Thursday fantasy hockey tips: NHL picks, matchups, more

Johnny Gaudreau of the Columbus Blue Jackets has 10 points in his past 14 games. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

If the playoffs began today, two of Thursday's matchups might very well be on the docket anyway.

One has to assume the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils won't pull any punches in the final of four regular-season meetings for the potential first-round playoff opponents. The Devils have the season series lead at 2-1, but the two latest games both went to overtime.

The Los Angeles Kings visit the Edmonton Oilers with two wins in their pocket against them this season and the teams will play a fourth time in April.

Those potential playoff previews are among a slate of 11 games. As for back-to-backs, the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals are coming off games on Wednesday, with the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers also in action on Friday.

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All times Eastern.

Favorable scoring matchups

Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins

7 p.m., TD Garden, Watch live on ESPN+

This will be a good measuring stick for whether the Bruins are going to rest some of their veterans ahead of the postseason. A matchup against the last-place team in the league that allows the most goals? They don't need Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand or David Krejci to still be favored to win. Keep an eye on this situation as it should inform some other games down the stretch. If they all play, perhaps maintenance days won't be an issue despite their position being solidified. Either way, look for plenty of goals from the Bruins side, but don't overlook the Blue Jackets top line either. Johnny Gaudreau is playing more like Johnny Gaudreau lately, with 14 points in 10 games on a top line with Boone Jenner and Kirill Marchenko.

Florida Panthers at Montreal Canadiens

7 p.m., Bell Centre, Watch live on ESPN+

Both teams are in the top half of the league for five-on-five goals per 60 in the past month and both teams are vulnerable to power plays. The Panthers have scored 22 goals in three previous meetings with the Habs this season, with both teams combining for 31 total goals. Don't be shy with your Panthers and feel free to use the Canadiens top line, too.

Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers

9 p.m., Rogers Place, Watch live on ESPN+

The Oilers are first in five-on-five goals per 60 in the past month, but the Kings rank fourth. Both teams will look to leave an impression in case they meet again in the first round of the playoffs.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

Anton Lundell, C, Florida Panthers (36.3%): Playing second-line center with Sam Bennett sidelined, Lundell was joined on the wing by Matthew Tkachuk and potted a goal on Wednesday.

See also:

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Jakub Vrana, C/W, St. Louis Blues (37.6%): In 12 games as a member of the Blues, Vrana has posted eight goals and 10 points with 40 shots on goal. He's coming off a two-goal outing against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday in this matchup with the Hawks.

Sammy Blais, W, St. Louis Blues (6.7%): He's even getting top power-play time with the Blues offense now. Scoring goals and throwing checks, he's worked his way into fantasy lineups.

Nicolas Roy, C/W, Vegas Golden Knights (1.4%): Subbing for the injured Reilly Smith on the William Karlsson line, Roy has fired 12 shots in two games with the role. He also joins the top power-play unit with Jack Eichel. Speaking of that power play, Alex Pietrangelo will probably pull double duty with Shea Theodore sitting this one out.

See also:

Mid-tier fantasy defensemen

Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators (14.3%): Despite his low rostership percentage, Sanderson rockets into mid-tier with news that Thomas Chabot is joining Jakob Chychrun on the sidelines for a couple of weeks. Sanderson had already pushed his way onto the top power-play unit in recent outings and now he doesn't have any competition for the role. The Flyers have allowed 12 power-play goals in the past month.

Tyson Barrie, D, Nashville Predators (77.3%): With Roman Josi out of the lineup, Barrie has enjoyed a resurgence on the Preds blue line, notching 2.0 fantasy points per game across his last nine and seven points in his last seven. Trouble is, Josi is with the Preds on this road trip and could make his return in Pittsburgh. Keep en eye on the lineup before using Barrie.

See also:

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen

K'Andre Miller, D, New York Rangers (29.1%): Miller doesn't generate any of his 2.5 fantasy points per game over his past eight outings on the advantage, which is a good thing for this Rangers-Devils matchup as both teams have only allowed two power-play goals apiece in the past month.

See also:


Tristan Jarry, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (86.3%): After serving as backup for the past two games after returning from a lower-body injury, Jarry is surely chomping at the bit to be back in the crease after the Red Wings put six goals past Casey DeSmith on Tuesday. The visiting Predators rank 31st in five-on-five goals per 60 in the past month as their offense continues to lose key cogs.

Philipp Grubauer, G, Seattle Kraken (9.1%): The ice should heavily tilt in the Kraken's favor in this matchup against the Ducks, which helps counter Grubauer's up-and-down performances of late. This really should be an easy win and fantasy points and is probably the best matchup for goaltender streaming.

Cam Talbot, G, Ottawa Senators (42.2%): Returning from his most recent stint on the injured reserve, Talbot will likely earn the home start against the visiting Flyers. The rub here is that the Sens are down their two best defensemen and the Flyers have been winning games they have no right to, so there is risk.

Laurent Brossoit, Vegas Golden Knights (1.0%): After Jonathan Quick got lit up by the Oilers, there is a chance the Golden Knights go back to Brossoit, who defeated the Oilers in his last outing. This is a prime matchup with the Sharks offense that might be running low on rabbits to pull out of its hat like it did for a 3-0 win over Winnipeg on Tuesday.

Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Detroit Red Wings (1.5%): Confirmed for the start on Thursday, Nedeljkovic faces his former team for the first time this season. He won in two of three starts against them last season, including a shutout, so there may be a revenge narrative still lingering here. He earned his the win in his first start since December on Tuesday -- albeit while letting in four goals.

Bench 'em

Rasmus Sandin, D, Washington Capitals (16.1%): It's been three games back for John Carlson and the fantasy results for Sandin in that span confirm that his magical run for fantasy managers has come to a close.