Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS Picks had some ups and downs but one of our three-man stacks severely hampered our ability to get in the money.
Our lineup was led by our three-man Devils stack that yielded some quality results. It was a big night from Taylor Hall who notched a goal and an assist to go along with two shots on goal. Kyle Palmieri notched a pair of assists despite racking up 17 penalty minutes while Jack Hughes also tallied an assist. Three of our four assists in this stack also came on the power play.
Our Hurricanes mini-stack was wonderful. Martin Necas tallied his third goal of the season and added four shots on goal to this total. Dougie Hamilton wasn’t to be outdone, however, as he recorded three assists on the night – one of which came on the power play – and a single shot on goal as well. Wonderful production from these two.
The disappointing aspect of the lineup came in our Flyers stack who failed to get on the scoresheet. It was the Flyers’ second line that did the damage in this one as our stack was held to just six shots on goal. What a disappointment this group was in a super-favorable matchup.
Finally, while it took longer than expected, Jordan Binnington came out with a win in his outing against the Blue Jackets as the Blues edged Columbus 4-3 in overtime. He allowed three goals on 30 shots and was largely cooled off in this one, but I’ll take the safety and the win in the process.
Let’s look for a steadier lineup throughout on this huge 12-game main slate!
C – Auston Matthews (TOR) – $8,600 vs. PHI
The Maple Leafs and Flyers get together tonight from the Wells Fargo Center in the City of Brotherly Love. For the Flyers, it will mark their second game in as many nights after edging the Devils 4-3 in a shootout last night. It also means that Brian Elliott will get the nod in goal after Carter Hart ended a four-game stretch of horrendous play last night in Jersey. However, for Elliott, he is mired in a tough stretch of his own. He made 19 saves on as many shots in a relief appearance on Long Island last Sunday, but the bookends of that outing were a pair of disastrous starts against the Blue Jackets and most recently, the Penguins. In those two starts, Elliott combined to allow 11 goals on just 54 shots, good for a cool .796 Sv%. His season numbers now read as a 3.10 GAA and .904 Sv% in five starts and seven appearances. Things don’t figure to get much easier tonight against a Maple Leafs team that ranks eighth with 3.50 goals per game. Matthews has been the biggest reason why as he has tallied 11 goals in 14 games to go along with five helpers and 57 shots on goal – good for 4.07 shots per game. With three goals and five points over his last three games, I’ll look for him to stay white-hot in this road matchup tonight.
C – William Karlsson (VGK) – $6,300 vs. WPG
Another team playing their second game in as many nights tonight is Winnipeg as they edged the San Jose Sharks 3-2 last night behind a brilliant 51-save outing from Connor Hellebuyck. That means that tonight’s start will go to backup Laurent Brossoit who has been quite shaky this season after an impressive 2018-19 campaign in relief of Hellebuyck. Last season, Brossoit posted a 2.52 GAA and .925 Sv% across 19 starts and 21 appearances for the Jets, however he’s entering this one tonight sporting a ghastly 4.50 GAA and .852 Sv% on the season. Keep in mind he’s playing behind a much weaker Winnipeg blueline, and I think the Golden Knights can take advantage of a struggling netminder and a thin back end tonight. Enter Karlsson who appears to be bouncing back from what can be considered a down season last year. After coming out of nowhere to score 43 goals and 78 points in the 2017-18 season, Karlsson regressed to 24 goals and 56 points last season, largely thanks to a correction in his shooting percentage from a massive 23.4% in 2017-18 to 14.2% last season. He’s shooting at just 10.5% this season, but still has four goals and 12 points in 14 games on 38 shots on goal. He’s scored in three straight games, so let’s look for that streak to extend to four in this favorable home matchup tonight.
W – William Nylander (TOR) – $6,500 vs. PHI
Nylander is off to a real nice start this season, rebounding from what was a struggle after missing a big chunk of time to start last season thanks to a contract holdout. Nylander’s points-per-game fell from 0.75 across his first two seasons in the NHL to just 0.50 last season. However, the Swede has tallied three goals and nine points across 14 games this time around, but the raw point numbers may not tell the whole story for the 23-year-old. The truth is that Nylander is absolutely dominating the possession game at even strength as he’s managed a 59.4% Corsi For% at even strength this season, continuing a trend that he’s held throughout his career, even last season when he posted a strong 56.8% mark, according to Hockey Reference. There’s been a ton of Leafs goals that have resulted in his play-driving ability that have yet to show up on the scoresheet to this point, but sooner or later that luck will turn in his favor. Keep in mind Nylander is also skating on the team’s top power play unit with Matthews and Co., so tonight seems like a real nice opportunity for a big game from the young Swede against a struggling Flyers back end tonight.
W – Jonathan Marchessault (VGK) – $6,600 vs. WPG
I’m completing a Vegas mini-stack here with Marchessault who will skate to the left of Karlsson at both even strength and one on the two Vegas power play units. The power play unit that contains Paul Stastny, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty has averaged a little more power play time per game than the Karlsson/Marchessault group, but Marchessault is still averaging a nice 2:24 on the man advantage per game. The good news with Marchessault the fact he is in for some serious positive regression in the goal-scoring department. This guy shoots the puck like crazy and has fired 50 pucks on goal in just 14 games this season – good for 3.57 shots per game. However, just two of those 50 shots have found twine – good for a tiny 4% shooting percentage and 6.5% under his career 10.5% mark. He shots fairly low last season at just 9%, but there’s little doubt that this guy is due to go on a scoring binge in the very near future with tonight presenting a nice opportunity to do so. He’s scored at least 25 goals and as many as 30 over the last three seasons and fired at least 268 shots on goal in each of his last two seasons. A multi-goal effort wouldn’t surprise me in the least tonight.
W – Denis Malgin (FLA) – $3,700 vs. DET
Given how much positive regression there is for Aleksander Barkov in the goal-scoring department, I initially had him in this lineup. However, the more I looked into it, I think we can get some massive value out of Malgin and his linemates tonight as the Panthers take on the Detroit Red Wings. For the third consecutive matchup in this lineup, I am targeting a team playing their second game in as many nights as the Red Wings took a 7-3 hammering at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. The seven-goal blowout loss worsened the Red Wings to 3.79 goals against per game on the season, good for the third-worst mark in the NHL at 29th. That number jumps to 4.14 goals against per game on the road, good for the fourth-worst mark in the NHL at 28th. Now, this is a very good Panthers offense that shares fifth spot with the Canucks and Penguins at 3.54 goals per game and Malgin has been a notable contributor. He’ll enter this one tonight with three goals and eight points in 11 games this season to go along with 11 shots on goal. The 22-year-old is actually going to skate as the team’s third-line center tonight with second-unit power play time on tap as well. After five points over a four-game point streak, Malgin has been held pointless over his last two, but I am teeming with excitement over the value he can bring to the table in this one tonight.
W – Frank Vatrano (FLA) – $3,500 vs. DET
Vatrano brings some attractive value upside to the table in this matchup as well as he will skate to the right of Malgin on the team’s third line and second power play unit. He hasn’t enjoyed quite the same success as Malgin in the early going, but he’s still managed three goals and five points in 13 games this season to go along with a healthy 33 shots on goal. Make no mistake about it, this guy can score goal. He broke out with a career-high 24 goals on 208 shots last season, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. It took some NHL seasoning, but the 25-year-old finally made good on the hype from scoring 36 goals in as many games with the 2015-16 Providence Bruins – Boston’s farm team. He struggled to consistently produce in his NHL opportunities in Boston, but has scored 32 goals in 110 games with the Panthers in part of three seasons now. He’s averaging a solid 1:44 of average ice time per game on the power play and he’s also skated in excess of 17 minutes in each of his last two games. He too has been held pointless over his last two games after racking up all five of his points in a six-game stretch, but there aren’t many opportunities to get back on track that are superior to the one he faces tonight.
D – Morgan Rielly (TOR) – $6,400 vs. PHI
I’ll be the first to admit that this doesn’t seem to be the same Morgan Rielly that finished third in defenseman scoring last season and cemented himself as one of the best offensive blueliners in the game in the process, but I like the opportunity tonight and I like the fact we are getting a three-man power play stack with Rielly. The Flyers’ penalty kill has mostly been solid this season as they are tied for 14th with an 81.6% mark in that department on the season, however they allowed two power play goals in four shorthanded opportunities last night in New Jersey, so perhaps we’re catching them at a weak point. Rielly hasn’t missed a game this season, but he missed four consecutive practises before returning to the ice Thursday with his teammates for a skate. Perhaps the time off is well deserved as he has averaged 25:23 on the team’s blueline this season, a number that should be reached again tonight as Jake Muzzin is out of the lineup for this one. Rielly still has three goals and 14 points on the season to go along with 30 shots on goal and 20 blocks to boot. He remains an elite source of cross-category upside and I’ll look for him to stretch his current three-game point streak to four in this one tonight.
D – Aaron Ekblad (FLA) – $4,800 vs. DET
Needless to say, I’m pumped about the opportunity these low-cost Panthers players have tonight as Aaron Ekblad completes my three-man stack against this lowly Red Wings defense. Ekblad will not only skate with Malgin and Vatrano for a good chunk of even-strength time, but he’s also a member of that second power play unit as well. Make sure to note that the Red Wings rank 29th with a 71.1% mark on the power play and 30th with a brutal 63.6% mark on the road. Their power play ranks 16th overall, but the Panthers jump to eighth with a 28.6% clip on the man advantage at home this season. With 12 goals and 39 points in his rookie season back in 2014-15, the former first overall pick hasn’t managed to match or exceed that points mark since, coming close last season with 37 points despite scoring 13 goals. That said, he’s scored double-digit goals in every one of his five NHL seasons before this one and has scored at least 13 in three of his last four seasons. He’s well on his way to producing a new career-high in points, however, as he’s notched eight of them in 12 games, seven of which were assists. His 3.4% shooting percentage is less than half of his 6.9% career mark, however and with just one goal in 29 shots this season I would expect his next goal to be coming on an imminent basis.
G – Tuukka Rask (BOS) – $9,000 vs. OTT
I mean, I had Sergei Bobrovsky in this lineup to begin with as I filled out my stacks and mini-stack, but I simply had so much money left over that I upgraded to Rask who provided the most safety on the slate. Sure, Bobrovsky’s Panthers are massive -290 favorites to beat the Red Wings on the moneyline, but the Bruins are enormous -400 favorites to beat the Senators on the moneyline, odds that I can’t remember seeing before. As a result, I’ll simply pay the price since I can easily afford it and roster a red-hot Rask against the NHL’s worst team tonight on home ice. First of all, the Bruins are the NHL’s best overall defense with an even two goals against per game and the NHL’s best home defense with just 1.33 goals against per game at the TD Garden. Of course, both numbers are due to regress negatively, however I’m not sure that begins tonight against a Senators team that ranks 24th with 2.64 goals per game and down to 28th with just two goals per game on the road. Rask sits with an eye-popping 1.41 GAA and .951 Sv% on the season as well as a 1.18 GAA and .957 Sv% to go along with a 4-0-1 record at home. Finally, he’s allowed just three goals over his last three games – good for a .959 Sv%. He may not face a ton of shots and rack up a ton of saves, but there isn’t a goaltender on this slate that provides this level of safety tonight.