tend to roll three very good offensive lines, this one's been their best in recent weeks.
Rasmus Dahlin, BUF at NJ ($6,000): Dahlin quietly hit the 50-point mark in his last game and now has two goals and four points in his past four games. Don Granato has figured out how to deploy Dahlin on the ice and it's paid huge dividends; expect that to continue against the Devils. He's already got two helpers in two previous games against them this season.
Tony DeAngelo, CAR vs. WPG ($5,900): DeAngelo hasn't scored a goal since March 22 and over his past nine games has only managed to earn three assists, so he's been struggling just like the rest of the team. However, the Jets have the third-worst PK in the league and may be without top goalie Connor Hellebuyck. If the Canes can draw penalties – they typically don't – DeAngelo has a good chance to score a few points. The only defenseman in this price range who might have more upside than DeAngelo is Vancouver's Quinn Hughes, but he draws a tougher matchup with a road game against the Wild.