Lineup picks, matchups, start or sit advice for Thursday
A 12-game Thursday has all but eight NHL teams in action, so you should have mostly full lineups. Despite the busy slate, only the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing in a back-to-back after defeating the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
There are two rematches of a home-and-home series from Tuesday though, as the New York Rangers visit the Carolina Hurricanes after losing in New York, while the St. Louis Blues visit the Detroit Red Wings after losing at home.
There is also a fun narrative in Nashville, as Eeli Tolvanen gets to return with the Seattle Kraken for the first time since being waived by the Predators and becoming one of the Kraken’s best goal scorers. His 13 goals since he made his Kraken debut on Jan. 1 are more than any member of the Predators has managed — even besting Tommy Novak‘s 12 goals.
With full lineups for most fantasy managers, keep an eye on the day-to-day injuries. Jared Spurgeon, Sam Bennett, Anthony Duclair, Troy Terry, Josh Anderson, Roman Josi, Jeff Petry, Philipp Grubauer and Darcy Kuemper are all questionable to play, while Filip Forsberg, Tyler Seguin and John Carlson are in line to potentially return for their teams.
Resources: Goalie depth chart | Injuries | Schedule | How to watch on ESPN+ | Download the ESPN Fantasy App | Daily lines
All times Eastern.
Favorable scoring matchups
7 p.m., Capital One Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
Alex Ovechkin potted a hat trick plus a helper when these teams met in December. The Blackhawks are what they are, but the Capitals haven’t been stalwart in the crease either. In the past month at five-on-five, only three teams have allowed more goals against per 60 than the Capitals. Keep an eye on Carlson potentially suiting up and see how he gets deployed. Rasmus Sandin stands to lose some shine if Carlson comes back full steam ahead.
9 p.m., American Airlines Center, Watch live on ESPN+
The Penguins will likely have backup Casey DeSmith in the crease and the Stars have been struggling to prevent. In the past month at five-on-five, only four teams have allowed more goals against per 60 than the Stars (that’s right, they rank one spot ahead of the Capitals). Rickard Rakell is not only showing up on the score sheet (six points in eight games), but has 18 hits in his past eight games to average 2.2 fantasy points. Wyatt Johnston will be looking to make it six games in a row (and eight of the past 10) with a goal.
10 p.m., Rogers Arena, Watch live on ESPN+
The Canucks have scored 16 goals in three games against the Sharks this season — and all three of those games were in 2022, well before the Sharks became one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Take anyone from the Canucks top six for your lineup, including Brock Boeser and Anthony Beauvillier, who also get top power-play time.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
Martin Necas, C/W, Carolina Hurricanes (81.9%): With Andrei Svechnikov sidelined, Necas appears to be locked in with Sebastian Aho on the top line as his replacement.
Jamie Benn, C/W, Dallas Stars (87.3%)
Rickard Rakell, C/W, Pittsburgh Penguins (77.1%)
Vincent Trocheck, C, New York Rangers (84.3%)
Andrei Kuzmenko, W, Vancouver Canucks (70.8%)
Jonathan Marchessault, W, Vegas Golden Knights (79.0%)
Carter Verhaeghe, C/W, Florida Panthers (78.2%)
Brandon Hagel, W, Tampa Bay Lightning (71.8%)
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Dylan Strome, C/W, Washington Capitals (35.0%): Locked in with Ovechkin on the top line and top power play, Strome has 2.4 fantasy points per game over his past seven.
Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary Flames (22.8%): Playing with Blake Coleman and Jonathan Huberdeau at even strength, and rolling on the power play with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli, Backlund is getting exposed to the best of all worlds with the Flames. The team should have some confidence after rolling the Golden Knights 7-2 last week, too.
Jakub Vrana, C/W, St. Louis Blues (36.8%): Vrana whiffed on his own revenge narrative on Tuesday against the Red Wings. He’ll get a second chance here.
Jason Zucker, W, Pittsburgh Penguins (32.5%)
Owen Tippett, W, Philadelphia Flyers (22.7%)
Eeli Tolvanen, W, Seattle Kraken (5.8%)
Wyatt Johnston, C, Dallas Stars (3.2%)
Tommy Novak, C, Nashville Predators (9.3%)
Marcus Johansson, C/W, Minnesota Wild (1.2%)
Taylor Raddysh, W, Chicago Blackhawks (2.2%)
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Tyson Barrie, D, Nashville Predators (75.3%): If Josi sits out another contest, Barrie will get full run on the Preds top power-play unit again.
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen
John Klingberg, D, Minnesota Wild (58.9%): The Flyers have not been managing penalty kills well of late, allowing 13 power-play goals in the past month (only Arizona has allowed more). Klingberg will be on the point when the Wild have an advantage. Though it’s notable that the Wild have the fewest power-play goals in the league in the past month.
Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Minnesota Wild (67.9%): While they are on the road against the Flyers, the Wild will be favored for their ability to prevent scoring anywhere and with either goaltender in the crease. It should be Fleury’s turn here with Filip Gustavsson having started on Tuesday.
Jeremy Swayman, G, Boston Bruins (72.6%): If the Bruins keep on a straight rotation of their goaltenders, Swayman will draw in for this matchup with the Canadiens. Swayman has topped 10.0 fantasy points in each of his past two starts.
Thatcher Demko, G, Vancouver Canucks (47.9%): The win points should be a near lock for Demko as the Canucks host the Sharks, a team with two Ws since Valentine’s Day. Since getting Demko back in the fold, the Canucks have turned a bit of a corner when it comes to defense. The team ranks sixth in the NHL at five-on-five for fewest goals against per 60 in the past month.
Philipp Grubauer, G, Seattle Kraken (9.3%): It’s not clear Thursday morning if Grubauer will be over his illness and back in the Kraken crease. If the Fleury’s and Swayman’s and Demko’s of the world are not available in your league, Grubauer should be. The Kraken face the Predators in an above-average matchup for the visiting side’s goaltender.