Friday Fantasy Hockey Tips – NHL Picks, Matchups, And More

Between a lively Thursday schedule and a 14-game Saturday schedule, Friday’s schedule is usually lighter. The only early game features the second and final inter-conference game between the Jets and Penguins in Pittsburgh. We can expect a battle of the backups this mile as Tristan Jarry didn’t look quite fit and played Buffalo’s Conor Helbwick the night before. Hours later, the Devils launched their wild ride in California with a stop in Anaheim. While he’s a savage on the road – 15-2-1 – New Jersey skaters need to focus on the job at hand and not look forward to Saturday’s tougher pit stop in Los Angeles. To conclude, the Oilers play the Sharks for the first time this season. Again, the risk of distraction is at play here. Conor McDavid and company will have to keep their focus and their San Jose moment ahead of Saturday’s trip to Vegas.

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Favorable scoring matches

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Far from one strong performance in Arizona, goaltender Casey Desmith has struggled lately. The meltdown this week against the Canucks — which lasted about seven minutes before Dustin Tokarski took over — wasn’t great. With the Jets’ top six players fully healthy again, we could see quite a few goals from the visitors on Friday. Also on the home side, David Rettich is expected to start after he helped Conor Hellbewick beat the Sabers the night before. Now, coach Mike Sullivan could choose to save Desmith for Saturday and start Tokarski instead, which could dampen expectations for Winnipeg’s goal-fest. Thanks to impressive numbers in the AHL this season, the Penguins third team was excellent in replacing DeSmith on Tuesday.

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Goaltender John Gibson has given up 13 goals in the previous two games (Wednesday’s appearance vs. the Oilers lasted only two stints), and plenty all season. Overall, the Ducks defense ranks 32nd in the league. New Jersey’s offense is much more dangerous on the road, with a 3.94 goals/contest average. Play your demons.

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Mid-level fantasy strikers

Ondrej Palat, New Jersey Devils (43.0%)

Deep League / Daily Value Attackers

Dylan Holloway, Edmonton Oilers (3.5%)

Despite his expected return soon, Evander Kane still looks like a few games away from the Oilers’ lineup. As such, Holloway appears to be stuck in the front row with Connor McDavid for at least one more game. The 21-year-old rookie scored from that spot against the Ducks two nights earlier, as McDavid got the base assist.

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Deep League/Daily Fantasy Defensive Value

Matt Benning, San Jose Sharks (3.5%)

Benning blocks shots, throws strikes, and contributes one-on-one assists. Four in his past six games, in fact. I would love for the ex-Oil to do a little extra bit against his former team on Friday night.

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Vitek Vanecek (Project), New Jersey Devils (75.2%)

In addition to allowing a large number of goals, the Ducks don’t score much either. I might roll the fantasy dice with a backup Mackenzie Blackwood (2.8%) in this particular encounter, should the #2 Devils win the start. Coach Lindy Ruff may prefer to rest Vanesque ahead of Saturday’s meet in Los Angeles.

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