We hit big-time with some of last night’s DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, however one of our three-man stacks disappointed in a big way despite their team scoring five goals.
The stack that did hit was the Columbus Blue Jackets trio of Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin and Zach Werenski, a group that combined for two goals, three assists and 13 shots on goal in the Blue Jackets’ 7-5 win over the Rangers.
The stack that disappointed contained Bo Horvat, Nikolay Goldobin and Alexander Edler of the Canucks as Horvat’s assist was the only time their names would appear on the scoresheet. He also fired five shots on goal while Edler took three shots and blocked three as well.
Our Coyotes mini-stack didn’t pan out either as the Flames pumped Arizona by a 7-1 count, although Derek Stepan did notch an assist on the lone Arizona tally.
Finally, we snuck out a win from our goaltender Connor Hellebuyck as the Jets tied it late and won it late in OT in their heavily-favored matchup with the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
Let’s go ahead and get our week started on the right note on tonight’s six-game slate!
C – Nathan MacKinnon (COL) – $7,800 vs. TOR
Both the Avalanche and Maple Leafs are scuffling entering this one tonight, but I think that the Avs’ powerful road offense is going to show through tonight. Maple Leafs starting netminder Frederik Andersen will make his return to the crease tonight, but Andersen hasn’t seen any game action since before Christmas. He also wasn’t at his best in December, posting just a .903 Sv% for the month. The Maple Leafs remain a solid home defense with just 2.57 goals against per game at Scotiabank Arena, however the Avs rank fourth with 3.44 goals per game on the road this season while their 27% clip on the power play away from home checks in at fourth as well. Enter MacKinnon who is enjoying a fabulous season once again this year with 26 goals and 66 points on a league-leading 205 shots in just 45 games this season. Despite Colorado’s recent slide, he still has five goals and six assists over his last nine games.
C – Eric Staal (MIN) – $5,300 vs. PHI
It wasn’t outrageous to think that Eric Staal wasn’t going to repeat the 42-goal season he put up last year in Minnesota, and that’s certainly been the case as he enters play tonight with 13 goals and 14 helpers in 43 games to go along with a real nice 133 shots on goal. However, Staal’s matchup in Philadelphia tonight is a good one. The Flyers enter this one tonight ranked 27th with 3.24 goals against per game on home ice this season while their 77.3% rate on the penalty kill at home checks in at 22nd league wide. The Flyers are enduring some big-time struggles right now, losing nine times over their last 10 games and allowing at least three goals in seven of their last eight. Staal doesn’t exactly enter this one hot tonight as he hasn’t scored in his last eight games, but there are few teams in the league that have been better at snapping opposing cold streaks than the Flyers, so sign me up for a three-man Wild stack tonight.
W – Mikko Rantanen (COL) – $7,300 vs. TOR
I am going to be lining up the Avalanche big boys for their contest in Toronto tonight as they are often the highest-floor trio on any given slate. Rantanen’s lead in the Art Ross race has vanished, however the kid still has 20 goals and 68 points across 45 games on the season to go along with 116 shots as well. Like MacKinnon, Rantanen has stayed extremely productive despite some recent poor fortunes for the Avalanche as he’s tallied four goals and six assists across his last nine games. Rantanen enters this one with eight goals and 38 points in just 25 road games this season, but I expect more goals to come for the youngster away from home considering he owns just an 11.9% shooting percentage on the road compared to an unsustainable 24.5% mark at home. Nonetheless, with a game that has a 6.5 goal total tonight, I am looking for the Avs’ big boys to get the job done in this one.
W – Gabriel Landeskog (COL) – $7,100 vs. TOR
Landeskog might not have as many points as his linemates do, but he leads the team in goals with 27 and that’s what I am looking for tonight as he completes a three-man stack for this group tonight. In fact, it’s already a career-high in goals for the 26-year-old as he clipped the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career. He’s often a forgotten commodity, but he owns the skillset to do plenty of damage, especially with the linemates he skates with in all offensive situations in MacKinnon and Rantanen. Now, I do expect his goal-scoring to curtail at some point as he’s shooting at a 18.5% rate right now, miles above his 11.5% career mark. That said, I just don’t expect it to stop tonight. He has three goals and three assists over his last four games and I expect this game to be a wide open one tonight, so expect this Avalanche trio to get the job done in this one tonight.
W – Nino Niederreiter (MIN) – $3,400 vs. PHI
A nice value play that I like tonight is Niederreiter as he takes on the Flyers. Niederreiter will skate with Staal on the Wild’s second line, but he will also give us exposure to their second power play unit while Staal and one of our defensemen will form a mini-stack on the team’s top unit, He’s probably looking for some more production with just eight goals and 21 points in 44 games this season, but this is a guy that has scored at least 20 goals in three of his last four seasons with his 18 goals from last season being the only time he missed the mark in that span. Therefore, I believe he is going to be a reliable scorer moving forward. One thing I like about his upside tonight, aside from the matchup, is the fact he snapped a lengthy 12-game goalless drought with a tally against the Red Wings on Saturday. The last time he broke a goalless drought, he scored three goals in the two games after. Let’s look for some lower-owned production from the Swiss forward tonight.
D – Ryan Suter (MIN) – $4,800 vs. PHI
Considering the very favorable matchup and the fact that Suter logs more ice time than anybody on this Wild team, I think we are getting a discount on the price with the Wild’s best defenseman here in this one. Suter is having a solid season once again with 28 points in 44 games. He brings decent peripheral stats with him in the form of 67 shots on goal and 64 blocked shots, but he’s also averaging 26:22 of ice time per game, ranking him second in the league in that department, trailing only Drew Doughty and his 26:39 mark. Suter snapped a seven-game pointless drought with an assist on Saturday against the Red Wings, so perhaps he and Niederreiter are both due for some more offense tonight. Suter will form a three-man stack with Staal and Niederreiter at even strength while he will also skate with Staal as the lone defenseman on the Wild’s top power play unit.
D – Travis Dermott (TOR) – $3,100 vs. COL
This is a rarity for me to roster a mini-stack where both players don’t get any power play time, but given the high 6.5 goal total in tonight’s matchup between the Avalanche and Maple Leafs, I wanted to get some exposure to the Maple Leafs as well. Dermott holds his own at the offensive end of the ice as the young defenseman has a pair of goals and 12 points in 41 games on the season to go along with 62 shots on goal and 34 blocked shots to boot. It’s not easy for offense to translate into the NHL level for young blueliners like the 22-year-old Dermott, but prior to his NHL promotion last season, Dermott posted a real solid 18 points in 28 AHL games, so we know the capability is there. If he can hit the scoresheet tonight, he would give this lineup a huge boost and I think that’s a distinct possibility in what I expect to be a high-scoring game.
G – Pheonix Copley (WAS) – $8,000 vs. STL
I wasn’t understanding why the Washington Capitals weren’t on the search for a backup goaltender after Copley allowed six goals in his season debut this year after posting a bad .896 Sv% in the AHL last season. Well, perhaps the Capitals saw more of the guy who posted a .931 Sv% in the 2016-17 AHL season as he has proved me and other critics wrong so far this season. The 26-year-old backup has posted a 2.56 GAA and .916 Sv% across 14 starts and 16 appearances on the season. He’s been even better at home with a 2.28 GAA and .924 Sv% across three starts and five appearances at Capital One Arena this season. Copley and the Caps will take on a Blues team ranked 22nd in road offense this season. The Caps are listed as -160 favorites to win this one tonight, so I believe the win upside is substantial while a shutout is always possible against a weak Blues offense.
UTIL – Connor Brown (TOR) – $2,800 vs. COL
Brown’s role has changed the deeper the Maple Leafs offense has gotten over the last couple of seasons, but I think there is an opportunity for production given his recent stretch of good play entering this one tonight. Brown scored 20 goals as a rookie back in the 2016-17 season, but managed just 14 last year and has just four so far this year to go along with 12 helpers for 16 points in 44 games. That said, he has tallied a goal and two assists over his last five games. Keep in mind this is a guy that notched 45 goals and 128 points across 68 games in his final season of junior before turning pro. Clearly, the offensive skillset is there, but he is just utilized more as a penalty killing presence and in less offensive situations under Mike Babcock these days. Still, he’s produced recently and could give this lineup some serious value if he can keep it up in what should be a high-scoring affair tonight.