Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS picks netted a little bit of production, but one of the stacks flopped and our goaltender didn’t produce as hoped.
The stack that hit in a big way was the Edmonton Oilers against the Toronto Maple Leafs. As noted in yesterday’s piece, I felt an Oilers upset was on the horizon, and indeed Edmonton scored six times in a 6-4 win. Connor McDavid led the way with a goal and three assists and a potential goal of the year candidate. Oscar Klefbom scored as well and added four shots and three blocks, although James Neal was held off the scoresheet with four shots and a block to his credit.
The stack that flopped was the low-cost L.A. Kings stack that only saw production from one member. Sean Walker notched a pair of assists in the Kings’ 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets and added five shots and a block as well. However, Jeff Carter and Nikolai Prokhorkin were both held pointless and combined for seven shots and two blocks.
Our Jets mini-stack received production from Blake Wheeler who notched a pair of assists, although Patrik Laine failed to register a point in a 3-2 Jets win.
Finally, Jonathan Quick hurt us as he stopped just 21 of 24 shots (.875 Sv%) and the Kings dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.
Not a bad lineup, but too many passengers on this night as we pivot to tonight’s 12-game main slate!
C – Nicklas Backstrom (WSH) – $6,500 vs. OTT
The Washington Capitals get the best matchup of the evening as they’ll take on the visiting Ottawa Senators, a team whose numbers take a nose dive on the road. The Sens have actually been pretty good at home this season where they’ve gone 11-7-2 and mostly played sound defense, but they own a 5-14-3 record on the road where they have been torched defensively. Entering this one tonight, the Senators rank 29th with 3.77 goals against per game on the season and have received just an .886 Sv% from their goaltenders on the road as well. For their part, the Capitals will enter this one ranked ninth with 3.45 goals per game at home this season and are coming off a huge come-from-behind win over the Sharks, so I’m confident they’ll be able to find the back of the net with consistency tonight. Enter Backstrom who has been reunited with Alex Ovechkin on the team’s top line as he continues to be one of the game’s best puck distributors. He’s scored eight times in 35 games, but Backstrom has also racked up 24 helpers in that time for 32 points in those 35 games to go along with 78 shots on goal. I would look for the 32-year-old to be heavily involved in the action tonight.
C – Ryan O’Reilly (STL) – $6,400 vs. SJ
I mentioned the Capitals staged a big comeback against the Sharks on Sunday, a game where the Sharks scored an empty-net goal to go ahead by two, only to allow two goals in the final minute of the game and lose it in overtime. It’s a deflating loss for the NHL’s most disappointing team and the Sharks have just been brutal defensively this season, especially on the road. They’ll enter this one tonight ranked 23rd with 3.48 goals against per game on the road this season and this despite being very good on the penalty kill. The Sharks have received just an .890 Sv% between Martin Jones and Aaron Dell on the road as well, so there’s plenty of room for production on the Blues’ behalf tonight. St. Louis sits 18th in home offense and tied for 16th in home power play percentage, but with the Sharks coming in on the final game of their road trip having blown that lead in Washington, I feel this is set up to be a big opportunity for the Blues’ offense. For his part, O’Reilly has notched eight goals and 38 points in 43 games this season to go along with 74 shots on goal and 14 power play points in a large 20:51 of average ice time per game. He has just one goal and a 3.8% shooting percentage at home, so let’s look for that puck luck to change in his favor in this one.
W – Alex Ovechkin (WSH) – $8,500 vs. OTT
Next man up in our three-man Capitals stack is going to be Ovechkin, of course, as he and Backstrom are skating together in all offensive situations for these high-octane Caps. He’s in danger of surrendering the Rocket Richard trophy this season with some of the game’s young guns scoring plenty of goals, but let’s not scoff at the 24 goals he’s scored on the season while he’s already hit the 200-shot barrier on the season and leads the NHL in that category. Ovechkin has also once again been deadly on the power play where he’s scored nine of those 24 goals on the campaign. His home/road splits favor the road a little bit as he has just six goals and 15 points in 20 home games, but he’s also shooting more at home where he’s been bitten by a 6% shooting percentage compared to his 18% mark on the season. Home/road shooting percentage splits can vary heavily from year-to-year, however I would expect more shots to go in for the 34-year-old at home moving forward as 6% is just a low number for the Russian sniper. This is a nice opportunity to see that positive regression kick in tonight.
W – Tom Wilson (WSH) – $4,600 vs. OTT
As a cost-saving measure, I have inserted Tom Wilson into the lineup rather than going with John Carlson and his $7,100 salary on the point. While Carlson’s production has been unworldly atop the Norris Trophy race, Wilson will skate with Ovechkin and Backstrom at 5v5 on that top line where he certainly doesn’t look out of place considering the large gains he’s made in his offensive game over the last couple of seasons. Skating with that duo certainly helps, however, as Wilson has notched 13 goals and 27 points on the season to go along with a healthy 87 shots across his 43 games played. At this rate, he would surpass his career-high of 22 goals set just last season as he’s on pace for nearly 25 goals if he can stay healthy and skate in all 82 regular season games. Wilson has tallied 12 of hi 13 goals at even strength and this stack would do quite well if their production came at even strength tonight as it would limit Carlson’s work on the power play where he’s been dominant this season. At any rate, the 25-year-old Wilson is playing a big role on the team and could have a big night against one of the NHL’s worst road defenses tonight.
W – David Perron (STL) – $6,600 vs. SJ
Next man up in our three-man Blues stack will be Perron who is having an All-Star worthy season for the Blues as he continues to produce at a high rate after some down seasons a few years back. Perron and O’Reilly will skate together on the Blues’ second line – although it could be considered their first – as well as on the top power play unit together. As noted, the Sharks are actually very good on the penalty kill, so I would expect most of their production to come at even strength where San Jose has been torched this season. Perron enters this one with 17 goals and 43 points in as many games this season to go along with a healthy 103 shots on goal. It’s also worth mentioning that he does have six goals and 22 points on the power play, so perhaps they can get something going on the man advantage after all as that’s some serious power play production in just 43 games. Nonetheless, Perron is hot right now with five goals and 13 points over his last nine games, so let’s look for him to keep rolling in a very favorable home matchup tonight.
W – Martin Necas (CAR) – $3,500 vs. PHI
I needed to grab some value somewhere in this lineup and I think I’ve done that with Necas who will take on the visiting Philadelphia Flyers tonight. For one, the matchup is an appetizing one as Necas’ Hurricanes enter this one ranked sixth in home offense with 3.50 goals per game and sixth in terms of their home power play as well. The Flyers have been very good at home this season but disastrous on the road where they rank 30th with 3.78 goals against per game on the season. Furthermore, their road defense has been brutalized of late, allowing 16 goals over their last three on the road and at least five goals against in four of their last five on the road. They’re also just 4 for 9 (44.4%) on the penalty kill over their last three – all on the road. Enter Necas who comes at a dirt-cheap price but has been fairly productive on the season. The 20-year-old has notched nine goals and 23 points in 38 games on the season to go along with 54 shots on goal. The floor is low, of course, but the value potential is high considering the matchup so I’ll look for the youngster to give this lineup a shot in the arm with some production tonight.
D – Alex Pietrangelo (STL) – $6,400 vs. SJ
Completing my three-man Blues stack is Pietrangelo who will skate with O’Reilly and Perron a ton tonight as all three log big minutes for this Blues team, minutes that include time on the top power play unit. Pietrangelo is having a big season on the Blues’ blueline as he’s tallied 12 goals and 35 points in 43 games, but he’s also brining big-time peripheral stats to the table in the form of 136 shots on goal and another 49 blocked shots to boot. The guy is on an absolute tear right now, registering a multi-point effort in two straight and in five of his last seen games with a total of five goals and 11 points in that time. For a defenseman, I’d say that’s pretty solid production, to say the least. The free agent to be is logging an even 24 minutes per game while skating in all situations for the Blues and despite his current 8.8% shooting percentage sitting well above his 6.1% career mark, I’ll take the heater he’s on right now and look for more production in what is a super-favorable home matchup and a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Final.
D – Jaccob Slavin (CAR) – $4,100 vs. PHI
It’s rare for me to roster a defenseman that doesn’t skate on either of their team’s power play units, but that’s what I’m doing here with Slavin against the Flyers. The Flyers have been simply terrible at 5v5 on the road this season and specially of late, so I don’t mind forming a 5v5 mini-stack with Slavin and Necas in this matchup. Jake Gardiner would be the target here – and a cheaper one – if you wanted to go with a second power play unit mini-stack, but Slavin’s still been the more productive of the two defensemen and I like his peripheral categories and his floor compared to Gardiner’s. Entering this one, Slavin has scored four goals and notched a healthy 21 points across 42 games this season, but he’s also put 93 pucks on goal and blocked another 68 shots himself. As a result, we’re getting some real nice cross-category production at a low price and the value potential is increased due to the matchup itself against a struggling Flyers back end at the moment. He’s on pace for a career-year, but for tonight Slavin is an intriguing blueline option that will come at low ownership on a big slate.
G – Ilya Samsonov (WSH) – $8,100 vs. OTT
I mentioned right at the top of this piece in the Backstrom area that the Capitals have the best matchup on the slate and that perspective rings true again here from a defensive standpoint for these Caps. The Senators’ road offense is also struggling this season as they rank 27th with just 2.36 goals per game on the road this season and have averaged just 2.10 goals per game across their last 10 on the road – losing nine of those games. Samsonov therefore becomes a very attractive option, especially when we consider just how good he’s been for the team in his rookie season. The Capitals’ goaltender of the future, Samsonov enters this one sporting a 2.33 GAA and .918 Sv% on the season across 13 starts and 15 appearances while he’s also posting a 1.95 GAA and .927 Sv% over his last six starts and seven appearances, going a cool 6-0-0 in that time. At home this season, he’s posted a 2.54 GAA and .918 Sv% across five starts and six appearances. All the pieces are adding up to form a very favorable matchup on home ice here, and with the Capitals listed as massive -275 home favorites in this one and well over -300 when the line first came out, I believe the win upside is enormous as well.