Monday fantasy hockey tips: NHL picks, matchups, more

Victor Olofsson of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates a game-winning goal. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

If you play in weekly lineup leagues, Monday will be the second-last time you set your lineup for the season.

If you are in a head-to-head championship, these two weeks will determine your fate, so make sure to keep a close eye on the schedule. Wednesday and Friday are light nights, with only three games on the schedule Wednesday and four on Friday -- but, unfortunately, no team plays both those nights to be an off-night target for your bench.

Focusing on just the first of the two weeks, the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators have the best schedules for offense. Best, in this case, is their opponents' cumulative goals against per 60 since Feb. 1. The worst schedules for just this first week belong to the Seattle Kraken, Minnesota Wild, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks.

The Kraken are an interesting case because they have one of the better overall schedules for the two-week fantasy championship, but their value doesn't kick in until the second "week." This week kicks off with the Kraken facing the toughest opponent in the NHL for goals against per 60 in the Minnesota Wild. But if you can wait to deploy the fringe Kraken until next week in weekly lineup leagues, it'll pay off more; They are one of only four teams that will play seven times in the final scoring period (let's stop calling it a week, as it's really 11 days).

The tough matchup for the Kraken is one of six games on this Monday slate that features some high-powered offenses all on the visitors' benches. When looking at five-on-five hockey during the past month, five of the six road teams on Monday rank 11th or better in goals per 60. Can you guess which of the six teams is not among the top tier?

The Montreal Canadiens, who are visiting the Buffalo Sabres, are among the powerhouses, they rank ninth.

It's the New Jersey Devils, who are visiting Long Island on Monday, that only rank 20th in five-on-five goals per 60 in the past month. And, for context, all the home teams rank 14th or lower in this metric for recent scoring success.

Resources: Goalie depth chart | Injuries | Schedule | How to watch on ESPN+ | Download the ESPN Fantasy App | Daily lines

All times Eastern.

Favorable scoring matchups

Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo Sabres

7 p.m., KeyBank Center, Watch live on ESPN+

The Sabres, whether they like it or not, have a propensity to trade goals with opponents, rather than prevent them. This is good news for the visiting Habs, who have been playing some of their best offense of the season of late. The Sabres have allowed 11 power-play goals against in the past month and the Canadiens top unit is coming together nicely, especially with the recent return of Kirby Dach. Rafael Harvey-Pinard will be a threat and Mike Matheson has been one of the best fantasy defensemen down the stretch run of the season. On the Buffalo side, consider a spot start of Victor Olofsson, who has pushed onto the top power-play unit of late; the Habs have allowed 12 power-play goals in the past month.

Edmonton Oilers at Arizona Coyotes

10 p.m., Mullett Arena, Watch live on ESPN+

The Coyotes haven't been pushovers as we wind down the season, but are still a spot to attack given the overall context of the campaign. The Oilers offense should be just fine visiting Mullett Arena to face an Arizona team on the tail end of a back-to-back. Kailer Yamamoto was bumped from the top six by Mattias Janmark in the last outing, so Janmark is an option for secondary access to Connor McDavid in this one. The Coyotes have allowed the second-most power-play goals in the league in the past month, so make sure Evan Bouchard is active.

Mid-tier fantasy forwards

J.T. Compher, C/W, Colorado Avalanche (41.3%): While Valeri Nichushkin now has the plum assignment at even strength with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, Compher still gets the honor of joining all three of them when the Avs are on the power play, and the Avs have the most power-play goals in the league in the past month.

Carter Verhaeghe, W, Florida Panthers (79.1%): The overload line is back together for the Panthers, with Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk sharing the ice at five-on-five again. When together with Verhaeghe, they have the most expected goals per 60 of any line in the NHL (MoneyPuck.com, minimum 150 minutes).

See also:

  • Valeri Nichushkin, W, Colorado Avalanche (87.3%)

  • Kirby Dach, C, Montreal Canadiens (13.0%)

  • Dawson Mercer, C/W, New Jersey Devils (40.4%)

  • Rafael Harvey-Pinard, W, Montreal Canadiens (23.2%)

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards

Marcus Johansson, W, Minnesota Wild (1.8%): Falling backward onto the Wild's de facto top line due to the injury to Kirill Kaprizov, Johansson is helping fuel Matt Boldy's takeover of the offense in Kaprizov's absence.

Ondrej Palat, W, New Jersey Devils (44.2%): The Devils will hope to look back on most of March as "that awkward Timo Meier adjustment period." With their lines getting closer to being settled, Palat looks like he will come out the other side on a unit with Jack Hughes.

Shane Pinto, C, Ottawa Senators (5.6%): With Ridly Greig being knocked out for the season, Pinto is back on the second line with Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux.

See also:

Mid-tier fantasy defensemen

  • Evan Bouchard, D, Edmonton Oilers (66.0%)

  • Mike Matheson, D, Montreal Canadiens (29.9%)

  • Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers (92.3%)

  • Owen Power, D, Buffalo Sabres (55.3%)

Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen

Calen Addison, D, Minnesota Wild (5.7%): John Klingberg has been basically ruled out for this contest, so Addison will be on the point on the power play.

See also:


Jonas Johansson, G, Colorado Avalanche (1.7%): This should more or less be a freebie for fantasy managers with daily lineup moves. The Avs have confirmed Johansson for the Monday start against the Ducks, the 31st ranked offense for goals per 60 this season overall and at even strength.

Jack Campbell, G, Edmonton Oilers (53.7%): Campbell could get the call here as the Oilers are back in action against the Vegas Golden Knights in a back-to-back on Tuesday. It's a great matchup, but there's always risk with Campbell.

Philipp Grubauer, G, Seattle Kraken (9.1%): He'll need to out-duel Marc-Andre Fleury and the shutdown Wild D in the opposite net, so the win isn't a lock. That said, the Wild offense isn't a huge threat, so the risk of a big negative outing is minimal.