NHL Power Plays 4/5/18 

It’s difficult to stress how important it is to pay attention to information. Most days, you can set lineups in the middle of the afternoon and be fine with it. At this time of year though, playoff-bound teams are secretive with injuries to the point where you’d think they were in possession of the Coca-Cola recipe. There are also call-ups to deal with from non-playoff teams.

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Nazem Kadri – TOR at NJD

DraftKings – $5,700

FanDuel – $6,100

League-wide, there have been 77 forward combinations to play at least 200 five-on-five minutes together this season. Of those 77 forward combinations, the New Jersey top line of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, and Kyle Palmieri has the highest expected goals against per 60 minutes at five-on-five (3.25). In fact, they’re way ahead of the competition as the next-closest trio was the old second line for Detroit at 3.08, and no other line in the NHL was above 2.95. For as good as the New Jersey top line is offensively, there are some defensive issues.

The expectation is that New Jersey will use the Travis Zajac line against Toronto’s top line, leaving Kadri, Mitch Marner, and Patrick Marleau to play a lot of minutes against the aforementioned Hall line. While Kadri’s line hasn’t been otherworldly offensively – 2.99 goals for per 60 minutes and 2.66 expected goals for per 60 minutes – in a matchup this good, those numbers are just fine. Of the three players on that line, Kadri is the bigger volume shooter, which is who you want to target for both cash games and tournaments.

One reason I would hesitate to use Kadri in cash games is that New Jersey’s penalty kill has been solid all season long; they’ve allowed the ninth-fewest goals on the campaign as a whole, but their expected goals against at four-on-five has risen since the All-Star break. Unsurprisingly, their goals allowed per 60 minutes has risen since that point as well. Maybe they’re getting a bit worse but they’re still not a situation to pick on. All the same, this is a great five-on-five matchup and his price makes him worth using as a one-off in tournaments.

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