This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Thursday's NHL slate begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT and features six games. Below, you'll find suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
All six of these games have obvious favorites, but with so many pricey stars available, picking the right ones will be key to finding success. The Penguins (vs. Buffalo), Hurricanes (vs. Chicago) and Oilers (vs. Vancouver) are the largest favorites in games with over/unders of 6.0 goals, but the Maple Leafs (vs. Montreal) aren't far behind. In games with over/unders of 5.5 goals, the Islanders (vs. New Jersey) and Bruins (vs. the Rangers) are heavy home favorites as well.
Tristan Jarry, PIT vs. BUF ($8,400): Jarry has been spectacular on home ice, with a 15-3-2 record, 2.26 GAA and .930 save percentage. He has a great opportunity to further improve those stellar stats here, as the visiting Sabres average just 2.41 goals — fourth-fewest in the league.
Mike Smith, EDM vs. VAN ($8,200): Smith has held five of his last seven opponents to no more than one goal, improving his overall stats to 19-6-2 with a 2.25 GAA and .925 save percentage. A home matchup with a bottom-five Canucks offense that's scoring only 2.55 goals per game sets Smith up nicely to build on his recent success.
Igor Shesterkin, NYR at BOS ($7,600): If you want to save a few bucks in net with a goalie from one of the underdogs, Shesterkin's your most promising option. He has a solid 2.53 GAA and .918 save percentage while backstopping the inconsistent young Rangers, and Boston wins primarily with defense, averaging a middling 2.92 goals per game. If Shesterkin brings his A-game, you'll get a strong performance and have a little more cap space for Thursday's top skaters.
Connor McDavid, EDM vs. VAN ($9,100): McDavid's in the midst of an incredible stretch that's seen him pick up multiple points in eight of his last nine games en route to an 8-16-24 line. He's 18 points clear of teammate Leon Draisaitl for the league lead and is capable of singlehandedly carrying lineups, especially against vulnerable opponents like Vancouver. McDavid has already racked up six points in two games against the Canucks this week, and he's unlikely to slow down considering Vancouver's giving up 3.30 goals per game.
Auston Matthews, TOR vs. MON ($9,000): If you're eschewing McDavid here, it's probably so you can pay up for Matthews instead. The league's goals leader with 39 in 48 games has five goals over an active four-game goal streak, and Matthews has managed to light the lamp in each of his last five meetings with the Canadiens. He kicked off the latter streak with a two-goal, four-point performance and is capable of erupting for a similar outing at any time.
Pavel Zacha, NJ at NYI ($4,400): The red-hot Zacha has some against-the-grain appeal against an Islanders team that's coming off back-to-back losses to the Sabres and has won just two of its last seven game. New Jersey's points leader with 33 in 47 games has been held without one just once in his last six games, compiling a formidable 5-3-8 line over that span.
David Krejci, BOS at NYR ($5,400): Krejci has been unstoppable since the Bruins acquired Taylor Hall ($6,200) to play on his line. Hall has a 6-5-11 line in 13 games with Boston, and Krejci's been even better over that span, with a 6-9-15 output over that same stretch. A Rangers team that's playing its second game in as many nights and has dropped four straight in regulation is unlikely to slow Krejci down.
Nils Hoglander, VAN at EDM ($3,600): The affordable Hoglander's performed well down the stretch of his rookie campaign. The 20-year-old top-line winger has a 4-7-11 line in his last 15 games yet remains eminently affordable at just $3,600.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Penguins vs. Sabres
Pittsburgh's prolific top line should dominate against an overmatched Sabres team that gives up the most shots in the league (33.9 per game) and is missing its three best goalies due to injuries. Crosby and Guentzel are tied for the team lead with 23 goals apiece, while Rust's breathing down their necks with 22. In the points department, both Crosby (60 in 53) and Guentzel (56 in 54) are over a point per game, while Rust's 42 points have him one back of third-place Kris Letang.
Hurricanes vs. Blackhawks
The Hurricanes have dominated the Blackhawks by a combined 12-5 score over the past two games, and this top-line trio has led the way with 12 points over those contests. All three have been hot dating back even further. Aho has produced a 6-11-17 line over his active nine-game point streak, Svechnikov has a 5-9-14 line over his last 12 and Teravainen's added a 5-8-13 line in his last 10. Chicago's allowing 3.32 goals per game, so Carolina's stars are primed to continue their strong play in this favorable matchup.
Islanders vs. Devils
The Islanders' top line should provide offense at a discount against a Devils team that's surrendering 3.38 goals per game. These guys are the Islanders' top three healthy goal scorers. Nelson has a 16-14-30 line, Eberle's at 15-17-32 and Beauvillier's at 14-11-25.
Tyson Barrie, EDM vs. VAN ($5,800): Barrie comes in $500 cheaper than teammate Darnell Nurse, even though Barrie's been the hottest member of Edmonton's blue line ahead of this favorable matchup against the Canucks. His 44 points through 51 games include a 3-8-11 line in the last 12 ahead of this game against a Canucks team that's dropped each of its last six games in regulation.
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. MON ($4,700): Rielly has a three-game point streak going, which includes a goal and two assists in two meetings with the Canadiens over that span. With Montreal playing its second game in as many nights, Rielly's set up for further success against this opponent and has a nice opportunity to add to his 5-29-34 line.
Ian Mitchell, CHI at CAR ($2,500): Mitchell had 32 points in 36 games at the NCAA level last season, and he's starting to showcase that offense in the NHL. The rookie has a three-game point streak working, including a goal and an assist against Carolina over the last two. It's worth seeing whether he can keep it going at just $2,500, especially since locking Mitchell in can help make it easier to afford a McDavid or Matthews.
John Marino, PIT vs. BUF ($2,500): While Kris Letang ($5,700) has been a constant source of offense on Pittsburgh's blue line, the others have alternated hot streaks, and Marino's taking his turn now. Marino has three points in the last four games and five in the last nine. He should keep rolling at home against the lowly Sabres.