While the focus may be on the NFL this weekend, the NHL has a nice eight-game slate on Saturday to partake in on DraftKings. Last night some key skaters underwhelmed and there were more high-scoring efforts as teams are still getting there defensive whits under them. Saturday night promises to have some exciting end to end action so don't forget to check in on some hockey in between NFL games!

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Key Skaters

Auston Matthews, TOR (DK $8,200)

  • Matthews simply did not show up last night against a team he's destroyed over his career. His three shots on goal which came late in the evening were uninspiring, to say the least. 
  • Matthews has just one point in his first two games of the season, an assist, despite have 10 shots on goal. However, I can't see him being held down again. This has the making of a monster effort by Matthews in a bounce-back spot for him and his teammates.

Brady Tkachuk, OTT (DK $6,400)

  • Relying on Frederik Andersen last night was a mistake and I had a bad feeling about Tkachuk being a problem before the puck even dropped. For a young player, Tkachuk plays the forward position like a veteran knowing where to get position in the dirty areas and generates high-danger scoring chances. 
  • Tkachuk was second in the league last season in high-danger chances per 60 minutes at 5v5 and was third in shots per 60 at 5v5. Toronto's defense is lacking as we saw on Friday night against this same Senators team and Tkachuk will look to build on his three-point, five-shot effort.

Mathew Barzal, NYI (DK $6,900)

  • The Islanders are a generally defensive-minded team that focuses on puck position and limiting scoring chances. With that being said, in a good matchup, Barzal and his linemates Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee are very dangerous. A good matchup is what Barzal has against a Rangers team that is going to struggle defensively all season, especially on the back end. 
  • Barzal had a goal on five shots in the Islanders' first game against the Rangers and was on the ice for 20 minutes. There may be some bigger-names and higher-priced options at the center spot on Saturday, but Barzal undoubtedly has one of the better matchups on the slate at a sub-7K salary.

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Favorite Stacks

*Note: Lines are subject to change depending on morning skate lines. Revert to the chat and/or look for updates here for any impact they may have.

Vegas Golden Knights

Stephenson - Stone - Pacioretty - Pietrangelo

  • The Golden Knights face the Ducks two nights removed from a 5-2 victory against Anaheim. The top line of Chandler Stephenson, Mark Stone, and Max Pacioretty combined for two goals and two assist's while Stone and Pacioretty combined for seven shots. Stephenson offers a lot of value on the top line but doesn't correlate on the power-play unit.
  • For some power-play exposure, Alex Pietrangelo steps up to the top power-play unit on the point after signing a monster contract this past offseason to come to Vegas. Pietrangelo replaces Shea Theodore on the top unit as Theodore moves down to the second unit. Vegas is so deep that you could realistically look at multiple combinations of four or even five skaters to stack tonight. To me this is the four-skater combination that allows for a solid build around taking into account collective salary and upside as a stack.

New York Islanders

Barzal - Lee - Eberle - Pulock

  • The Barzal, Lee, Eberle line combined for three goals, one assist, and 10 shots on goal in their first game against the Rangers and really controlled the puck possession and tempo of the game.
  • While the Islanders are incredibly deep, one of the better four-line groups in the league, their top line all correlate on the power-play, and included in that line is Anders Lee who was third among forwards in high-danger scoring chances per 60 last season. 
  • Ryan Pulock runs the point on the top power-play unit for the Isles and despite not making it onto the scoresheet in his first game, he had some chances with two great looks on net and two shots that did not get through. The Rangers have offensive talent but they are bad defensively and they've shown under David Quinn that they can be undisciplined at times and that showed in the first matchup between these two teams as the Rangers committed eight penalties and allowed two power-play goals.

Montreal Canadiens

Danault - Gallagher - Tatar - Weber

  • Montreal's top line of Danaut, Gallagher, and Tatar skates very well at 5v5. The one complaint I have is that Montreal's power-play units are somewhat out of whack. Edmonton has allowed seven power-play opportunities in their first two games which makes Shea Weber a focal point here as he's on the point for the top power-play unit. While Tatar and Gallagher are listed on the second unit they still get their chances and Gallagher is one of the premier power-forwards in the league.
  • Edmonton has been very poor defensively through two games and much like I said about Pittsburgh's issues the other day, I don't see things getting fixed overnight. 

Other Stacks to Consider

Toronto Maple Leafs

Matthews - Marner - Rielly - Thornton

  • This Leafs group needs to bounce back after a sub-par effort last night against Ottawa and I feel like they will. With Matthews, Marner, and Thornton correlating on the first line and top power-play you could also add Morgan Rielly in there who's as involved with his teams offense as much as any other defenseman in the league.

Vancouver Canucks

Pettersson - Boeser - Hughes - Hoglander

  • Vancouver split their two games against the Oilers to open the season and will now turn to Calgary who dropped a tough one in overtime in their first game against Winnipeg. One note to consider with Vancouver is that their power-play has struggled to start the season being held scoreless in seven opportunities against Edmonton over two games. Calgary was middle of the pack at killing penalties but did commit four penalties on opening night against Winnipeg resulting in one goal. Pettersson and Boeser play a great two man game at even strength, Hoglander is developing quickly and is a great value, and Quinn Hughes is an offensive force on the back end for a fast improving Canucks team.

Top Positional Plays

*Note: Last two listed at each position are value plays.

Center

Sebastian Aho, CAR (DK $7,300)

Bo Horvat, VAN (DK $6,600)

Nick Suzuki, MTL (DK $5,000)

Mikael Backlund, CGY (DK $4,800)

Pierre-Luc Dubois, CBJ (DK $4,300)

Wing

Andrei Svechnikov, CAR (DK $6,900)

William Nylander, TOR (DK $6,800)

Matthew Tkachuk, CGY (DK $5,900)

Tyler Toffoli, MTL (DK $4,600)

Alexis Lafreniere, NYR (DK $3,500)

Defense

Roman Josi, NSH (DK $6,900)

Dougie Hamilton, CAR (DK $6,200)

Jeff Petry, MTL (DK $4,900)

Jonas Brodin, MIN (DK $3,700)

Cam Fowler, ANA (DK $2,800)

Top Goalies

Elvis Merzlikins, CBJ (DK $7,200)

  • I was surprised to see Columbus start Joonas Korpisalo on opening night but he played well with 32 saves even though Columbus fell short. I was surprised because of how well Merzlikins played last season. When you take his .923 save percentage and five shutouts in his first season the result was a fifth place finish in the Vezina Trophy voting (leagues top goaltender) and fifth-place finish in the Calder Trophy voting (rookie of the year). Also, Merzlikins posted a 2.48 adjusted goals against average, for reference Conor Hellebuyck posted a 2.74 adjGAA and he won the Vezina.
  • The script of this game should be very similar to the first matchup. I'm going to look for Columbus to get some more scoring chances even though they sustained solid offensive pressure but Juuse Saros was simply spectacular. Merzlikins is a great option in net and brings with him a favorable salary.

Carey Price, MTL (DK $7,200)

  • Price saw 34 shots in his first start of the season against Toronto and was not great in net. There were a couple of goals that he surely would like to have back but that's simply the way it goes sometimes against a dangerous team like Toronto.
  • Montreal takes on another dangerous offensive team and perhaps the most dangerous offensive player in the league in the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid. No one will roster Price and that's the point here. The Oilers have been notorious for not showing up and Montreal is a good team and solid enough defensively to limit high-danger scoring chances. Price is your boom or bust leverage play in net tonight.

Semyon Varlamov, NYI (DK $7,700) OR Ilya Sorokin, NYI (DK $7,500)

  • Varlamov was very good in the first game against the Rangers, despite being tested just 24 times by the Rangers who looked like they simply did not want to be out there. Fast forward to tonight and I expect to see a more inspired Ranger squad but I still expect Varlamov to stand tall as he did much of last season despite the Rangers getting the best of him on two occasions.
  • Sorokin is the young, up and comer for the Islanders in net, much like Igor Shesterkin is for the Rangers. Over the last two seasons playing in the KHL for CSKA Moscow, Sorokin has been a force starting 40 games in each of the last two campaigns. In the 2018-2019 season Sorokin posted a 1.16 GAA, .940 save percentage, and 11 shutouts. Last season the 25-year-old posted a 1.50 GAA, .935 save perentage, and nine shutouts.
  • Regadless of who starts in net for the Islanders, I expect more volume than Varlamov saw in the first game with very good upside and a good chance of a victory.

Cam Talbot, MIN (DK $8,000)

  • If you want to take the chalk goalie tonight that won't cost you what the starters from Carolina and Vegas will cost than Talbot is your guy.
  • Talbot was bailed out in Minnesota's first game as he spotted the Kings a couple of goals before Minnesota snuck in the back door and pulled out a win in overtime. For the record, I will not be using Talbot at all. However, if you aren't one to lean on a risky goaltender and would rather take a "safe" guy, then Talbot would be the netminder I would lean tonight.