Okay, so fading Auston Matthews wasn’t a great idea. Matthews went off for two more goals on Wednesday night and our lineup didn’t produce very much as a result.
John Tavares and William Nylander were held pointless on the night while combining for seven shots on goal.
Our Jets three-man stack saw some production with Mark Scheifele notching a goal and Neal Pionk earned an assist, but Patrik Laine was held off the scoresheet despite an absolute snipe in the shootout.
Also, our Flyers low-cost mini-stack failed to deliver results with zero points on the night and Aube-Kubel didn’t have the role I anticipated and didn’t get a single second of power play time.
Miro Heiskanen, our one-off defenseman, failed to hit the scoresheet in a low-scoring game from L.A.
Finally, Ben Bishop didn’t start, but a simple pivot to Stars backup Anton Khudobin would have worked nicely in a 2-1 Stars win.
It wasn’t a good lineup and we failed to build on a nice night from Tuesday, but let’s see what we can do on this much bigger 11-game Thursday night slate!
C – Patrice Bergeron (BOS) – $7,900 vs. WPG
Getting us started here today will be Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins as they take on the visiting Winnipeg Jets on home ice tonight. I like the Bruins for a few reasons. For one, Bergeron and the Bruins beat up on the Nashville Predators by a 6-2 count on Tuesday in Nashville, getting back on track from an offensive standpoint after scoring just one goal in each of their two previous games. Secondly, the Jets played last night in Toronto, so they’ll be playing on back-to-back nights here in Boston – a very tough back-to-back after hard-fought shootout victory in Toronto last night. The back-to-back also means that the Jets will probably be rolling with backup Laurent Brossoit who has had a tough year. Brossoit would enter this one sporting a 3.50 GAA and .889 Sv% on the season, but if it’s Hellebuyck, I like the Bruins facing a goaltender playing his second game in as many nights regardless. Enter Bergeron who has tallied 18 goals – including one Tuesday in Nashville – to go along with 19 helpers for 37 points in 35 games but also brings a high floor with 126 shots on goal in that time. As the Bruins’ top center at 5v5 and on the top power play unit, I like his upside tonight.
C – Paul Stastny (VGK) – $4,800 vs. LA
Truth be told, I had a center and a defenseman spot left after I filled in my goaltender and main stacks, but I believe there is a perfect mini-stack up for grabs on the part of the Vegas Golden Knights, beginning here with Stastny. Stastny and his squad will take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight on home ice, and this will mark the Kings’ second game in as many nights after they took a 2-1 loss on home ice last night to the Dallas Stars. The Kings are actually a good home defense where they sit inside the top 10, however things take a notable turn for the worse on the road where they rank 25th with 3.52 goals against per game. A 25th-ranked defense playing their second game in as many nights seems like a targetable team to me. Enter Stastny who will skate on the team’s second line – although I believe it’s their most talented line – while also skating on the top power play unit. He’s notched 12 goals and 20 points in 46 games this season to go along with 86 shots, which isn’t the best of production. However, given his spot in the lineup between Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone at 5v5 and on the power play – and the super-favorable matchup – I believe there is a ton of value upside at this price.
W – David Pastrnak (BOS) – $8,800 vs. WPG
David Pastrnak just continues to score goals and I believe there are more coming in this one tonight. Like I said, the matchup against a Jets team playing on back-to-back nights seems rather favorable, especially if Brossoit gets the starting nod. If he doesn’t and Hellebuyck starts, it’s still advantage Bruins as goalies generally do not fare well playing in back-to-back nights. That means that the NHL’s goal-scoring leader could be in for another big game as he looks to pad his slim one-goal lead over Auston Matthews who continues to fill the net himself. Pastrnak enters this one with an NHL-leading 32 goals on the season and has a whopping 62 points to rank fourth in the NHL in that department as well. He also ranks fourth in the league with 173 shots on goal and is averaging 3.93 shots per game on the season and making good on 18.5% of those shots, which is a high number, but one that has already regressed. Considering the quality of his shot, the high-percentage shots he takes and the matchup tonight, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of regression in that shooting percentage in this one tonight.
W – Brad Marchand (BOS) – $7,800 vs. WPG
Completing this three-man Bruins stack is Brad Marchand who is the final piece of the high-octane puzzle that is the Bruins’ top line. While Pastrnak sits fourth in NHL scoring, Marchand isn’t far behind as his 61 points ranks fifth. He doesn’t bring the same floor to the table given his 118 shots are well under Pastrnak’s 173, but it’s hard to shoot the puck a ton when you’re skating with two players in Pastrnak and Bergeron who shoot the puck quite a bit. Nonetheless, 118 shots isn’t much to argue about as Marchand as also scored 20 goals on those 118 shots and has tallied 20 points on the power play already this season. The 31-year-old has blossomed into one of the best left wingers in the NHL coming off an even 100-point season from last year and his 61 points in 44 games this season puts him on pace to set a new career-high with 114 points this time around. With this trio skating together at both 5v5 and on the Bruins’ top power play unit that’s led Boston to a fourth-ranked 29.5% power play clip at home, I am loving the floor and sky-high ceiling we are getting into this lineup tonight.
W – Ondrej Palat (TB) – $4,800 vs. ARI
To be blunt, the Lightning aren’t to be messed with right now. It took them the better part of the first half of the season to hit their stride, but I would say they’re back in business after hanging a nine-spot on the Vancouver Canucks two nights ago and are once again the NHL’s highest-scoring team overall while they rank first with 4.14 goals per game at home and first with a 37% mark on the power play at home. Their big boys are going to see plenty of ownership and the trio of Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov are skating together on the team’s top line, which to me gives us an opportunity to grab some low-cost exposure to the red-hot Lightning as we can roster parts of their second line, beginning here with Palat. The 28-year-old is having a solid season with 12 goals and 26 points in 42 games on the season to go along with 92 shots on goal. He’s also scored three times and has seven power play points on the season despite spending his power play time on the second unit. After a big scoring lull in early December. Palat has tallied three goals and 11 points over his last 10 games, so I’m happy to get the second-line left winger at a low cost tonight.
W – Tyler Johnson (TB) – $4,100 vs. ARI
The matchup against the Coyotes isn’t a great one on the surface given how good they have been defensively this season, but they are also riding their third-string netminder at the moment, one that posted a mediocre 2.77 GAA and .907 Sv% across 12 games at the AHL level prior to his recall. Now, Adin Hill has been good in posting a 2.03 GAA and .944 Sv% in the NHL in three games of action this season, but also owns a 2.84 GAA and .904 Sv% in 20 NHL outings for his career, so I would suggest there’s some regression to be had and the Lightning are a perfect candidate to deliver that tonight. This isn’t the same player that registered 72 points in 77 games on the season back in the 2014-15 campaign, but Johnson has been decent in notched 10 goals and 20 points in a lesser role this season, although that role tonight will be second-line winger and member of the second power play unit where he will skate with Palat – in both situations – tonight. The floor is low in the form of just 71 shots in 37 games, but the value upside here is quite substantial given how the Lightning have averaged 4.75 goals per game over their last eight.
D – Shea Theodore (VGK) – $5,100 vs. LA
Completing my Vegas mini-stack tonight is Theodore who fits just perfect into the remaining price in this lineup and bring substantial upside to the table in what is a super-favorable home matchup tonight. As his price may indicate, Theodore brings a nice floor to the table in the form of 128 shots on goal while he’s notched six goals and 26 points across 46 games on the season. The 24-year-old is coming off a season in which he posted 12 goals and 37 points in 79 games, but his current six goals and 26 points in 46 games puts him on pace to tally 11 goals but a career-high 46 points if he can stay healthy for a full 82-game season. He’s already surpassed his nine power play points from last season with 10 on the campaign to this point in this season, and many more are ahead considering the Golden Knights rank third with a big-time 30.3% power play clip at home this season and the Kings sit 27th with a 75% mark on the penalty kill on the road on the campaign. One of the best young – and perhaps underrated – power play defensemen in the game, Theodore should be able to team up with Stastny for some low-cost and low-owned production tonight.
D – Mikhail Sergachev (TB) – $4,400 vs. ARI
Completing my three-man Lightning stack tonight is Sergachev who will skate on the second power play unit alongside Johnson and Palat while also seeing some 5v5 time with them as well. Despite skating on the second group Sergachev is seeing a decent 1:45 of average power play time per game and Arizona isn’t the best penalty-killing team as their 78.3% road penalty kill checks in at 19th league wide. Sergachev is extremely production on the man advantage as he has nine power play points despite skating on the second unit – except for when Victor Hedman was briefly sidelined – four which were goals. He has six goals on the season, so you can see he does a large chunk of his damage on the man advantage. He’s on pace to set a new career-high in goals this season and his 22 points in 42 games is impressive for a 21-year-old defenseman who skates just over 19 minutes per night, although that’s a big increase on his 17:55 from last season and 15:22 from two seasons ago. I am absolutely thrilled with the upside of this stack at these prices and if the Lightning can stay hot offensively, I think we’ll be on the receiving end of quality value.
G – Igor Shesterkin (NYR) – $7,300 vs. NJ
Shesterkin made his highly-anticipated NHL debut on Tuesday against the Avalanche and while he allowed two early goals to one of the NHL’s best offenses, he settled in and earned himself a 5-3 win to get his career started on the right note. The credentials he brought into his NHL debut were simply off the charts as he’s posted some of the most impressive numbers I have seen any goalie produce in my DFS research through the years. Here are his last three seasons in the KHL and this season in the AHL for the 24-year-old:
- 2016-17 (KHL): 1.64 GAA / .937 SV%
- 2017-18 (KHL): 1.69 GAA / .933 Sv%
- 2018-19 (KHL): 1.11 GAA / .953 Sv%
- 2019-20 (AHL): 1.93 GAA / .932 Sv%
I mean, check out that 2018-19 season in the KHL – otherwise regarded as the world’s second-best hockey league. The Rangers have a good young goalie in Alexandar Georgiev as well, who’s actually a few months younger than Shesterkin, but it’s hard not to envision this guy as their goaltender of the future and he’s going to get the opportunity to be that guy down the stretch this season. In terms of his matchup tonight, he takes on a Devils team that ranks 30th with just 2.25 goals per game on the road this season, but also 10th with 31.7 shots per game while the Rangers rank 30th with 35.1 shots against per game. That’s the optimal situation for an NHL DFS goaltender: a team that registers a lot of shots but doesn’t score much as it gives him the opportunity to rack up the saves and prevent goals at the same time. Add in the Rangers as -150 favorites on the moneyline and I’ll take the win upside and run with the young netminder tonight.