My last set of FanDuel NHL DFS Picks came on Friday night, and once again I ended up being right and wrong at the same time.
I mean, when you stack a team’s top line against the Red Wings and that team scores six goals, you’d reasonably expect to get some production. Rather, the trio of Claude Giroux, Morgan Frost and Travis Konecny were held off the scoresheet in that one. Wildly disappointing.
I found much more success in stacking the Wild against the Ottawa Senators as the Wild blew them out 7-2 and we received a goal from each of Zach Parise and Eric Staal, although Matt Dumba failed to deliver on his value upside with a pointless night.
We received a combined three assists from the Timo Meier/Erik Karlsson mini-stack and Carter Hart gave us our desired value with a 32-save performance in a winning effort against the Red Wings.
Let’s see if we can get back into profit land on tonight’s two-game main slate!
C – Elias Pettersson (VAN) – $7,500 vs. EDM
It won’t take long for the Oilers and Canucks to renew hostilities as they met last night in Edmonton – a 5-2 win by the Canucks – and the rematch switches to Vancouver tonight the home side looking for the weekend sweep of their Pacific Division rivals. Like the vast majority of teams, the Canucks are more dangerous offensively on home ice and they are among the league’s very best offenses at home as their 4.00 goals per game at Rogers Arena checks in at third league wide. For what it’s worth, they also own the highest shooting percentage at 5v5 among teams at home this season with a mark of 10.78%. Whether you believe that numbers is in for regression or not, the fact that guys like Petterson, Boeser and co. are the ones shooting most of those pucks, it makes sense why they’ve been so deadly at home this season. Anter Pettersson who has tallied 11 goals and 31 points in 27 games this season. His 16.2% shooting percentage is high, but it’s clear that he’s going to be a guy that can maintain a high shooting percentage considering he shot at 19.4% last season. He was actually held off the scoresheet last night despite the team scoring five goals but with 13 points in 10 home games this season I’ll look for him to get back on the scoresheet tonight.
C – David Krejci (BOS) – $6,800 vs. MON
With Patrice Bergeron still missing from the Bruins’ lineup, it’s David Krejci that will continue to skate alongside Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on the team’s top line. He hasn’t actually found his way to the team’s top power play unit as of yet, so I won’t be stacking the big boys in a more GPP-oriented lineup as the Bruins take on the rival Canadiens for the second time this week after they dismantled Montreal 8-1 earlier in the week at the Bell Centre. While the Canucks are the league’s third-ranked home offense, the Bruins are the NHL’s sixth-ranked home offense with 3.71 goals per game at home and second-ranked offense overall with their 3.69 goals falling behind only the Colorado Avalanche and their 3.73 mark. Furthermore, the Canadiens have been brutalized defensively of late, allowing an average of six goals against per game over their last four while they have lost seven in a row overall. Krejci will enter this one with five goals and 19 points on the season, just don’t expect many shots with just 31 shots in those 20 contests. Skating with the Bruins’ elite dynamic duo has helped him tally three goals and six points over his last four games with four multi-point games over his last six. Plenty of reasons to like the veteran in this matchup tonight.
W – Brock Boeser (VAN) – $7,300 vs. EDM
Next man up in our three-man Canucks stack is Boeser who will skate alongside Pettersson on the team’s top line as well as the top power play unit. Speaking of that power play, it’s the fourth-ranked unit in the league at the moment with a 26.9% clip while that mark increases a little bit to 31.4% at home, also good for fourth in the league. It’s not going to be a cakewalk against the Oilers and their league-best 90.4% mark on the penalty kill away from home, but I’m very much okay with rostering this elite duo skating together in all situations tonight. It’s been another quality season for Boeser as he’ll enter this one with 10 goals and 24 assists in 27 games on the season to go along with 82 shots on goal – good for a hair more than three shots per game, on average. Boeser was also held off the scoresheet in last night’s win, however he also fired six shots on goal in that one. He’s now put 12 shots on goal across four games since last scoring, and you don’t keep this guy down too long. He shot at just 6.8% in the month of November, so now that the calendar has flipped to December I’ll look for his puck luck to change for the better, beginning tonight.
W – J.T. Miller (VAN) – $6,100 vs. EDM
The Canucks traded for Miller at the draft this past summer and some thought they were crazy to include a first-round pick for the forward, especially considering the Canucks were thought to still be in rebuild mode and not yet ready to contend. Well, Miller has silenced those naysayers as he is enjoying a big start to his Canucks tenure. He’s spent a lot of the season skating with Pettersson and Boeser, and that’s where we’ll find him again tonight. He’s meshed well with that duo in notching 12 goals and 27 points in as many games to go along with 65 shots on goal. Sure, his 18.5% shooting percentage is much higher than his 14% career mark, but I would expect a higher percentage skating alongside this dynamic young duo. Miller was the lone member of this line to get involved in the scoring last night with an assist and two shots on goal, giving him four goals and three helpers for seven points over his last five games. He’s also logging north of 20 minutes per game in a regular season – seven times in his last eight to be precise. He’s an all-situation player for head coach Travis Green and while the back-to-back should have him skating less than the 21:48 he skated last night, there’s no choice but to roster him alongside Boeser and Pettersson in all situations.
W – Jake DeBrusk (BOS) – $5,000 vs. MON
DeBrusk and Krejci skate together on the Bruins’ second line as well as the second power play unit. DeBrusk has dealt with injuries this season, and his five goals and 11 points in 21 games is certainly nothing to write home about. However, DeBrusk has been much better lately in scoring two goals and five points over his last four games with his first goal in that time coming on the power play, although it’s his lone power play goal of the season. DeBrusk used to skate on the Bruins’ top power play last season, and it’s no surprise that his overall production is down on the season as he’s been relegated to the second unit and his ice time has also decreased as a result. The fact that his production has picked up of late, however, isn’t surprising. DeBrusk finished the month of October with a minuscule 3.6% shooting percentage. However, he scored two goals in his first two games of November before getting hurt for a couple of weeks. All told, he finished November with a 20% shooting percentage for the month, although his current 10.4% mark for the season is well under his 13.8% mark for his career. I’ll let the positive regression continue against a struggling back end tonight.
W – Zack Kassian (EDM) – $4,400 vs. VAN
The Canucks have been pretty good defensively this season, however as long as Kassian is skating alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the team’s top line he is always going to have plenty of value upside at this price and I’ll look for that value to show through again tonight as it did last night. Kassian scored his ninth of the season in last night’s contest, which easily puts him on pace for a career-high. In fact, his current pace is a 26-goal pace over an 82-game season, which would almost double the career-high of 15 goals he scored just a season ago. He snapped a five-game goalless drought with last night’s tally while he skated more than 17 minutes for the fifth straight game. Again, coaches tend to roll four lines more fluidly in the second game of a back-to-back set, so while Kassian could see that streak end tonight, I’m simply not concerned as he’ll still skate every one of his 5v5 shifts alongside two of the top players in the world at the moment. That in itself gives me plenty of reason to roll with the 28-year-old in this lineup tonight.
D – Charlie McAvoy (BOS) – $4,300 vs. MON
Completing this three-man Bruins stack is McAvoy who will form a three-man stack with Krejci and DeBrusk at both even strength and on the team’s second power play unit even though that group is used far less than the elite top unit the Bruins roll out. McAvoy doesn’t shoot the puck much as he’s averaged just 1.30 shots per game in his regular season career, and he has just 27 shots in 26 games this season. Still, he scored seven goals in each of his injury-shortened first two seasons in the league. This season, however, McAvoy has yet to score a goal in 26 games played and on those 27 shots. He’s managed a shooting percentage of 9.1% and 8.9% in his rookie and sophomore seasons, respectively, and scored one goal per 11.1 shots in that time, on average. According to that math, McAvoy should have two goals by now and is well overdue to score as a result. Otherwise, he logs a nice amount of ice time per game at 22:41 while skating alongside the ageless Zdeno Chara and is also a shot-blocking machine with 53 blocks on the season, a hair over two per game. I’m here for the positive goal-scoring regression as he takes on a team that has allowed plenty of them of late.
D – Darnell Nurse (EDM) – $4,000 vs. VAN
Completing my Oilers mini-stack is Nurse who has fallen off a little bit on the offensive side of the puck this season as he’s tallied two goals and 12 points in 28 games on the season, however his peripheral stats are just fine. He’s put 58 shots on goal in those 28 games – slightly more than two per game – and has also chipped in 50 blocks as well. The result this season is quite similar to the cross-category upside he flashed last year when he saw an increased role. He took advantage of the increased role and posted 10 goals and 41 points in 82 games to go along with 196 shots on goal. He saw top-unit power play time with McDavid and co. with Oscar Klefbom sidelined, however Nurse is now skating on the team’s second unit, but that unit also contains Kassian, so we get a mini-stack at even strength and on the Oilers’ second power play group. To be honest, I’d say he’s also due for some positive goal-scoring regression. He’s gone 17 games without a goal and 35 shots without scoring. He reached double-digit goals for the first time in his career last season and while he was never a lock to do so again this season, he’s at least due to find twine any game now.
G – Tuukka Rask (BOS) – $8,800 vs. MON
The Canadiens’ offensive struggles haven’t been to the same level as their defensive struggles, however they managed just one goal in their meeting earlier in the week with the Bruins and will have a tough time again tonight facing one of the league’s best overall and home defenses. The Bruins are actually the league’s top-ranked overall defense with 2.31 goals against per game on the season. They are tied with the Arizona Coyotes for third in the NHL with just 2.14 goals against per game on home ice despite actually ranking 26th with 32.3 shots against per game on the season. Why the difference? Well, much of it has to do with this guy right here who has been confirmed as tonight’s starter in goal. Rask enters this one sporting a 2.10 GAA and .931 Sv% on the season across 16 outings – winning 12 of those. His work at home has been phenomenal as he sports a 1.96 GAA and .935 Sv% on the season across nine outings at the TD Garden. He was a little inconsistent in November, but finished the month strong with a 33-save outing in a 2-1 win at Ottawa on Wednesday. With the Bruins listed as -185 favorites to win this one tonight, I think we’re in good hands with this play.