Friday's four-game NHL slate features a tilt between two playoff-bound contenders, both jostling for position, when the Maple Leafs welcome the Hurricanes to Toronto. Elsewhere, the not-out-of-it Capitals hope to gain ground in the Eastern Wild Card race with a win against the Blues - themselves coming off Wednesday's violent, high-scoring affair with the Wild - while the Sabres aspire for a similar standings-climbing victory versus the porous Flyers. No Jordan Binnington in this battle, after the Blues netminder was suspended two games for assaulting Ryan Hartman with his blocker.
Matters wrap up late between two non-contenders when the Ducks host the Blue Jackets; a match-up that remains fantasy-relevant if not otherwise.
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All times Eastern.
Favorable scoring matchups
Buffalo Sabres at Philadelphia Flyers
7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, Watch live on ESPN+
Cycling through a trio of starting netminders - Carter Hart, Samuel Ersson, and Felix Sandstrom - the Flyers have surrendered a league-worst average of 4.23 goals/game since Feb. 12 (63.2 PK%). The Sabres rank sixth in goals-scored through that same period with 3.63/contest, even with top-line winger Alex Tuch often out of the lineup. In addition to the usual heavy-hitting fantasy Sabres, I also like Jack Quinn and J.J. Peterka to make a tangible impact in Philadelphia on Friday, as they did two nights earlier in Washington.
Mid-tier fantasy forwards
Jakub Vrana, St. Louis Blues (32.4%): Skating on a scoring line with Pavel Buchnevich, and top power play, the former Red Wing/Capital is fitting in well with his new club so far. Since joining the Blues two weeks ago, Vrana has four goals on 19 shots through five games. The additional motivation behind potting one or more against his former team at Capital One Arena won't hurt.
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals (42.4%)
Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres (71.0%)
Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers (33.7%)
Dylan Strome, Washington Capitals (32.9%)
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals (26.7%)
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value forwards
Jack Quinn, Buffalo Sabres (3.0%)
J.J. Peterka, Buffalo Sabres (0.8%)
Owen Tippett, Philadelphia Flyers (16.0%)
Mason McTavish, Anaheim Ducks (11.6%)
Frank Vatrano, Anaheim Ducks (9.2%)
Stefan Noesen, Carolina Hurricanes (0.7%)
Calle Jarnkrok, Toronto Maple Leafs (1.4%)
Mid-tier fantasy defensemen
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks (24.0%): He's been one of the league's most consistent fantasy blueliners for well over a month, averaging 2.3 fantasy points/contest in ESPN.com standard leagues through 14 games (2G, 14A). As mentioned, the Ducks host the travel-weary Blue Jackets Friday, who relied on both Daniil Tarasov and Michael Hutchinson in Thursday's loss to the Kings.
Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues (35.6%)
Rasmus Sandin, Washington Capitals (23.9%)
Deep league/Daily Fantasy value defensemen
Adam Boqvist, Columbus Blue Jackets (2.5%)
Lukas Dostal, Anaheim Ducks (0.2%): Oh, the Ducks' backup is a fantasy gamble, alright. But Dostal was solid enough in his past two starts versus the Blackhawks and Canucks, and the Blue Jackets are habitually lousy in their second of back-to-back sets (3-10). Columbus lost to the Kings 4-1 the previous evening.
Darcy Kuemper (projected), Washington Capitals (89.4%)