This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
There are nine games on tap in the National Hockey League this Thursday, and several teams will be playing for their playoff lives. In fact, the Islanders-Flyers game is an elimination game of sorts, as the loser of that battle can likely start making early tee times. The Hurricanes and Lightning are playing at home in key games, and both need to stay hot. Teams playing with desperation are very attractive to fantasy owners, especially as opposed to using guys on squads that have already been eliminated and are thinking about the offseason.
Let's get started.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TAM vs. DET ($8,300): The Lightning goaltender will be facing a Red Wings team playing out the string, as their 25-year playoff run has officially come to an end. It's hard to imagine the Red Wings will have much fight, especially with the Lightning still in the hunt for a postseason spot of their own. Vasilevskiy has won back-to-back starts, including a 2-1 win at Detroit on Friday.
Aleksander Barkov, FLA at MON ($6,100): Barkov is performing at a point-per-game clip, posting two goals and five points over the past five outings. While he's been much more productive at home than on the road, he has managed 23 blocked shots on the road to just seven at home. Whether it's on the offensive or defensive end, Barkov usually is right in the mix. While Florida has little to play for down the stretch, Barkov is not showing any signs of quitting.
Dominic Moore, BOS vs. DAL ($3,400): Moore has been an outstanding value lately for DFS players. He's picked up four assists during his three-game point streak, and he's rolled up two goals and seven points over the past eight contests. That's about as hot as you can expect the veteran checking-line center to be, but he has shown no signs of cooling off. Including him will allow you to save thousands to allocate elsewhere, and this is a strong matchup against a weak Dallas defense.
Nikita Kucherov, TAM vs. DET ($8,000): You'll want to save up salary to use Kucherov. After all, he's a major reason the Lightning are still alive for a postseason spot, delivering 10 goals with 17 points over the past 10 games, including five goals and eight points on the power play. He posted a goal, an assist and a blocked shot with seven fantasy points in Friday's game at Detroit. Kucherov has three consecutive multi-point games at home, so there isn't much reason to fade him against Detroit's unimpressive defense.
Elias Lindholm, CAR vs. CLM ($4,900): The young Lindholm leads the team with 32 assists, and he has five goals and 12 points over his past 12 games. He's really starting to come on in his fourth NHL season, as he's already set a new career high with 43 points. The Swede has managed five points in shorthanded situations this season, and he's second in the NHL with four helpers while his team is a man down.
Rickard Rakell, ANA at WPG ($6,200): Rakell has posted a goal with four points over his past three road games, and he faces a Jets team that ranks 28th in high-danger save percentage at .851. He leads the team by a large margin with 32 goals, and five of those have come on the man advantage. Conversely, the Jets own the league's second-worst penalty-killing unit at 76.9 percent.
Roman Josi, NAS vs. TOR ($6,400): Josi hasn't flicked on the goal lamp in the month of March, but he has posted nine assists over his past 10 outings, so he's staying extremely fantasy relevant. He quarterbacks the power-play unit in the Music City and is always a threat to score. In addition, Josi's posted a healthy amount of blocked shots (112), offering DFS players another avenue to points. The Maple Leafs are fourth in the NHL with 32.1 shots per game, so you can expect Josi to step in front of a few shots in this East vs. West matchup.
Shea Weber, MON vs. FLA ($5,800): Weber is the whole package, but he comes at a cut-rate price. Not only does he offer plenty of offense with 17 goals and 25 assists, but he's averaged more than two blocked shots per game. Using Weber is like starting out with one automatic point ahead of everyone else. And the Panthers have squeezed off 32.4 shots per game (third in the NHL), so there will be plenty of opportunities for him to step in front of pucks Thursday.