Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS Picks were solid as we received production up and down our lineup while our decision in goal really paid off.
Our Penguins three-man stack wasn’t wildly productive, but we had the right idea as the Penguins managed four goals against a defense that had allowed just 1.42 goals per game at home prior to the contest. We didn’t get a goal, but each member of our three-man stack registered an assist while we combined for eight shots as well.
Our three-man Predators stack was a little disappointing considering the 6-1 blowout win they posted over the Detroit Red Wings. Entering the second period down 1-0, the Preds exploded for give goals in the middle frame and one in the third. The problem was that only one of those goals came from our three-man stack – Filip Forsberg – who also added an assist on the night with a pair of shots. Ryan Johansen notched an assist and four shots on goal while Viktor Arvidsson disappointed with no points and just one shot.
Despite the Rangers taking a 6-2 beating at the hands of the Senators, our mini-stack actually fared well as Kappo Kakko scored the Rangers’ first goal of the game and added an assist on Artemi Panarin’s second-period marker. Tony DeAngelo notched an assist alongside Kakko on Panarin’s goal while the duo combined for six shots on goal as well.
Finally, it was the right move to grab the safety of Pekka Rinne as he turned aside 23 of 24 Red Wins shots and earned the easy win thanks to a boatload of goal support as well.
It was a nice night so let’s keep things going on tonight’s big 11-game main slate!
C – John Tavares (TOR) – $7,400 vs. LA
Keep an eye on Tavares’ status as the day moves along, however there’s a very strong chance that Tavares returns to the Maple Leafs’ lineup tonight after missing almost three weeks with a broken finger suffered back on October 16th against the Capitals. The return couldn’t come at a better time for the Maple Leafs who have largely spun their wheels so far this season, however it also bolsters a Maple Leafs offense that hasn’t had much trouble scoring with 3.47 goals per game this season – good for seventh in the NHL. His return tonight is also favorable from a matchup perspective as the Maple Leafs take on a Kings team that has struggled defensively this season and struggled mightily on the road as well. The Kings enter this one ranked dead last with 4.07 goals against per game this season and last by a mile with 4.86 goals against per game on the road. For his part, Tavares has notched three goals and seven points in eight games on the season to go along with 14 shots on goal. He and Mitch Marner haven’t found the chemistry they displayed in Tavares’ 47-goal season from a year ago, however they aren’t likely to be contained by a Kings defense that has completely fallen apart in recent seasons.
C – Bryan Little (WPG) – $4,800 vs. NJ
The Winnipeg Jets are another club that gets a favorable home matchup tonight as they take on the New Jersey Devils who have had their fair share of issues keeping the puck out of their own net this season, as they did a season ago. Only the aforementioned Kings and the Detroit Red Wings have allowed more than the 3.92 goals per game the Devils have this season while only the Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets have allowed more than the 4.25 goals per game than the Devils have surrendered on the road this season. Obviously, the Devils aren’t getting much in terms of goaltending at the moment either as they take on a tough Jets offense tonight at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg. I knew the Jets wouldn’t be as good as they had been in previous seasons, but one thing I did not anticipate was their offensive struggles at home as their 2.00 goals per game at home this season ranks last in the league. However, that number has simply nowhere to go but up, and this is a great matchup for that regression to kick in. Enter Little who has gotten off to a nice start since beginning the season injured as he’s notched two goals and five points on 11 shots in six games this season in 16:41 of average ice time. Once again the team’s second-line center at even strength and on the power play, I’ll look to squeeze some value out of him in a favorable matchup tonight.
W – Mitch Marner (TOR) – $7,800 vs. LA
The eye test on Marner this season reveals that he doesn’t look like his play-driving self so far this season – and missing Tavares for the last seven games hasn’t helped either while he’s also missing Zach Hyman from last season’s top line as well as Hyman has yet to suit up thanks to offseason ACL surgery. However, from a DFS perspective, Marner is still producing as he’s notched four goals and 17 points in 15 games this season to go along with 46 shots on goal – good for more than three shots per game. He’s probably due to score more goals moving forward as his current 8.7% shooting percentage falls more than 2% below his 10.9% career mark while he’s never shot less than 10.8% in any of this three NHL seasons to this point. Keep in mind Marner is also averaging a career-high 20:08 of ice time per game this season. To be blunt, I expect this line to get back to business in a favorable matchup with Tavares likely returning tonight. Marner was a huge reason why Tavares notched a career-best 47 goals last season as his 68 assists were the fourth-most in the game. He’s an all-situation with seven power play points and a short-handed point as well while he snapped a seven-game goalless drought with a tally on Saturday in Philadelphia. Let’s look for his goal streak to hit two in this one tonight.
W – Trevor Moore (TOR) – $3,400 vs. LA
You might not see this until Tavares is confirmed as a go for tonight’s game, but according to multiple Maple Leafs beat writers Moore has practised alongside Tavares and Marner in recent days and should line up with that duo at 5v5 play tonight. As a result, I’m digging the value he brings to the table at a near-minimum price tonight. He hasn’t produced much of late, but Moore has notched three goals and five points in 15 games this season to go along with 12 shots on goal in what has mostly been a third-line role, but one that could possibly elevate into a second line, or 1B, role tonight. When the team was healthier, Moore notched three goals in his first six games of the season and added two helpers for all five of his points in eight games to begin the season. As a result, he’s been held off the scoresheet in the ensuing seven games – all of which Tavares has not been a part of. Keep in mind that this guy was an AHL All-Star last season and notched 23 goals in 46 AHL games and another five in 10 AHL postseason games. He’s a talented player that is set for the dirty work on this line tonight, but against a struggling Kings defense there’s value upside written all over him tonight.
W – Patrik Laine (WPG) – $7,700 vs. NJ
Laine missed a couple of games with an injury, but his productive season continued after getting back into the lineup with an assist in Vegas on Saturday – one that came on the overtime winner. However, while I’m all for assists – and Laine has 11 of them in 13 games – I’m all about the goals with this guy and he should be scoring plenty of them moving forward? Why, you ask? Well, not only is Laine one of the best pure goal-scorers in the NHL and an annual 40-goal threat, but his shooting percentage tells me a big story right now. While he’s continued to shoot the puck plenty with 42 shots in 13 games – good for 3.2 shots per game – he’s only shooting at a 7.1% clip this season. Considering that mark is less than half of his 15.4% career mark and it’s blatantly obvious that Laine is going to go on a goal-scoring spree, it’s just a matter of when. However, when I look at his game logs and see that he hasn’t scored over his last eight games and 26 shots on goal, I’m going to go on a limb and say the next goal – or two, or three – comes ASAP. He’s fired 12 shots on goal over his last two games to no avail, so let’s look for the Finnish sniper to get off the goal-scoring schnide and find twine tonight.
W – Tyler Toffoli (LA) – $5,000 vs. TOR
While I believe the Maple Leafs get their offense into big-time gear tonight, I’m still not sold on the back end. In fact, the Maple Leafs will enter tonight’s contest with the fourth-worst home defense in the NHL as their 3.56 goals against per game at home is better than only the Red Wings, Devils and Rangers who have each allowed 3.75 goals per game at home. Frederik Andersen hasn’t found his game consistently in the Maple Leafs goal, either, so I think there’s some room for a Kings team that ranks first with 36.7 shots per game on the road this season to get their offense going in this one tonight. Enter Toffoli who was held out of the lineup as a healthy scratch last week, but returned to the lineup to post two assists to go along with four shots in a 4-3 overtime win over Chicago on Saturday. He also skated 17:23 in that one after logging less than 15 minutes of ice time in three straight games. For a low-scoring Kings team, Toffoli’s three goals and seven points in 13 games isn’t all that poor while he’s put 31 shots on goal in that time. West coast players play hard when they return home to the east coast, and that’s the case for Toffoli tonight who indeed resides from Toronto, Ontario and will put his talents to work in front of friends and family in this one tonight.
D – Neal Pionk (WPG) – $4,400 vs. NJ
While Jacob Trouba is a real good defenseman and a top-pair blueliner at that, the Jets could have done a lot worse in the deal with the Rangers that brought Pionk to northern Manitoba. After posting a solid 40 points in 101 career games with the Rangers in a second and a half prior to the offseason trade, Pionk has produced nicely for the Jets to this point as he has notched two goals and nine points in 15 games to go along with 25 shots on goal and 18 blocks across a real healthy 23:12 of average ice time per game. Pionk did yeoman’s work on the power play last season with the Rangers as 13 of his 26 points – otherwise known as 50% – came on the man advantage. He has two of his nine points on the power play this season, but with the Jets shuffling up their power play units I like the fact that Pionk will skate on the same unit as Little and Laine for this one tonight. Now, brace yourself for this, but the Devils enter this one ranked dead last with a 53.3% (!!!) mark on the penalty kill on the road this season. Yes, that number should positive regress if history tells us anything, but for now that number tells us the Devils have been flat-out horrendous while killing penalties on the road. As a result, I like this cost-efficient three-man stack we have on tap tonight.
D – Drew Doughty (LA) – $5,900 vs. TOR
Completing our Kings mini-stack is Doughty, who like Toffoli is playing a homecoming game tonight as he grew up just a couple of hours away from Toronto in nearby London, Ontario and should have plenty of familiar faces in the crowd for this one tonight. After posting 10 goals and 60 points on 205 shots in the 2017-18 season, Doughty fell to just eight goals and 45 points on 154 shots last season. However, he’s gotten back on the right track this season as he’s notched four goals and 10 points in 14 games to go along with 34 shots on goal and 28 blocked shots as well, making him one of the more valuable cross-category defensemen in the NHL at the moment. Perhaps less has been more with the 29-year-old. Doughty has logged a massive amount of ice time in his NHL career, as high as 29 minutes per game in the 2014-15 season and at least 26:36 in every season since. He’s down to 24:27 this season, which has probably helped to keep him fresh and productive. He’s been productive against the Leafs in his career with 10 points in 16 games against them. I’ll simply look for him to continue to produce his cross-category production in a favorable road matchup tonight.
G – Semyon Varlamov (NYI) – $8,300 vs. OTT
The Islanders were perhaps the biggest surprise from last season as they went from 16 points out of the playoffs to a second-place finish in the Metropolitan Division standings. This season, they are well on their way again and have actually won nine straight games entering tonight’s matchup with the Senators, a team that will play their second game in as many nights after knocking off the Rangers 6-2 last night in Manhattan. The Islanders are deploying their goaltenders in a straight-up rotation in taking turns in and out of the crease in a game-by-game basis, and on that note it should be Thomas Greiss getting the nod in this one tonight. The Islanders have once again been one of the better defenses in the league after being the best defense in the league last season as their 2.23 goals against per game this season ranks them third behind only the Bruins and Coyotes. As a result, Greiss is enjoying his second consecutive excellent season with a 2.15 GAA and .933 Sv% across six starts and seven appearances on the season. Furthermore, he owns a 1.71 GAA and .941 Sv% across three starts and four appearances at home and provides the safety I want as the Islanders enter this one as huge -270 favorites to win this one on the moneyline tonight.