My apologies as a didn’t get a DraftKings NHL DFS Picks piece out for yesterday’s slate, however I am back for tonight’s tiny two-game slate, and I am going to throw some differentiation tactics into this lineup, so you can consider this lineup a GPP tournament-type group.
Let’s get right into tonight’s picks!
C – Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – $6,000 vs. WAS
I’m not sure we are going to get Malkin at this price tag again this season, so sign me up as the Penguins visit the arch rival Capitals tonight in Washington. The Capitals haven’t exactly been stout on the back end of late, allowing eight goals over their last two games while the Penguins are tied for the league’s sixth-best road offense with 3.20 goals per game away from PPG Paints Arena, so let’s get some exposure to Malkin and the Pens in this one. I mean, it’s not like this guy isn’t producing as he’s tallied a goal and two helpers over his last three games which has him entering this one riding a three-game point streak after going pointless in three straight. Malkin has tallied 11 goals and 36 points in 33 games on the campaign along with 76 shots on goal. He’s done a ton of damage on the power play with five goals and 12 points with the man advantage, so it’s a good thing his mini-stacking partner skates with him in all offensive situations.
C – Max Domi (MON) – $4,800 vs. COL
On Monday I rostered some Islanders players as the Avalanche have struggled defensively of late, and while the players I selected were mostly left off the scoresheet, New York scored four goals in Colorado, marking the fifth straight game and the sixth time in seven games that the Avalanche have allowed at least four goals against. I will follow a similar GPP-style strategy tonight as Domi and the Canadiens invade the Pepsi Center in Denver. Domi will lead off a three-man stack that will be a top power play unit stack, which is something I did Monday as Colorado ranks 30th with a brutal 72.1% mark on the penalty kill on home ice after allowing two more power play goals against on Monday. Domi enters play with 14 goals and 33 points in 34 games this season while eight of those 33 points coming on the man advantage. He’s logging almost 18 minutes per game as the team’s top center at both even strength and on the power play, and he comes at a reasonable cost considering the sneaky-good matchup.
W – Phil Kessel (PIT) – $6,100 vs. WAS
Kessel and Malkin team up on the team’s second line and top power play unit, so I expect some damage to be done against the Capitals tonight. Like Malkin, Kessel also has 36 points in 33 games this season, although you can consider his floor to be slightly higher considering he has fired 95 pucks on goal so far. He’s also a big-time contributor on the power play where he’s notched five goals and 14 points on the campaign. Furthermore, he’s also akin to Malkin in the sense that he too carries a three-game point streak into this one with two goals and an assist over his last three. Clearly, these two are in line with their production, which makes sense as they skate together for the overwhelming majority of each game. I’ll take this reasonably-priced stack in a road tilt with the Caps tonight.
W – Brendan Gallagher (MON) – $5,200 vs. COL
No, Gallagher and Domi don’t skate together at even strength, but they do skate with one another on the top power play unit, keeping in line with the strategy I outlined above in the Domi section. Gallagher has just one goal and three points on the man advantage this season, but he does have 14 goals on the season to go along with a whopping 124 shots on goal, giving him a real solid floor for this one against a team struggling defensively in all situations. His production has quieted after scoring seven goals in the month of October alone, but his 3.65 shots on goal per game makes him a reasonable target as those shots at least give him the opportunity to score goals. Given the extreme weakness of the Colorado penalty kill at home, I believe Gallagher has a real nice chance to add to his low power play production on the season.
W – Zach Aston-Reese (PIT) – $3,300 vs. WAS
Aston-Reese is an interesting player on this slate and I think he can be a game-changer for this lineup. Right off the bat, he is projected to skate with Malkin and Kessel on the Penguins’ second line, giving him some of the slate’s top offensive weapons as his linemates for this one. Second, while he has just four goals and seven points in 20 games this season, he has two goals and two assists over his last four games, although two goals and one assist came in a single game against the Bruins on the 14th. Still, he has fired 11 goals on goal over his last three games has mostly been logging more than 15 minutes per night, so I think he will continue to see an increased role, especially alongside Malkin and Kessel. At this cost, I think Aston-Reese is a perfect fit in this lineup and if he can find a way to hit the scoresheet once or twice tonight, he could be a big boost to this lineup.
D – Shea Weber (MON) – $5,000 vs. COL
There are some talented power play blueliners on this slate in Kris Letang, John Carlson and Tyson Barrie, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see Shea Weber finish the night as the highest-scoring blueliner on the slate. Weber hasn’t missed a beat since missing the majority of last season as well as the first two months of this year as he’s notched three goals and seven points in 10 games while averaging 3.5 shots per game over that stretch. While he’s yet to record a power play point this season, tonight certainly presents a nice opportunity. Five times in his career has Weber notched at least 10 power play goals in a season, so he’s used to taking advantage of soft penalty killing. Otherwise, he has a quality cross-category asset from the back end as he’s also blocked 12 shots in those 10 games to add to his offensive upside. He completes our three-man Montreal stack tonight in Colorado.
D – John Carlson (WAS) – $5,900 vs. PIT
The Penguins have been so very inconsistent on defense all season long, and I’m expecting a high-scoring game tonight in Washington, so I will roster a pair of high-floor Capitals as the last two skaters in this lineup. Carlson is fully cemented as one of the best defensemen in the NHL as he is on pace to shatter his career-high 68 points from last season with 35 points in just 31 games this season, which would put him on pace for 90 points if he could play in all of the Capitals’ remaining games. Even if he can’t, Carlson brings a solid foundation to this lineup when we factor in his 78 shots and 65 blocked shots as well. He has notched six assists over his last four games and logged as much as 29:11 in a single game over that stretch. He’s going to be relied upon heavily in this one tonight, so I will scoop him up despite the expected high ownership on this tiny slate.
G – Carey Price (MON) – $7,000 vs. COL
Of course, this is a big roll of the dice against a potent Avalanche attack, but Price has actually been way better on the road than at home this season, so I will stick with the GPP theme with the veteran netminder tonight. First, keep an eye on the confirmed goaltenders tonight as Price is not yet the confirmed starter, and if it’s Antti Niemi, go ahead and roster him at the $6,800 price tag. I will roll as if Price gets the nod, which would be nice considering he sports a 6-2-2 record to go along with a 2.53 GAA and .920 Sv% across 10 starts and 11 appearances on the road this season. He has allowed just four goals against over two starts and a relief appearance, spanning his last three road appearances. While the Avalanche haven’t been kept quiet for long all year, they scored just once on Monday against the Islanders, so perhaps we can catch them a little bit cold for this one tonight. For GPP tournaments, I think Price is worth a roll of the dice in this one tonight.
UTIL – Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) – $6,200 vs. PIT
You can consider his 71 points in 81 games last season a down year if you’d like, however the fact remains that this guy continues to be one of the most underrated players in this league. After all, he does have 40 points in 32 games this season, and is playing with one the hottest goal-scorers in the league right now. I faded Ovechkin and his massive ownership tonight, but we will have excellent exposure to the Great 8 in this one with Carlson and now Backstrom. Perhaps we can catch a break and have this duo do the damage on the power play tonight, which would be massive for GPPs. He’s tallied six assists over his last three games and more should be on the way against the league’s 22nd-ranked defense tonight on home ice.