This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
As we say goodbye to the Thanksgiving weekend, there are five games on the NHL docket for Monday. Nary a team is on the second leg of a back-to-back, so we've got some well-rested squads. One team sticks out to me as such an obvious clear favorite that they might as well have a big arrow pointing at them, even on the road. The Islanders are visiting the Red Wings, the NHL's clear worst team. Detroit is last in goals per game, last in GAA, and they have lost nine games in a row.
Like I said, the Wings are terrible. They've scored a mere 2.14 goals per game. The next-worst team has averaged 2.41 goals per contest. You have to love whoever is in net for the Islanders, and Semyon Varlamov ($8,200) and Thomas Greiss ($8,200) are available for the same price. My guess is that Varlamov gets the start, given that Greiss dealt with a dizzy spell in his last game. The Islanders play again Tuesday, so it would make since to give Greiss an extra day to rest, since both goalies are going to end up play anyway.
Linus Ullmark ($8,100) has left many feeling wanting, despite a .911 save percentage. However, a home game against the Devils could be good for what ails him. New Jersey has only managed a mere 2.09 goals per game in away outings. If you want a cheaper option, I like Jonathan Quick ($6,900) against the Ducks quite a bit at this price. No, really. Quick actually has a 2.25 GAA over his last eight games, admittedly with a .908 save percentage. How is he doing it? The Kings have only allowed 28.4 shots on net per contest. Meanwhile, the Ducks have only managed 29.1 shots on net per game themselves. Quick doesn't sound so bad now, does he?
Value Plays/One Offs
Max Pacioretty ($7,500) is reminding the Golden Knights why they traded for him in the first place. The former Canadien has 25 points in 28 games. Here's the thing, though. Pacioretty only has nine goals on 109 shots. He has an 8.3 shooting percentage, so the sniper should be doing even better! The Rangers have allowed 35.8 shots on net per contest, so Pacioretty should be able to be very active in this one.
If you are going to be wary about taking Ullmark in net for the Sabres, it's probably because of their bottom-five penalty kill. You know who devours bad penalty kills? That would be Kyle Palmieri ($6,500). The devil is in the details, and the details say that Palmieri has at least 18 power-play points in his four seasons with New Jersey. This matchup is right up his alley.
David Perron ($6,100) had 46 points in 57 games last year, and we all wondered if he could work that magic again. Well he has 27 points in 28 games this season, and he has a seven-game point streak to boot. The Blackhawks have a 3.00 GAA, which is middling, but they've allowed a league-high 36.0 shots on goal per game. They ask a lot of their goalies, and you don't want to give Perron too many opportunities.
Anthony Beauvillier ($5,300) may not usually be top of mind, but he does have eight goals and eight assists on the year. Plus, recently he's gotten some time on New York's top power play, and the Red Wings have the league's worst penalty kill. Oh, the Wings also have a 3.93 GAA. You really want all you can get from this matchup.
Forward Line Stacks
Islanders at Red Wings
I mean, I can't keep hammering this home, right? The Red Wings have a 3.93 GAA. With Jimmy Howard ($6,800) hurt, the team has no choice but to rely on Jonathan Bernier ($7,000), who has an .894 save percentage. Barzal is getting an even bigger role this year (19:09 per game in ice time) and has earned it with 22 points in 24 games. Lee and Bailey have had more issues scoring, but this is the kind of matchup they can use to get right, and also pay off on these cheap prices, especially Bailey.
Sabres vs. Devils
The Devils have a 3.48 GAA. That's not Red Wings bad, but it's bottom five in the NHL. The team has already given up on Cory Schneider. They've turned to MacKenzie Blackwood ($7,500) as their main goalie, and it has provided no improvement. Blackwood has an .898 save percentage, and over his last five games he has a 4.02 GAA.
Eichel is the priciest center. He's also worth it, as he's on a nine-game point streak where he's notched 16 points. Obviously, his linemates are in position to take advantage of that. Reinhart, who has 20 points in 27 games, has three points in his last five outings. Olofsson has a point in 10 of his last 12 games. This seems like the night for Eichel's streak to continue, and everybody on his line can benefit.
I really wish the Islanders had a standout offensive defenseman. They don't, but Ryan Pulock ($5,000) has 10 points and 51 shots on goal in 24 games. You have to try and grab somebody in that matchup. Alex Pietrangelo ($6,700) is the most-expensive defenseman, but I think he'll probably be worth it. He's absolutely peppering the net with shots, as he has 82 in 28 games. Did I mention the Blackhawks have allowed 36.0 shots on goal per contest?
Shea Theodore ($5,100) has five points in his last eight games, and also five power-play points on the season while averaging 3:38 per game with the extra man. The Rangers have a bottom-10 penalty kill, but on top of that they have a 3.28 GAA. Finally, Brandon Montour ($4,000) has started 61.0 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest on the Sabres. With Rasmus Dahlin out, Montour has gotten a bigger role, and he has five points in his last seven games. If Dahlin doesn't play Monday, Montour could be a nice cheap option.