We got solid production from our lineup last night but an injured goalie and a failed mini-stack really set us back.
Our three-man Maple Leafs stack did a solid job as Auston Matthews scored a goal on seven shots with a block, Mitch Marner notched a pair of assists, two shots and a block and Tyson Barrie recorded an assist, two shots and four blocks to boot. Nice production here.
Our Rangers mini-stack came through as well. Pavel Buchnevich scored a power play goal early in the first period and added three shots on goal while Adam Fox tallied an assist and two blocks.
It’s the remainder of the lineup that let us down. The Flyers beat the Red Wings 3-0, but neither Jakub Voracek or Sean Couturier got on the scoresheet while Couturier’s shot and block were the only production from that duo with Voracek posting a zero.
Also involved in that game – and our lineup – was Brendan Perlini who registered just one shot on goal.
Finally, our goaltender – Frederik Andersen – was injured in the first period of last night’s game after making seven saves on eight shots and did not return for the second, crushing our lineup in the process.
Half of the lineup did their job and the other half didn’t while we caught a bad break in goal.
Let’s now turn our attention to this huge 13-game slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks & Breakdowns
C – Nathan MacKinnon (COL) – $8,800 vs. BUF
It’s a massive slate with plenty of options on the board, but I am looking towards Colorado tonight as they continue an eastern swing that takes them through western New York tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.
No, the Sabres haven’t been the worst home defense in the league where they rank 13th with 2.81 goals against per game, but they are still forced to go with goaltender Carter Hutton who has struggled this season to the tune of a 3.13 GAA and .897 Sv% on the season. Hutton has been better of late with a .942 SV% in two starts since taking over for the injured Linus Ullmark, but those games came against the Senators and Blue Jackets, two of the worst offensive teams in the league.
The task is tougher tonight against an Avalanche team that is tied for fourth with 3.36 goals per game on the road this season and MacKinnon who remains very much in the thick of the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy race. The Avalanche center has tallied 30 goals and 72 points in 50 games on the season to go along with 12 goals and 32 points in 25 road games. His 232 shots on the season ranks him third in the NHL and he’s posted 11 shots over his last two games.
The Avalanche are the far superior team here so let’s grab some exposure and have them take Buffalo to task tonight.
C – Pierre-Luc Dubois (CBJ) – $5,700 vs. FLA
I just got done saying the Blue Jackets are one of the worst offense teams in the NHL, so it makes sense to throw out a Jackets stack, right?
Well, tonight it does. Yes, Columbus ranks 24th with 2.70 goals per game on the season and also 24th with 2.81 per game at home, but tonight it’s the matchup and my stacked player that I am concerned about. The matchup is fantastic against a Panthers team that ranks 25th with 3.40 goals against per game on the road this season, and they’re playing their second game in as many nights. They won their game last night in Toronto by a 5-3 count, but were thoroughly dominated throughout and could very well be without elite 200-foot center Aleksander Barkov again tonight after he missed last night’s game.
Enter Dubois who is playing some of the best hockey of his NHL career. The young center has tallied 17 goals and 42 points in 53 games on the season, but has also scored two goals and six assists for eight points over his last four games. He bagged a pair of goals in Montreal on Sunday and added an assist in that one as well. The Panthers are struggling mightily on the back end, their goaltending is weak regardless of who is in goal and, as noted, it’s their second game in as many nights so I will look for Dubois and the Jackets to pounce tonight.
W – Mikko Rantanen (COL) – $7,400 vs. BUF
Rantanen is back up playing with MacKinnon these days after head coach Jared BEdnar has done some line shuffling at times this season, and he always brings a massive ceiling to the table when he’s skating alongside number 29.
Rantanen isn’t having quite the same season as he did last season with 35 points in 34 games compared to the 87 points he posted in 74 contests a season ago, but part of that is not playing with MacKinnon for the entire season like he did a season ago.
He’s also hot entering this one. Rantanen has tallied a goal and four points over his last three games and he too has been good on the road this season where he’s tallied nine goals and 16 points in as many games. The 23-year-old has been excellent on the power play, however, with 11 points but also seven goals on the man advantage. This Buffalo team is tied for 22nd with a 79.2% mark on the penalty kill at home this season and is just 6 for 10 over their last three games on the kill – all at home. It would seem the Avs have a big opportunity on the power play tonight so let’s look for Rantanen to increase that power play goal total in this one.
W – Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ) – $5,900 vs. FLA
If he didn’t miss time with injury, Bjorkstrand would be considered the hottest player in the NHL right now, but his consistent production was interrupted in late December as he missed nearly a month with a rib injury.
The 24-year-old scored two goals in a game on December 21st against the Devils, but that was when he sustained the injury. Nearly a month later he came back and tallied two goals in back-to-back games heading into the All-Star break and then scored a goal on Saturday in the first game out of the break. Add it up and he scored seven goals over a four-game goal streak but the streak spanned five weeks due to the injury. He did tally an assist in Montreal on Saturday to extend his point streak to eight games and he’s notched 10 goals and 13 points over that stretch.
So, to me, he’s the most dangerous player on this team right now and I certainly want him in this lineup and in this matchup. He’s now scored 17 goals and 29 points in 40 games to go along with 136 shots in what is certainly a breakout season for the Dane, although he did score a healthy 23 goals last season. His shooting rate is a rather normal 12.5% at the moment, so there’s no regression to worry about despite the recent hot stretch that actually saw him regress positively, as expected. With the white-hot stick I’ll look for Bjorkstrand to keep it up tonight.
W – Ondrej Kase (ANH) – $3,400 vs. OTT
This is where the lineup takes a notable GPP turn as Kase lines up against the Ottawa Senators tonight on the road.
No, the Ottawa Senators aren’t a great defense – although better at home – so the Ducks could see some ownership tonight, but not they’re also a low-scoring offense on a slate featuring 26 teams, so I don’t think these guys are going to see much ownership at all tonight.
The Senators have been getting absolutely dominated in the shot department and puck possession game of late and have allowed a lot of goals and a lot of goals on the power play of late as well, so I think Kase and the Ducks have an opportunity to get some offense going in this one. The Sens are now tied for 17th with 2.96 goals against per game at home, but have also allowed an average of 43.5 shots per game at home over their last four.
Enter Kase who has scored six goals and 21 points in 46 games, but also has 120 shots in that time and therefore a minuscule 5% shooting rate as a result. He’s shot at 9.6% for his career and at 11.7% or higher in each of the last two seasons, so that rate has absolutely nowhere to go but up moving forward. He’s also been productive of late with three goals and seven points over his last 10 games. He’s a second-line winger with second unit power play duties against a Sens team that has gone 70.6% on the penalty kill over their last four games, so let’s see if that positive shooting rate progression kicks in again tonight.
W – Max Jones (ANH) – $3,100 vs. OTT
Jones comes to us at nearly the minimum price and appears to be in a nice spot on the depth chart, skating alongside Kase on the Ducks’ second line, although he doesn’t appear set for any power play time.
Nonetheless, Jones has some potential. The 21-year-old has skated in 41 games this season, tallying six goals and eight points on 76 shots. No, the point total isn’t any good in a little less than 14 minutes per game, but he’s on pace for a 12-goal season which isn’t bad at all for a rookie on a low-scoring team. Furthermore, one of those goals came in the Ducks’ last game against the Kings, a game in which he also put three shots on goal.
He’s certainly getting an opportunity. He’s skated as much as 16:39 in a game of late and as much as 14:27 or more in 16 of his last 18 games as the Ducks are looking to develop their young forwards on the fly. He’s a 2016 first-round pick for a reason and he’s shown that he can put the puck in the net in what has mostly been a bottom-six role.
Again, it’s the Senators getting dominated of late that has me liking the Ducks in this one and if their second line can get some offense going this lineup will be in business tonight.
D – Cale Makar (COL) – $5,600 vs. BUF
I am going to complete a couple of three-man stacks with a couple of young, talented blueliners in this lineup, beginning here with Makar in Buffalo.
Given the Sabres’ struggles on the penalty kill for most of the season and especially of late, I like the upside that Makar brings to the table. The Avalanche haven’t actually had a ton of success on the power play away from home this season where they rank 26th with a 14.6% mark on the season, but this is a nice opportunity to get that turned around. After all, they did connect on one of three opportunities in Philly on Saturday, so it’s not like they never score on the man advantage on the road.
Makar has been a beast on the power play. He’s tallied 11 goals and 37 points in 42 games as the front-runner for Rookie of the Year, but also has three goals and 15 points on the man advantage. That’s tied for eighth among NHL defensemen this season.
While he’s had a little more success at home, his road splits are just fine. He’s notched 20 points in as many home games, but also 17 points in 22 road contests and has shot the puck fairly evenly across both splits as well. My gut tells me the Avs get minimum four goals in this one tonight and perhaps two on the power play, so let’s see of this high-upside stack can indeed cash in tonight.
D – Zach Werenski (CBJ) – $6,500 vs. FLA
Completing our three-man Blue Jackets stack is Werenski who is the lone defenseman on the same power play unit that Dubois and Bjorkstrand reside on while he’s the team leader among defenseman with 2:43 of average power play ice time per game.
Still just 22 years of age, Werenski is enjoying another big season for the Blue Jackets, tallying 15 goals and 31 points in 46 games to go along with 125 shots on goal. The Blue Jackets rank 19th with a 19% mark on the power play at home and Werenski has four goals and 11 points on the man advantage this season while his 15 goals on the whole puts him first in the NHL among defensemen.
His splits also heavily favor the home side where this one will take place tonight. He’s notched just five goals and 12 points in 22 road games, but also 10 goals and 19 points in 24 home games where he’s tallied seven of his 11 power play points. He’s also logging roughly a minute more of ice time per game at home. He’s seeing plenty of ice time these days with close to or more than 24 minutes in 10 straight games. If he can log that type of ice time in this matchup tonight I love the potential for him to get number 16, or more, in this one tonight.
G – Ilya Samsonov (FLA) – $8,400 vs. LA
There are a ton of goaltending options on this slate that I like. David Rittich in Calgary has nice value, I like Philipp Grubauer in Buffalo and Elvis Merzlikins has been on fire for the Blue Jackets, but I like Ilya Samsonov for a few reasons.
For one, he’s been excellent this season. He’ll enter tonight’s matchup sporting a 2.21 GAA and .923 Sv% on the season to go along with an eye-popping 16-3-1 record as well. He allowed four goals on 33 shots (.879 Sv%) against the Penguins on Sunday, but still owns a 2.23 GAA and .926 Sv% at home.
Second, the matchup is fabulous. The Kings enter this one ranked just 27th with 2.34 goals per game on the road this season, but they also rank first in the NHL with 34.1 shots per game on the road. That means that the Kings shoot the puck a lot but don’t score much. For Samsonov, that means an opportunity rack up plenty of saves while not allowing many, if any, goals. It’s the DFS goaltender’s dream combination and I want to look to exploit it.
Finally, the Capitals are listed as massive -245 favorite to win this one on the moneyline tonight – the heaviest favorites on the slate, in fact – so Samsonov would appear to have superior win upside to every other netminder on the slate tonight.
Add it all up and he’s bar-none by top goaltender on the slate and should provide a combination of safety and a big ceiling in this one tonight.