Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS Picks were successful as we got production up and down the lineup as well as a solid effort in goal to get across the cash line into positive territory.
The Washington Capitals stack paid dividends. Alex Ovechkin bagged a pair of goals on the night on six shots and while Nicklas Backstrom notched just one assist on six Capitals goals, using Tom Wilson over John Carlson proved to be the right move as Wilson notched a pair of assists, two shots and a block, production that fell just two shots under Carlson’s production. At a substantially lower price, I’ll take it.
Our Blues three-man stack didn’t go crazy, but they did produce. David Perron scored one of the team’s three goals, Ryan O’Reilly notched an assist on the goal and while Alex Pietrangelo didn’t notch a point, he did register five shots on goal and four blocks as well as his peripherals came through for us big-time.
Our Hurricanes mini-stack saw some low-owned production as Martin Necas registered an assist, however the decision to use Jaccob Slavin over Jake Gardiner came back to bite me as Slavin posted a zero on the night (despite Carolina scoring five times) while Gardiner tallied a goal and an assist to go along with four shots on goal.
Finally, we got a solid effort from goaltender Ilya Samsonov as he turned aside 26 of 27 Senators shots and earned yet another win as he continues to impress in his rookie season.
Let’s put that nice night behind us and look ahead to tonight’s three-game NHL slate!
C – John Tavares (TOR) – $7,800 vs. WPG
The Maple Leafs and Jets get together for the second time in less than a week, this time from Toronto after the Maple Leafs dealt the Jets a 6-3 loss in Winnipeg back on January 2nd. The Maple Leafs saw their 10-game point streak snapped on Monday against the Oilers, but the offense stayed hot as they still managed four goals in that one and have scored at least four goals in nine of their last 10 games and at least three goals in all 10 of those games while they are averaging over four goals per game in the 21 games under new head coach Sheldon Keefe. After a slow start that was slowed further by a broken finger, Tavares has picked up the production of late, tallying three goals and 11 points over his last eight games, although he’s been held pointless in each of his last two. All the sudden, he’s almost up to a point-per-game pace with 36 points in 37 games to go along with 117 shots on goal in that time. Tavares has found chemistry with William Nylander on the Maple Leafs’ second line and on the top power play unit that is red-hot at the moment with a 37% clip over their last nine games, so let’s look for more damage from the blue and white tonight.
C – Mark Scheifele (WPG) – $7,700 vs. TOR
Now, you might want to pump the brakes on the Maple Leafs blowing the Jets away in this one as Winnipeg actually heavily outshot Toronto in their loss six days ago to them and the Maple Leafs did allow six goals against the Oilers on Monday while goaltender Frederik Andersen was pulled after allowing three goals on 19 shots. We know the Maple Leafs defense can fall into ruts at times, and without their best defender in Jake Muzzin in the lineup with a broken foot, the Jets could pounce on the Maple Leafs in this one as well. After all, they do sport the NHL’s eighth-ranked road offense with 3.27 goals against per game and the Maple Leafs are tied for 20th with 3.10 goals against per game at home this season with the NHL’s 27th-ranked home penalty kill, so there’s a real chance the Jets’ big boys can do some damage in this one tonight. Enter Scheifele who skates on the top line at 5v5 and on the power play. He has notched 20 goals and 48 points in 43 games on the season to go along with 106 shots on goal while he’s been dangerous on the power play where he’s notched seven goals and 16 points while skating a massive 21:28 per game. He scored against the Maple Leafs last Thursday and I’ll look for more in this one tonight.
W – William Nylander (TOR) – $6,200 vs. WPG
For much of his Maple Leafs career, William Nylander has skated to the right of Auston Matthews where the duo has displayed some serious chemistry at times. However, Keefe has shown a willingness to put his lines in a blender when things aren’t working at times and that resulted in Mitch Marner and Matthews finding chemistry together on the top line, which in turn puts Nylander with Tavares. However, the good news for Toronto is that Tavares and Nylander have been very good together and Nylander has been white-hot of late. Over his last 10 games, Nylander has tallied eight goals and 15 points and has scored six times over his last seven games. He notched a pair of goals and three points in the Maple Leafs’ win over the Jets last Thursday and is now up to 19 goals and 19 helpers for 38 points in 44 games on the season to go along with 117 shots on goal. That puts him on pace for 71 points over a full 82-game season which would easily be a career-high over the 62 points he tallied in each of his first two seasons in the NHL before a down year a season ago. I’m keeping my Leafs exposure to this mini-stack tonight, but there’s plenty of potential with this duo skating together in all offensive situations tonight.
W – Patrik Laine (WPG) – $7,700 vs. TOR
It’s fairly safe to say that Laine was quite dangerous in the Jets’ loss to the Maple Leafs last week. In that game, Laine found the back of the net once, but that was actually a disappointing results considering the dude put a whopping 13 shots on Frederik Andersen in that contest. I mean, 13 shots. In one game. Laine mentioned after the game he was disappointed to get just the one goal, however I think the hockey gods will make up for it tonight in the rematch. For the season, Laine has 15 goals and 40 points in 41 games on 135 shots, although his shooting percentage of just 11.1% on the season is well below his 15.2% mark for his career to this point and even notably below his 12.2% mark from last season – by far a career-low – so I’m still expecting more goal-scoring moving forward for a guy that scored 44 goals in his his second season in the NHL. Given his deadly shot and the high-percentage shots he takes, Laine is going to be able to maintain a higher-than-normal shooting percentage over the remainder of the league, similar to his adversary Auston Matthews, so let’s look for the positive regression to kick in in this one tonight.
W – James van Riemsdyk (PHI) – $4,800 vs. WSH
I was going to roll with Kyle Connor to get a three-man Jets top line stack, however I am going to get a couple of cost-efficient Flyers into this lineup to make this a suitable lineup for both cash and GPPs tonight as van Riemsdyk and the Flyers line up to take on the visiting Capitals tonight. Both teams will be playing their second game in as many nights tonight after the Flyers dropped a 5-4 OT decision in Carolina and the Capitals won a 6-1 affair over the Senators, and while the Capitals offense is hot, I am going to avoid some ownership and hop on the Flyers who are a much, much better team on home ice than they are on the road. The Flyers are 13-2-4 at home this season and just 9-13-2 on the road and are the NHL’s best home defense compared to ranking 30th on the road. That’s why I’m fading the Capitals, and the reason why I like the Flyers here is because they rank third with 3.79 goals per game at home this season. Enter van Riemsdyk who isn’t having the best of seasons as he’s notched 12 goals and 23 points in 43 games, but has 104 shots on goal this season and is skating on the team’s second line and second power play unit. He’s still a big goal-scoring threat despite a slow goal-scoring pace this season, so let’s look for him to find twine in this one tonight.
W – Nicolas Aube-Kubel (PHI) – $3,000 vs. WSH
Completing my Flyers mini-stack is Aube-Kubel who skates on the second line and second power play unit with van Riemsdyk and has been relatively productive in his brief NHL exposure this season after skating the majority of the season in the AHL with Lehigh Valley. The 23-year-old wasn’t terribly productive in his AHL time this season with five goals and eight points in 26 contests, although he’s come to the NHL and notched two goals and four points in 10 games to go along with a solid 22 shots on goal in that time. Aube-Kubel scored one of the Flyers’ four goals in last night’s contest and skated a solid 14:59 in that one, the second straight game in which he’s registered north of 14 minutes per game as he’s clearly gaining the trust of head coach Alain Vigneault given his spot on the second line with a couple of proven NHLers in van Riemsdyk and center Kevin Hayes. Given the spot in the lineup and apparently some increased confidence, I am liking the value upside here at a minimum cost.
D – Neal Pionk (WPG) – $4,200 vs. TOR
Speaking of value, I believe we’re getting plenty of it here with Pionk as well considering he skates as the lone defenseman on the team’s top power play unit alongside Scheifele and Laine. As a result, we still get a 5v5 and top power play unit stack even without using Connor and we get some nice cost-savings because of it. When the Jets traded Jacob Trouba to the Rangers in a deal that brought Pionk back the other way, it seemed like they were losing a lot of offense from the back end. However, that hasn’t exactly been the case as Pionk has been very good in his first season with the Jets, posting three goals and 27 points in 43 games on the season, good for a 51-point pace over a full 82-game season – a very healthy number for a defenseman. Pionk also brings some solid peripherals to the table in the form of 93 shots on goal and 44 blocked shots to boot. He’s already surpassed his 26 points from 73 games with the Rangers last season and he’s notched a goal and 15 points on the man advantage this season, which is important considering how poor the Maple Leafs’ penalty kill has been this season. Add it all up and I’m seeing a ton of value in a price tag just north of $4,000.
D – Miro Heiskanen (DAL) – $4,700 vs. LA
I rarely use a one-off defenseman, and if you don’t want to the player to use here would be the Flyers’ Matt Niskanen to complete a three-man 5v5 and second power play unit stack with van Riemsdyk and Aube-Kubel. However, since I can afford him, I am going to use the slick-skating Heiskanen who is enjoying a heck of a sophomore season for the Stars and is their No.1 offensive defenseman at the moment. Heiskanen takes on a Kings team that has actually been good defensively at home this season, however he skates as the lone defenseman on the Stars’ top power play unit and he is averaging a whopping 24:30 of ice time per game as a 20-year-old defenseman – an impressive number to be sure. After tallying 33 points in 82 games as a 19-year-old rookie, Heiskanen has notched seven goals and 22 points in 42 games this season and is on pace for 43 points in his second season in the NHL. The Stars aren’t exactly the best road offense where they rank 19th with 2.74 goals per game, but if there’s offense to be had – especially on the power play – there’s a real chance that Heiskanen will be a part of it at a very reasonable cost.
G – Ben Bishop (DAL) – $8,800 vs. LA
To me, Bishop is easily the goaltender to roll with tongiht as he takes on the Kings on the road. Los Angeles is a much better home team than road team, however I don’t like either goaltender in the Maple Leafs game and I’m not a huge fan of Braden Holtby in Philly tonight. While Carter hart and Jonathan Quick/Jack Campbell look like decent GPP options in their respective matchups, I am simply going to pay up for the top-priced netminder in this small slate tonight. After all, the Stars enter this one as the NHL’s eight-ranked road defense while the Kings enter this one tied for 26th with 2.81 goals per game at home. However, they also rank 12th with 33.2 shots per game at home, meaning they could provide Bishop with the valuable combination of plenty of saves but very little goals against, which is the ultimate combination for goaltenders in DFS. Bishop sports a 2.33 GAA and .926 Sv% on the season and while he’s slipped to a 3.31 GAA and .895 Sv% on the road, the Stars are -140 road favorites on the moneyline tonight, so Im simply going to roll with the safest option and use the 2018-19 Vezina runner up on this slate tonight.