It’s been a quiet time in the NHL with the bye week for many teams across the league heading into the All-Star break, which in turn means some small slates as per yesterday’s two-gamer.
That said, we get a notable five-game slate on this Tuesday evening, so let’s nail some FanDuel NHL DFS picks and line our pockets!
C – Sidney Crosby (PIT) – $8,500 vs. PHI
I am going to predict a high-scoring affair in the Penguins/Flyers game on Tuesday night from Philly. While the Flyers enter this one tied for first with 2.08 goals against per game at home this season, they’ll also be without starting netminder Carter Hart for this one as he’s injured at the moment which means we’ll either see Brian Elliott or Alex Lyon in the Flyers’ crease. Those two have done a solid job to this point in Hart’s absence, but Hart’s 1.69 GAA and .940 Sv% at home is simply ridiculous and the leading reason why the Flyers are among the NHL’s best defenses at home. Besides, they’ve averaged 3.33 goals against per game over their last three at home, as well. Enter Crosby who has been on fire since coming back from sports hernia surgery. In his four games back, Crosby has tallied three goals and five helpers for eight points in that time to go along with 10 shots on goal. He’s helped a stagnant Penguins power play as well with three power play points in that span as well. He’s part of a Penguins team that’s tied for seventh with 3.30 goals per game on the road despite a plethora of injuries all season long and Pittsburgh has averaged 3.50 goals per game since his return. I’m all for a Penguins stack tonight.
C – Sean Couturier (PHI) – $6,700 vs. PIT
I’m also all for a Flyers stack as they have been one of the NHL’s best home offenses this season. For their part, the Penguins sit 12th with 3.00 goals against per game on the road this season, but this just has more to do with this Flyers home offense that’s been dynamite all season long. The Flyers enter this one tied for fifth with 3.54 goals per game on home ice this season and eighth with a 23.8% clip on the power play at the Wells Fargo Center this season. Couturier will kick off a three-man 5v5 and power play stack tonight, although he’s skating on the second unit these days. While you could call his line the top line or the second line, the bottom line is that he is now tied for the team lead with 42 points on the season as he’s tallied 13 goals and 29 helpers to go along with 128 shots on goal which is the second-highest mark on the Flyers. As a result, he’s outperforming Claude Giroux by a wide margin as Giroux has just 34 points, although his 144 shots are the most on the team. Still, I like getting Couturier down the middle to kick off a three-man stack rather than using Giroux as a winger in this lineup. We’re getting more bang for our buck with this group tonight.
W – Patric Hornqvist (PIT) – $5,700 vs. PHI
Next man up in our three-man Penguins stack is Hornqvist who is now skating alongside Sidney Crosby on the team’s top line as well as on the Penguins’ top power play unit which is a nice spot to be these days. Since Crosby returned to the lineup four games ago, the Penguins have gone 4 for 13 on the man advantage, good for a 30.8% clip. Along with being one of the better defenses at home this season, the Flyers have also been sharp on the penalty kill where they rank fourth with an 86.3% mark on the season, but again I think the Penguins will be able to crack that group with weaker goaltending in goal. This isn’t the same Hornqvist that we saw just a few years back as his style of play has perhaps taken its toll on the 33-year-old at this point, but he’s still been able to score goals and rack up shots at a healthy rate with 11 goals on 92 shots in just 32 games this season. He was reunited with Crosby in the Penguins’ 4-3 win on Sunday over the Bruins and he tallied an assist in 17:11 worth of ice time, a huge increase over his 13:25 in his previous game. Crosby is one of the hottest players in the NHL right now and I think Hornqvist is in a quality spot to produce on his wing in all offensive situations tonight.
W – Jakub Voracek (PHI) – $6,200 vs. PIT
Next man up in our Flyers stack is Voracek who will skate with Couturier at 5v5 as well as on the Flyers’ second power play unit. It’s been a fairly productive season for the veteran winger and a typical Voracek season. He’s been able to generate some high points totals in his career, but largely thanks to his play-making ability. His career-high in goals is 23 from the 2013-14 season, and he’s a consistent producer in that department with exactly 20 in each of the last three seasons. However, Voracek has nine goals this season and 28 helpers for 37 points in 49 games. Last season, he had 20 goals and 46 assists with 20 goals and 65 assists the previous year. The moral of the story is that we should be anticipating assists over goals when using Voracek. Still, he has a consistent history of putting plenty of pucks on goal with at least 210 shots on goal in each of his last six seasons. The problem is that those 210 shots came last season and he’s on pace for just 146 this season. It could be because he’s seeing roughly two minutes fewer of ice time per game, but Voracek just isn’t shooting the puck as much these days. Still, he’s shooting more ar home and has 20 points in 24 home games, so I think we’re in good hands as long as he’s setting up his linemates for offense in this one.
W – Joel Farabee (PHI) – $3,400 vs. PIT
Completing our three-man Flyers stack is Farabee who is going to skate with Couturier and Voracek at both 5v5 and on the team’s second power play unit for this one tonight. He was recently sent to the AHL for a four-game stint, but after tallying three goals and four points in that time, Farabee has been recalled and enjoyed plenty of success since. Farabee has tallied a goal in each of his last two games for the Flyers, one of which came on that second power play unit. He’s now tallied five goals and 14 points in his 39 games as a rookie after being taken 14th overall by the Flyers in the 2018 draft. That’s solid production for a 19-year-old. All that said, we should temper expectations as Farabee isn’t playing a whole lot despite his spot on the top line and second power play unit as he skated just 11:55 on Saturday against the Kings and only 10:14 on Thursday against the Canadiens. Nonetheless, the fact of the matter is he’s delivered owners a ton of value of late and I want to see if we can squeeze some more value out of him as a value player playing up the depth chart on a high-octane Flyers home offense.
W – Alex DeBrincat (CHI) – $5,800 vs. FLA
There’s an interesting one going down in Chicago tonight as the white-hot Blackhawks – winners of five in a row – take on the Panthers who have taken over as the highest-scoring team in the NHL on an overall basis. Stacks and exposure to both teams make sense in this one, but the Blackhawks will hold the goaltending advantage in this one with Robin Lehner likely getting the nod for the home side while the struggling Sergei Bobrovsky will likely start for the Panthers. It’s been one step forward and two steps back for the two-time Vezina winner all season and hopes of a consistent turnaround are quickly fading. As a result of his struggles, the Panthers rank 21st with 3.41 goals against per game on the road this season and 23rd with a 77.9% mark on the penalty kill away from home. Add in the fact the Blackhawks have averaged a whopping 4.40 goals per game in their five-game win streak and there’s something to work with here. DeBrincat hasn’t enjoyed as much success as hoped to this point in the season, but has still managed 12 goals and 34 points in 50 games on 139 shots, so he’s been productive nonetheless. He’s seen a major drop in shooting percentage all the way down to 8.6% from 18.6% last season, and I would certainly expect this season’s number to regress positively as the season moves along and tonight is a good matchup for that to kick in.
D – Kris Letang (PIT) – $6,800 vs. PHI
Completing our three-man Penguins stack is Letang who, as I’ve noted many times in these pieces – is one of the very best cross-category DFS defensemen available. On this particular slate, he’s by far the best and I wanted to ensure he’s a part of this three-man Penguins stack when this team is rolling on the power play. Letang will enter this one with 10 goals and 31 points in 41 games on the season and has 123 shots on goal to his credit as well. Add in another 64 blocked shots and you’re in good hands in every category with this guy. Letang has three goals and 10 points on the power play this season, but also two power play assists over his last four games on two of the Penguins’ four power play goals in that time. He’s collected three helpers over his last four games as a whole, but I am looking for him to find the back of the net in this one. He is riding an 11-game goalless drought into this one tonight, but considering he hasn’t scored on his 26 shots in that time, I would expect his next goal to come on an imminent basis. He’s one of the NHL’s best goal-scoring blueliners and I’ll look for that to show through tonight.
D – Adam Boqvist (CHI) – $3,500 vs. FLA
Completing our Blackhawks mini-stack tonight is Boqvist who has taken over as the lone defenseman on the team’s top power play unit, a group that has actually been pretty quiet with just one goal on eight opportunities during their high-scoring, five-game win streak. While drawing more penalties will help, I like the minimum-priced Boqvist regardless. He’s not skating a ton these days in his rookie season as he’s averaged just 16:34 through 25 games in which he’s tallied two goals and six points on 35 shots and 26 blocks. That said, everyone gets an extra tick or two of value upside against these Panthers, and there’s little doubt this guy is a talented offensive defenseman. The 8th overall pick of the 2018 draft, Boqvist put up 20 goals and 60 points in 54 games in his lone season of junior hockey for the OHL’s London Knights and followed that up with 13 points in 11 postseason games. he has a goal and six points in 15 AHL games this season, but keep in mind this is still a 19-year-old defenseman. Still, he’s as cheap as it gets on the blueline, the matchup is excellent and his team’s offense is white-hot, so there’s plenty to like about the young stud tonight.
G – Jaroslav Halak (BOS) – $8,400 vs. VGK
The goaltending landscape is tough on this slate. I’m not seeing much in terms of safety on this board, and while I was liking the Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev with the rival Islanders in town and his excellent work against them last week and in his five career starts against them, I’ve simply pivoted to the better defensive team in hopes of some security. Boston will enter this one ranked fifth with 2.41 goals against per game on the season and rank third with an 86.7% penalty kill at home. Halak has taken over the Bruins’ crease in the absence of Tuukka Rask who is sidelined with a concussion, and the truth is he has been inconsistent since taking over. He allowed three goals on 27 shots after taking over for Rask in Columbus last week (.889 Sv%), rebounded with a real nice effort by turning aside 29 of 30 Penguins shots two nights later (.967 Sv%) and then struggled in allowing four goals on just 22 shots (.818 Sv%) in the rematch in Pittsburgh on Sunday. He faces a weaker offense this time around, but I’ll need him to be better. The Bruins are -150 favorites on the moneyline to win this one tonight, so there’s substantial win upside for Halak as part of one of the NHL’s best defenses tonight.