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Fantasy Buzz: Niemi delivering for Canadiens

Goalie emerging as viable option in place of injured starter Price

by James Harding / NHL.com Fantasy Correspondent

All season long, NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.

Antti Niemi is quickly becoming someone fantasy owners will want to target down the playoff stretch of the fantasy hockey season. The Montreal Canadiens goalie made 48 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

Niemi (11 percent owned) has shared time with backup Charlie Lindgren (11 percent) in place of injured starter Carey Price (86 percent), who is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Niemi has received the bulk of the starts and is 2-0-2 with a 1.70 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in his past four starts.

The Canadiens have difficult fantasy matchups in each of their next four games against the New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. However, for those owners in need of a depth goaltender or a spot start, Niemi is available in the majority of fantasy leagues and is a viable streaming option for the remainder of the fantasy season.

 

Sunday DraftKings Pick'Em

NHL.com covers DraftKings NHL Pick'Em contests by providing advice within certain player tiers. These targets can be used as a basis for your roster decision-making.

 

Tier 1

Safest pick: Blake Wheeler, WPG: The Winnipeg Jets wing was held scoreless with three shots on goal in their 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, ending his nine-game point streak. Wheeler had 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) and eight power-play points on his scoring streak. He has a favorable fantasy matchup at the Carolina Hurricanes away on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; SN, FS-CR, NHL.TV). This season, Wheeler has 24 points (six goals, 18 assists), is averaging 3.7 DraftKings points per game on the road, and has one assist and three SOG in one game against the Hurricanes.

Most upside: Eric Staal, MIN: The Minnesota Wild forward has been held scoreless in two consecutive games, but had 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in his prior eight. Staal is centering their first line between forwards Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker, and has a favorable matchup against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV), who are allowing 2.9 goals-against per game.

Video: STL@MIN: Staal nets breakaway goal for second of game

 

Tier 4

Safest pick: Kyle Connor, WPG: The Jets forward has skated on their first line with elite forwards Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele. Connor has six points (four goals, two assists), two PPP and 19 SOG in his past seven games. He is tied with New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier fifth in rookie scoring with 41 points (22 goals, 19 assists) in 58 games.

Video: WPG@STL: Connor cashes in on rebound for PPG

Sneaky upside: Teuvo Teravainen, CAR: The Carolina Hurricanes forward scored his 18th goal in their 3-1 win against the Devils on Friday, giving Teravainen goals in three straight games and five of six, and six points (five goals, assist) and 16 SOG in his past six. Despite a difficult matchup against the Jets at home Sunday, Teravainen has good upside with 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) and 3.4 DraftKings points per game in 33 home games.

 

Tier 6

Safest pick: Mikko Koivu, MIN: The second-line center extended his point streak to three games (three goals, one assist) with the Wild's only goal in a 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. He is centering forwards Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle and Minnesota's second power-play unit with Parise, Coyle, forward Nino Niederreiter and defenseman Matt Dumba.

Sneaky upside: Joonas Donskoi, SJS: The San Jose Sharks forward had two assists, one blocked shot and one SOG in their 7-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Donskoi has three assists in his past two games and is skating on the first line with Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane. He is averaging 2.6 DraftKings points per game in 27 home games and tied his NHL career high with 11 goals this season.

 

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