Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS picks simply didn’t work out as the slate went quite the opposite direction as I had hoped.
For one, I didn’t have any Rangers exposure and they hung six goals on the league’s second-best road defense. I did have three Islanders, however, and those three combined for just six shots on goal, three blocks, but zero points.
I had a three-man Blues stack as well, and despite them scoring four times on the Ducks, that stack flopped as well. It was the Schenn/Schwartz line that did the damage as David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly were both held off the scoresheet with a combined six shots. Alex Pietrangelo notched an assist, one shot and one block.
Our Flames mini-stack was held off the scoresheet as well with Carey Price posting a shutout in a 2-0 Habs win.
Finally, Jordan Binnington didn’t start in goal, but a simple pivot to the Blues’ Jake Allen would have sufficed as Allen turned aside 20 of 21 Ducks shots for the victory.
Getting on assist from your lineup is less than ideal, to say the least. Let’s put this one behind us and move onto tonight’s 11-game slate!
C – John Tavares (TOR) – $7,700 vs. NJ
Kicking off this lineup tonight is Tavares and a Toronto Maple Leafs stack as they take on the visiting New Jersey Devils. To be honest, the Devils have been good on the back end of late, allowing just one goal to each of the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning over their last two games, but they’ve seen been one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL this season and any quality stretch of defense has usually been followed by some harsh performances, and that could be in the cards tonight against the Maple Leafs. Toronto is riding a three-game losing streak into this one, but has still scored at least three times in each of those games and four times in two of the three. They’re still one of the hottest offenses in the NHL and lead the league with 4.06 goals per game since December 1st, so there should be more offense coming against a Devils team that ranks 30th overall with 3.38 goals against per game this season and 20th with 3.41 goals against per game on the road. Enter Tavares who scored a goal his last time out in Florida and has turned up his production of late, notching five goals and 12 points over his last nine games. He’s going to be part of a unique stack tonight, but I’ll look for some offense from the veteran pivot nonetheless.
C – Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – $8,200 vs. MIN
It looks like Sidney Crosby will make his long-awaited return to the lineup from sports hernia surgery tonight, but with the way his top line is listed positionally on FanDuel, I am going to go to the second line where I can get a 5v5 and top power play unit stack going, beginning here with Malkin. The Penguins certainly didn’t miss a beat in his absence as they still rank 14th with 3.25 goals per game on home ice this season, although their power play has struggled a little bit with a 21st-ranked 18.2% mark on home ice. Still, the matchup tonight is a favorable one against a Wild team that sits 27th with 3.60 goals against per game on the road this season where their penalty kill ranks 25th with a 76.3% mark. Enter Malkin who has tallied 13 goals and 44 points on the season to go along with 110 shots in just 32 games, but he really stepped up in Crosby’s absence. Malkin has two goals and six points over his last five games but also nine goals and 30 points over his last 19 games. It’s been vintage Geno Malkin for some time now, and I don’t expect that to stop just because Crosby is back. In fact, his return should help the power play and that unit has some big-time upside against a poor Wild road PK tonight.
W – Alexander Kerfoot (TOR) – $3,700 vs. NJ
I told you the Tavares stack would be unique and thats indeed the case as I am going to fade William Nylander who has been cooled off after a white-hot stretch and attempt to squeeze some value out of Kerfoot. Kerfoot has struggled to produce for the most part in his first season with the Maple Leafs, but he’s not skating with Tavares and Nylander on the second line while also maintaining his spot on the second power play unit. He’ll enter this one with seven goals and 18 points in 41 games on the season, well off his pace of 43 and 42 points in his first and second seasons, respectively. However, he’s still seeing plenty of ice time despite the struggles with 17:43 or more skated in each of his last two games and at least 16:33 in three of his last four. He did get back on the scoresheet with an assist in Florida on Sunday with three shots on goal as well, so perhaps that can get him going. My thinking here is that we could certainly get some serious value out of Kerfoot if he could find the twine in a super-favorable home matchup while playing on a high-octane line for the NHL’s top-scoring team for the last six weeks. If he could find the back of the net tonight, it would be a huge boost to this lineup.
W – Bryan Rust (PIT) – $5,800 vs. MIN
Next man up in our three-man Penguins stack is Rust who just might be the most pleasant surprise the NHL has to offer this season. He’s always been a heart and soul type of player with the Penguins and a guy that certainly chipped in at the offensive end of the ice as part of his 200-foot game and penalty killing prowess, however Rust has ramped his offensive game up several notches this season. He’ll enter tonight’s contest with 18 goals and 38 points in just 31 games to go along with 101 shots on goal and another 25 blocks to boot. The 18 goals to this point in the season already matches his career-high set just last season in 72 games while the 38 points has surpassed last season’s total and matches his career-high set in the 2017-18 season in 69 games. Again, he’s contributed offensively with at least 15 goals in each of his last four seasons, but boy ha sit been taken to another level. Rust is seeing almost 20 minutes of ice time per game and that now includes top-unit power play duties where he will skate with Malkin as well as his 5v5 time spent with him. He’s taken over Patric Hornqvist’s spot as the team’s top-producing right winger, and he brings quality upside to the table here at a mid-range price.
W – Anders Lee (NYI) – $6,400 vs. DET
The Islanders get a quick shot at redemption tonight after taking a 6-2 licking at the hands of the rival Rangers just last night. It was a flop at both ends of the ice for the team, and while allowing six goals isn’t going to win you many games, scoring just two against a bad Rangers back end is a disappointment as well. Now, however, the Islanders get to take on a Red Wings team that is by far the worst defense in the NHL but also the worst road defense where they’ve allowed an even 4.00 goals per game on the season while their 70% mark on the penalty kill away from home is good for 29th league wide. The Islanders are a much better offensive team at home where they’re averaging 3.00 goals per game compared to 2.50 goals per game on the road. Enter Lee who has 13 goals and 25 points on the season in 44 games to go along with 109 shots on goal. His 11.9% shooting percentage this season is well under his 14.2% career mark, but perhaps the shot quality isn’t as high after skating with Tavares for much of his career prior to the last two seasons. Nonetheless, Lee has scored twice over his last four games and despite being beld off the scoresheet in each of his last two, has a wildly favorable matchup to snap that mini-drought tonight.
W – Jordan Eberle (NYI) – $5,100 vs. DET
Eberle was the Islander to own last night as notched a goal and an assist as part of being involved in both Islanders’ goals in that one, and I’ll look for him to continue sporting a hot hand in this one tonight. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eberle go on an extended goal-scoring streak at this point. He’s scored just five goals this season in 34 games on 72 shots, good for a minuscule 6.9% shooting percentage. That mark is miles under his 13% career mark, so Eberle should certainly see improved puck luck over the second half of the season. Perhaps we’ve seen that increased puck luck already as he’s now tallied two goals over his last three games after going 10 in a row without scoring a goal and now he’s scored twice over his last seven shots on goal. The production has been particularly poor at home. He’s registered just one home goal in 16 home games this season and has just seven points in those 16 games. The good news is that he did score two of his goal this season against the Red Wings on four shots back on December 2nd in Detroit as well as his lone power play goal of the season. Let’s see if he can continue his assault on Detroit and see that positive shooting rate regression in this one tonight.
D – Rasmus Sandin (TOR) – $3,500 vs. NJ
The Maple Leafs’ blueline is really banged up on the left side as Morgan Rielly is now out eight weeks with a broken foot while fellow left-handed defender Jake Muzzin is also on the shelf with the same ailment. As a result, the Maple Leafs are dipping into the prospect system and have recalled top prospect Rasmus Sandin for the foreseeable future. Sandin is coming off scoring 10 points in seven games with Sweden at the World Junior Championships, taking home the tournament top defenseman honor in the process. With the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, Sandin has notched two goals and 15 points in 21 games after tallying six goals and 28 points in 44 games as an 18-year-old a season ago. He’s actually logged six games with the Maple Leafs earlier in the season, posting a pair of assists in the process. What I like here is that he’s coming at a minimum price in a fantastic home matchup, but he’ll also take over Rielly’s spot on the second power play unit where he and Kerfoot will form a mini-stack. He’s probably not going to log a ton of ice time, but he might not need it against this Devils defense and I am excited to see what the high-ceiling prospect can do for his value upside tonight.
D – Kris Letang (PIT) – $6,300 vs. MIN
Completing our three-man Penguins stack is Letang who brings a wealth of cross-category production to the table as he also completes a three-man PP1 stack tonight against a poor defense and penalty kill on the road. Letang is once again enjoying a productive, yet injury-shortened season with the Pens, tallying 10 goals and 28 points in 37 games on the season to go along with 108 shots on goal and another 56 blocked shots to boot. That’s well over one block per game, just short of three shots per game and 0.76 points per game on a team that’s missed most of their star talent at one point or another this season. He’s logging huge minutes again this season with his 25:36 of average ice time per game checking in at fifth league wide. It’s been a little bit of a drought for Letang of late, however, as his shooting rate has inevitably regressed, but I’m hoping a bad Wild road defense can snap that cold streak. He’s recored just two points over his last seven games, both of which were assists and both of which came in the same game one week ago today in Vegas. Still, I like the upside on the power play tonight with Crosby back in action but I’m simply looking for his cross-category potential to show through in a favorable home matchup.
G – Frederik Andersen (TOR) – $8,300 vs. NJ
He’s enduring one heck of a cold spell at the moment, one that has played a part in a reduced price against a Devils team that is already a poor offensive team but will also be missing their top goal-scorer for this one tonight. Andersen was pulled for the second time in less than a week on Sunday in Florida after allowing four goals on 12 shots in just under 21 minutes of action. He was also pulled after allowing three goals on 19 shots in just under 22 minutes of action last Monday against the Oilers. He now owns a 4.72 GAA and .879 Sv% over his four January outings and posted a less-than-stellar 3.03 GAA and .904 Sv% in 11 December outings. For the season, his numbers have regressed to a 2.82 GAA and .912 Sv% and he owns just a 3.09 GAA and .903 Sv% in 19 home games. So, why Andersen? Well, the Devils rank 25th with just 2.41 goals per game on the road this season, the Maple Leafs are huge -260 favorites to win this one on the moneyline tonight and the Devils are without Kyle Palmieri who leads the team with 16 goals on the season. With Taylor Hall being traded and Palmieri out of the lineup, this is a paper-thin Devils offense and considering the discounted price tag, I like Andersen’s ability to get back on track in this one tonight.