It was not a very good lineup at all coming out of the break last night as I had six players going in the Flyers/Rangers game and that game ended in a 1-0 Flyers win despite some very poor goaltending on board.
The positives from the lineup included the Sam Reinhart/Rasmus Dahlin mini-stack from the Sabres as Reinhart notched a goal and Dahlin tallied a pair of assists. Reinhart also added a whopping seven shots on goal and two blocks to boot, giving our lineup plenty of value.
Our goaltender also delivered some solid value as Connor Hellebuyck notched the underdog win in Boston. He turned aside 36 of 39 shots in the shootout victory.
Let’s put a mostly disappointing lineup behind us and move onto tonight’s tiny two-game slate.
C – Tyler Seguin (DAL) – $6,300 vs. BUF
The Stars and Sabres collide tonight in Dallas in what marks Dallas’ first game since the All-Star break. Prior to the break, the Stars were absolutely scuffling in losing four straight and averaging a horrendous 0.75 goals per game over that stretch, however they got their offense back in gear with a 4-2 win over the Jets in their final game before heading into the break. Seguin remains a very high-floor player on any slate as he enters tonight’s contest with 18 goals and 45 points across 49 games on the season. Whenever I used Seguin in the first half of the season, I spoke to the fact that he was due for major positive regression in the goal-scoring department due to a tiny shooting percentage relative to his career average. That regression indeed kicked in as Seguin scored six goals in a four-game span and tallied another in that win over the Jets prior to the break. He is still well under his 11.1% shooting percentage at 9.2% on the season, so perhaps we can still expect another goal-scoring tear from the star pivot moving forward.
C – Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – $6,000 vs. TB
The Lightning and Penguins get together tonight in Pittsburgh in what should be a wildly entertaining game, however I think it’s possible the home side does more damage than the visitors in this one, and at my own risk I am fading the Tampa Bay big guns as a result. Malkin isn’t putting up the big points-per-game numbers we have seen from him in the past, but I’m not about to argue with 14 goals and 53 points in 49 games on the season. I can also argue that Malkin is due for some more puck luck moving forward as his current 11% shooting percentage is notably under his 13.6% career mark. The Pens were dealt a loss in their return from the break Monday against the Devils, but Malkin’s assist in that game gave him a three-game point streak while he has been held off the scoresheet just once in 10 January contests. He also has 13 points in those 10 games. He kicks off a three-man stack in this lineup tonight.
W – Alexander Radulov (DAL) – $6,400 vs. BUF
Usually there is a decision to be made whether to roster Radulov or Benn alongside Seguin if you are going to use just one, however that decision had already been made for us tonight. It appears that head coach Jim Montgomery has shuffled his lines and put Radek Faksa down the middle alongside Benn in a hope to get some scoring from two lines, but that move has left Radulov alongside Seguin at both even strength and on the Stars’ top power play unit. Besides, Radulov has been more productive than his former linemate this season as he enters this one with 14 goals and 41 points across 39 games this season. He’s not a terribly big shooter with 108 shots on the season, but when you play with a guy in Seguin who ranks fourth in the league with 196 shots on goal, it’s tough to rack up shots of your own. Nonetheless, I am looking for this duo to get the job done tonight against a Sabres team that ranks 19th with 3.19 goals against per game on the season, and also a team playing their second game in as many nights.
W – Mattias Janmark (DAL) – $2,600 vs. BUF
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary to this Stars line juggling could be Janmark who all the sudden finds himself on a line with Seguin and Radulov, a spot that gives him massive value upside at a near-minimum price tonight. It’s been rough go for the 26-year-old Swede as he has just three goals in 49 games this season. Janmark was actually one of Dallas’ more productive secondary scorers the last two seasons with 15 goals in his rookie season back in 2015-16 before missing all of the 2016-17 season. That said, he roared back with 19 goals last season, but hasn’t been able to get it going this time around. I am once again going to look at his tiny 4.3% shooting percentage and the massive discrepancy between that figure and his 11.8% career mark as a reason why he can get some more puck luck moving forward. A goal or assist from the struggling forward would give this lineup a big shot in the arm.
W – Phil Kessel (PIT) – $5,800 vs. TB
Kessel seems to be coming to us at a real nice price tonight as he will skate alongside Malkin on the Penguins’ second line as well as their top power play unit. It’s been another ho-hum productive season from the American as he has scored 20 goals and added 33 helpers for 53 points in 49 games to match his linemate Malkin. Kessel has scored those 20 goals on 131 shots, good for a 15.3% shooting percentage, which is above his 11.0% mark. However, Kessel is also a very good playmaker, therefore I am okay with him playing setup man for Malkin in helping his linemates positive regression in the goal-scoring department. He’s buried two goals over his last three games and had a goal and an assist in Pittsburgh’s previous game against Tampa Bay earlier in the year. Let’s look for some production from this high-flying duo tonight.
D – Kris Letang (PIT) – $5,900 vs. TB
Our second three-man stack is complete here with the addition of Letang who will not only skate with Malkin and Kessel at even strength, but also on the top power play unit. Tampa Bay has the league’s third-ranked home penalty kill, but they fall all the way to a share of 19th with a 78.5% mark on the road, giving me reason to believe this trio has plenty of upside to connect on the man advantage tonight. The All-Star Letang enters this one tonight with 11 goals and 40 points in 47 games on the season to go along with 142 shots on goal and 85 blocked shots to boot. Therefore, this guy is a serious cross-category producer, which makes sense given he is the priciest player on this slate tonight. Tampa Bay is a middle-of-the-pack road defense at 16th, so I believe the Penguins can be the higher scoring team this evening despite Pittsburgh’s struggles on the back end at home.
D – Mikhail Sergachev (TB) – $4,400 vs. PIT
Speaking of those troubles, I obviously believe the Lightning are going to get some offense going tonight, but I am hoping it comes from a lower-owned stack for this lineup that could be considered a GPP lineup. He’s not having quite the season he had as a rookie last year, but the 20-year-old Sergachev still has 18 points in 45 games this season. Furthermore, both of his tallies on the year have come over his last six games while he’s notched three helpers in that time as well, giving him five points over his last six games. Sergachev doesn’t see a ton of ice time as he averages under 18 minutes per game, however he skates on the second power play unit where he will form a mini-stack with our utility player tonight. It would be fantastic if this duo could provide some offense at fairly low ownership tonight.
G – Ben Bishop (TB) – $8,100 vs. BUF
Given the 7-goal total in the Penguins/Lightning game tonight and the Stars listed as -170 favorites to beat the Sabres on home ice this evening, Bishop is very likely to be the highest-owned goaltender on the slate, and for good reason. The Stars are quietly the league’s third-ranked defense with 2.61 goals against per game on the year while that number drops to 2.44 at home, good for fifth. Bishop has been brilliant on home ice this season where he’s gone 10-5-2 with a 2.26 GAA and .926 Sv% across 17 starts this season. He scuffled a little bit prior to the break, but got back in gear with a 27-save victory over the Jets in his most recent outing. The Sabres’ road offense isn’t much to write home about with their 2.77 goals per game away from home ranking 19th, so look for Bishop to get the job done tonight with the Stars listed as heavy favorites.
UTIL – Yanni Gourde (TB) – $4,500 vs. PIT
Gourde’s goals-scoring has calmed down from last year’s breakout 25-goal season as a rookie. Still, he has 12 goals and 30 points in 49 games this season, albeit just on 88 shots on goal. Gourde has actually been rather productive on the power play despite skating mostly on the second unit where he will find himself tonight alongside Sergachev. He has four goals and three helpers on the man advantage this season and could very well take advantage of the Penguins’ 21st-ranked home penalty kill of 78.8%. The Penguins also rank 28th with 3.25 goals against per game at home this season and have allowed 13 goals over their last two games. Such stats make fading the Point’s/Kucherov’s/Stamkos’ of the world a risky proposition, so this lineup is better suited for GPPs despite some high-floor players listed above. Nonetheless, I think there is plenty of value to be unlocked with the sophomore Gourde this evening.