It’s largely been a tough go of late with my FanDuel NHL DFS Picks and last night was no exception.
Both the Penguins and Canadiens scored just two regulation goals last night and neither of our six players exposed to those two teams were able to score.
In fact, Evgeni Malkin’s assist was the lone point we received from those two stacks. Certainly a disappointing result in a couple of matchups that looked awfully favorable.
Our Wild mini-stack saw some improved results as Matt Dumba scored their lone goal of the night and delivered the value I raved about in yesterday’s piece. However, Mats Zuccarello notched just a pair of shots on goal and delivered little value as a result.
Finally, I made the right call in goal in going with Carey Price over Jordan Binnington has Price notched a 3-2 shootout victory and turned aside 33 of 35 shots throughout regulation and overtime. Binnington lost 3-2 in the shootout to the visiting Coyotes.
We need to get things turned around and tonight’s five-game slate provides such an opportunity.
C – Jack Hughes (NJ) – $5,100 vs. OTT
The best matchup on the slate probably goes to the New Jersey Devils who take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on home ice. The Sens had caught a little fire in winning three of four games before hitting the road, but we absolutely blasted by the Hurricanes on Monday night to the tune of an 8-2 loss as their road woes continued. Ottawa is just 1-6-1 on the road this season and rank 30th with 4.13 goals against per game on the road as well, making this an optimal night for the Devils to build on what was largely an encouraging five-game road trip for themselves. Yes, the Devils are struggling to score overall as their 2.56 goals per game checks in at 27th, but it might surprise you to see them ranked 12th with a real nice 3.63 goals per game at home this season. As a result, I want me some Devils ownership tonight and that will begin with Hughes who is looking more comfortable after a slow start to his NHL career. For the season, Hughes as four goals and nine points in 16 games on 32 shots on goal. However, he went pointless in his first six games of his career as well, so therefore he’s notched nine points over his last 10 games and has six points in eight home games this season. He’s also been a factor on the power play where he’s scored three goals this season, so let’s look to squeeze some value out of the former first overall pick tonight.
C – Dylan Strome (CHI) – $4,700 vs. VGK
For much of the past two seasons it was a no no to roster anyone facing the Golden Knights in Vegas, but that hasn’t exactly been the case this season with the Golden Knights struggling a little bit when it comes to defending at home. Entering this one tonight, the Golden Knights rank 28th with 3.44 goals against per game at home this season. For comparison, that’s one spot worse than the 27th-ranked Red Wings who allow 3.40 goals per game at home. As a result, I think this Blackhawks offense can get something going tonight as they bhave perked up themselves of late, especially Strome who has be reunited on a line with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. Strome has a three-point game and a two-point game over his last three contests and now has three goals and 12 points in 17 games on the season. He doesn’t shoot the puck much at all with 27 shots in those 17 games, but he plays with a couple of guys who shoot the puck plenty and his role is primarily a play-making one. He had 51 points in 58 games with the Blackhawks after a mid-season trade last year, and it appears he’s gotten back on track this time around. I’ll look for him to stay hot in a sneaky-good road matchup tonight.
W – Taylor Hall (NJ) – $7,600 vs. OTT
Next man up in our three-man Devils stack is Hall who is an easy choice in this spot as he skates alongside Hughes at even strength as well as on the team’s top power play unit. Now, this is a guy that’s due to go on a big-time scoring binge moving forward. Hall, the 39-goal scorer from the 2017-18 season, sits with just two goals on 59 shots across 16 games this season. Do the math and you’ll see that he owns a minuscule 3.4% shooting percentage on the season – a number that sits more than 7% under his 10.6% mark for his career. I mean, the guy is averaging 3.7 shots per game and still has just two goals to show for it to this point. He’s remained productive on the whole with 15 points in 16 games on the season to go along with six power play assists, but his goal-scoring woes have hit the point where an explosion is coming in a hurry. I want to be there when that happens. He’s notched both those goals at home this season and has 10 points in eight home games as well while averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game at home. If a goal-scoring binge is coming on an imminent basis, the Senators are a good target for that to take place. I’ll look for a multi-point effort from the superstar winger tonight.
W – Kyle Palmieri (NJ) – $6,300 vs. OTT
Completing our three-man Devils stack is Palmieri who is having a nice season and remains one of the league’s more underrated goal-scorers in my humble opinion. Even when Hall skated in just 33 games last season, Palmieri was able to score 27 goals despite missing eight games himself. He’s off to a fast start in the goal-scoring department with six tallies in 16 games to go along with five helpers for 11 points in that time on 40 shots on goal. For good measure, five of Palmieri’s 11 points have come on the power play. The 28-year-old has long been a power play threat as he’s scored exactly 11 power play goals in three of the last four seasons. His one-timer and quick-strike ability lends itself well to the man advantage and I’m happy to get a three-man power play stack against the league’s 24th-ranked road penalty kill. Like Hall, Palmieri has been more productive at home than on the road this season with five goals and eight points in as many home games compared to just one goal and three points in eight road games. His home cooking should work well in this matchup tonight so look for Palmieri to find more twine in this one tonight.
W – Mark Stone (VGK) – $7,500 vs. CHI
The Blackhawks have actually cleaned things up in their own end relative to last season when they finished 30th in team defense, however I can still see the Golden Knights getting some offense going in this one tonight. THe Hawks are coming off a 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs on Sunday, however they allowed a whopping 57 shots on goal in that one and their 36.8 shots against per game ranks dead last in the league, only this time they are getting better goaltending in the form of a .918 Sv% between Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks haven’t confirmed a goaltender for this one tonight but I believe Stone can get something going regardless. A low-key Hart Trophy candidate to this point thanks to his work at both ends of the ice, Stone has tallied eight goals and 18 points in 19 games this season to go along with 50 shots on goal in that time. He’s also been a beast on the man advantage where he’s tallied three goals and seven points on the season. Like others in this lineup, he likes to produce at home as he’s tallied six goals and 12 points across nine home games compared to two goals and six points in 10 road contests. Look for the former Senator to strike against this Blackhawks back end tonight.
W – Max Pacioretty (VGK) – $7,100 vs. CHI
Stone shoots the puck a lot but so does Pacioretty as these guys should give us a solid foundation tonight with high ceilings to boot. While Stone’s 50 shots in 19 game is a good amount, it pales in comparison to the 77 shots Pacioretty has put on goal across 19 games this season – good for 4.1 shots per game. In fact, those 77 shots on goal are tied for third in the NHL alongside the Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews. The results have mostly been there for the former Canadien who has six goals and 16 points in 19 games on the season. However, six goals on 77 shots on goal is good for just a 7.8% shooting percentage, a number well below the 11% mark he owns for his career. Since the 2010-11 season, Pacioretty has never finished a season below an 8% shooting percentage – a number he posted in his final season with the Canadiens. In other words, I would certainly expect the goal-scoring pace to ramp up if he keeps shooting the puck this much. In fact, it already has as he’s tallied goals in three straight games and has four goals over his last five. I would expect a ton of shots at the very least tonight and I’ll look for at least one of those to find the back of the net this evening.
D – Shea Theodore (VGK) – $4,600 vs. CHI
Completing our three-man Golden Knights stack is Theodore who will skate alongside the Stone/Pacioretty duo at both even strength and on the team’s top power play unit tonight. The 24-year-old put together a nice season last year in which he tallied 12 goals and 37 points in 79 games, and he’s off to a similar pace this time around with a goal and seven points in 19 games. While he’s a defenseman and I take this number with a little more grain of salt than I would a forward, but Theodore has just that one goal despite putting 45 shots on goal this season, good for a tiny 2.2% shooting percentage – a number that’s less than half of his 5% career mark. He’s never shot under 3.3% in his NHL career to this point. Ater a hot start to the season, Theodore notched just one point in a 12-game stretch prior to notching an assist in Sunday’s loss to the Red Wings in Detroit. He also put four shots on goal in that game – the second time he’s done so over the last three contests. In other words, I’m looking for that effort to give him some momentum entering this one tonight. I believe there’s a high ceiling for this Vegas Golden Knights stack tonight.
D – Duncan Keith (CHI) – $4,600 vs. VGK
We have completed a Blackhawks mini-stack here with the addition of Keith who is going to skate as the lone defenseman on the team’s top power play unit – a group that will also include Strome. Keith is past his prime in multiple areas at 36 years old, but he’s still been serviceable with six points in 17 games this season to go along with 27 shots on goal and 34 blocked shots as well. While he’s certainly on the back nine of his career, Keith’s workload is surprisingly large at this point as he’s averaging more than 25 minutes per game in an all-scenarios type usage. The guy is still productive. His points are a little down this season, but he did core six goals and add 40 helpers in 82 games last season – a real healthy total for a defenseman. If he can continue to get those power play reps on the top unit I would expect his points production to pick up. For now, I’ll look at the sneaky-good road matchup tonight as part of a Blackhawks offense that has scored five goals in two of their last three games. Keith has skated at least 25 minutes in four straight and I don’t see that trend subsiding given the increased power play role. I think there’s value to be had in this mini-stack tonight, one that should be had at low ownership.
G – Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ) – $7,400 vs. OTT
To me, this one is a layup as Blackwood takes on the Ottawa Senators tonight on home ice. For one, the Devils are listed as -170 favorites to win this game tonight, so there’s strong win upside to be had here. There’s also the fact that Blackwood has separated himself from Cory Schneider – who is having a tough go of it again this season – as the club’s clear-cut number one thanks to some quality play of late following a tough start to the season himself. Blackwood actually played real well behind a terrible Devils team last season as he posted a 2.61 GAA and .918 Sv% across 23 appearances. This season, he owns a 2.93 GAA and .896 Sv%, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. After a tough October that resulted in an .871 Sv%, Blackwood has been much better of late to the tune of a .919 S% in the month of November across five starts. He has allowed just one goal in two of his last three starts – the latter of which was a 2-1 win over the high-scoring Canucks in Vancouver on Sunday. He’s also won three of his last four. The Senators score just 2.38 goals per game on the road this season so let’s look for Blackwood to stay hot in a wildly favorable home matchup tonight.