Friday fantasy hockey tips – NHL picks, matchups, more

By | December 23, 2022

Nearly there. With only hours to go ahead of the holiday break, 11 games speckle Friday’s spirited NHL slate. (Detroit/Ottawa canceled due to weather.) Considering no one wants to tuck into their turkey coming off a loss, we might expect a little extra pep in everyone’s step in closing the first significant chapter of 2022-23.

Highlights include the Predators seeking revenge at home after last week’s tight road loss in Colorado. Don’t look now, but Nashville appears to be turning matters around after an otherwise lousy December. Elsewhere the Hurricanes endeavor to win their eighth-straight at home to the Flyers, the Bruins aspire to hand the Devils their seventh loss in eight, and the Blue Jackets hope to win their first since Dec. 11 against the floundering Blackhawks.

To launch the pre-holiday festivities, Alex Ovechkin will once more try to tie Gordie Howe’s record of 801 regular-season goals. After failing to do so in four-straight, perhaps Ovi will finally meet up with Mr. Hockey against the visiting Jets. He scored on Connor Hellebuyck at their last meeting in Winnipeg, less than two weeks ago. Playing their second in as many nights, coach Rick Bowness is expected to offer backup David Rittich the start in Washington.

Resources: Goalie depth chart | Injuries | Scheduling | How to watch on ESPN+ | Sign up for ESPN Fantasy Hockey | Download the ESPN Fantasy App | Daily lines

All times Eastern.

Favorable scoring match-ups

10:30 p.m. Honda Center, Watch live on ESPN+

There was plenty of talk about how Calgary – underachieving of late – needed to make the most of this current road trip through California. Securing two wins in San Jose and an overtime loss to the Kings, along with five of a possible six points, they’re not falling too short.

Darryl Sutter’s crew can now make it seven of eight with a win over a Ducks club that has allowed an average of 4.18 goals/game in December (and essentially all season). The Flames are scoring again. The players we expect production from, along with others like Dillon Dube, who’s lighting it up on a top line with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli, and Milan Lucic, who’s competing alongside Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau.

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

Vancouver’s perpetually suspect defense isn’t likely to be anything near its best version after coming off Thursday’s lively 6-5 overtime win against the Kraken. Likely the opposite. Plus, if Elias Pettersson at all resembles his own inspired self from that victory, we could see a fair bit of scoring from both sides in Edmonton.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

Nino Niederreiter, Nashville Predators (37.5%): The scoring-line winger is back in a groove with a point in each of his most recent three games, including an assist in last week’s loss to Colorado. One of your streakier types, Niederreiter is usually worth the fantasy investment when running hot.

So see:

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Kent Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets (5.2%): Since taking over for an injured Boone Jenner on Columbus’s top line, the rookie has scored in every game. Only two contests so far, mind you, but he appears well suited for the role. I like Johnson’s chances of making it three in a row against the not-good Blackhawks. In fact, centering Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine, the 20-year-old could be in for his second ever multi-point game.

So see:

Mid-tier fantasy defensemen

Gustav Forsling, Florida Panthers (49.9%): After losing to the Rangers 5-3 on Thursday, Ilya Sorokin could be in for a back-to-back start while Semyon Varlamov deals with a lower-body injury. That or Cory Schneider could play his first game since last April, the only one of that entire 2021-22 NHL campaign. However it rolls out, I like Florida’s prominent fantasy offensive assets in this tilt, including the under-rostered blueliner.

So see:

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen

Erik Gustafsson, Washington Capitals (2.4%): Never mind how out of recent character this latest offensive onslaught is for the Washington defender, just roll with it. Helping to account for the four goals and two assists in three contests, Gustafsson is shooting the puck on net much more than usual. It’s like we’re experiencing the 2018-19 version of the then-Chicago blueliner all over again, when he pitched in 17 goals and 43 assists. The 30-year-old is in a mood, alright. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he kicked in another point, and a few shots, against David Rittich and the rest of the visiting Jets this Friday.

So see:

goalies

Pyotr Kochetkov, Carolina Hurricanes (47.2%): Boasting a record of 8-0-1, .939 SV%, and 1.67 GAA since Nov. 29, there’s no hotter netminder than Carolina’s current No. 1. The Hurricanes won seven-straight, vaulting New Jersey for top spot in the Metropolitan. John Tortorella’s Flyers have tasted victory twice since Dec. 5. It’s difficult to see a scenario where Carolina isn’t heading into the break with eight in a row, especially with Kochetkov between the pipes.

So see:

Bench ’em

Montreal Canadiens: After falling to the Oilers 6-3 on Wednesday, the Stars aren’t likely losing two a in a row. Not to the struggling Canadiens, in any case, who are tumbling down the Atlantic standings. If given the choice, I’m hitching my fantasy cart to players from other teams, while avoiding those sporting the blue, blanc and rouge in this contest, from the net out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *