Now that’s a little more like it.
After a historically bad lineup on Tuesday night, last night’s small two-game slate went much better as our three-man Blues stack really stepped up and the decision to use Jake Allen in goal also paid off.
The Blues upset the Oilers 5-2 and the three-man stack of Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo combined for two goals, four assists three shots and a block. Allen was excellent in turning aside 32 of 34 Oilers shots in the win.
Our four-man Red Wings stack didn’t go as hoped, however. The Wings were dealt a 5-1 loss to the Rangers, however we did notch an assist on the lone Detroit goal from Andreas Athanasiou. We also got a combined 15 shots from the four skaters and 14 shots between the three forwards we rostered. We notched four blocks to boot.
While I didn’t have much Rangers exposure, I certainly picked the right guy to roster as Artemi Panarin tallied a goal and an assist, although he had just one shot on the night. Still, I’ll take that effort.
The action gets ramped up several notches tonight as we look to get back into the profits on this 11-game Thursday slate!
C – Aleksander Barkov (FLA) – $8,000 vs. WAS
It’s a former Southeast Division rivalry tonight in Sunrise as the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals get together and while the Capitals may be viewed as the offense to roll with tonight, I’m going to side with the Panthers who have been very good on offense themselves this season. They are laced with talent up even with Vincent Trocheck out of the lineup, however since Trocheck isn’t a go tonight I am simply going to roll with the Panthers’ top line, led by Barkov who is having one heck of a season here in the early going. Barkov has 17 points in 14 games on the season, but what I like the most moving forward is the fact that only two of those points are goals. He isn’t shooting the puck as much this season as he has in seasons past as he’s averaging just two shots per game early on, however he has just two goals on 28 shots – good for a small 7.1% shooting percentage. When compared to his 13.5% career mark we can see that he’s due for some big-time positive goal-scoring regression and probably some shot on goal positive regression as he’s averaged 2.9 shots per game over the last two seasons. He’s the driver of this Panthers’ fifth-ranked offense, so let’s look for him to get back on the scoresheet tonight after notching four points over his last two games – including his only two goals on the season.
C – Joe Thornton (SJ) – $4,000 vs. MIN
The floor is low, but I think the Sharks can get some serious offense going tonight in a favorable home matchup with the Minnesota Wild, so the value upside is high. In what could very well be his final season in the NHL, Thornton has struggled offensively this season with zero goals and just five points on the season across 16 games on the season to go along with just 16 shots on goal. There’s the low floor. However, while Thornton has never been a goal-scorer by trade and is very much a pass-first player, I’m expecting his 0% shooting percentage to trend up moving forward, right? This is still a guy that scored 16 goals just last season and has at least 13 goals in four of his last five seasons. Heck, he even posted a real healthy 51 points in 73 games last season. Yes, much of his wizardry has left his game considering this is his 22nd season in the NHL, however he’s also facing a Wild team that ranks 24th with 3.40 goals against per game this season and tied for 23rd with 3.60 goals against per game on the road. This is a GPP lineup to be sure, and I can realistically see Thornton’s ownership under 1% for this one behind Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl on the team’s depth chart down the middle. I see some serious value upside to be had with the 40-year-old.
W – Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA) – $7,200 vs. WAS
While Barkov has struggled to score goals until recently this season, the problem hasn’t trickled down to Huberdeau who is a big reason why Barkov has already racked up 15 assists this season. The 26-year-old winger enters this one with nine goals and 18 points in 14 games on the season to go along with 37 shots on goal in that time. What’s interesting to me is that none of his nine goals have come on the power play, so we can at least expect that part of his game to ramp up after tallying 11 power play goals a season ago. Yes, his 24.3% shooting percentage is going to come down to earth towards his 12% career mark, but I’m not about to leave him out of a three-man Panthers stack when I am using Barkov as my center. He’s more than welcome to chip in on Barkov’s positive goal-scoring regression or continue his unsustainably hot shooting percentage tonight against the Caps. This isn’t so much about Washington and their middle-of-the-pacl league defense but rather this Panthers top line being one the more underrated groups in the league. With 10 points in just five home games, I’ll look for Huberdeau and Barkov to connect for some more offense in this one tonight.
W – Evgenii Dadonov (FLA) – $6,400 vs. WAS
Completing this three-man Panthers stack is Dadonov who I haven’t had much success with in stacking the Panthers so far while I’ve enjoyed plenty of success with Barkov and Huberdeau this season. It’s not as if he’s having a bad season as Dadonov enters this one with six goals and 11 points in 14 games to go along with 34 shots on goal. He’s the one that’s been doing the goal-scoring on the man advantage where two of his six goals have come this season. The 30-year-old has very quietly tallied 28 goals in each of his two seasons since returning to the Panthers where he played for three years before departing for the KHL and last season he set a career-high with 70 points. His 17.6% shooting percentage is a few ticks higher than his 14.3% mark, but it’s not so high that he’s going to come to a crashing halt from a performance standpoint. He saw a four-game point streak snapped in the Panthers’ 4-0 win over the Red Wings on Saturday, a game in which Barkov and Huberdeau combined for five points. How he managed to do that is irrelevant at this point, but I’m looking for him to get back on the scoresheet alongside his linemates this evening nonetheless.
W – Patrick Marleau (SJ) – $4,200 vs. MIN
That’s right, I’m turning back the clock with this three-man Sharks stack tonight as Marleau and Thornton are not only reunited on the Sharks this season but also on the same line as Marleau is set to flank Thornton at both even strength and on the team’s top power play unit tonight. While Thornton has struggled to produce to this point, that hasn’t been the case for Marleau who has tallied three goals and seven points in 12 games this season to go along with 20 shots on goal. This speed still plays in today’s fast, youthful NHL and I believe he can continue to produce this season after scoring 43 goals over the last two seasons that he spent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Marleau scored two goals in a triumphant return to the Sharks back on October 10th in Chicago, however he was held goalless in each of his next 10 games. However, he snapped that slump as well as a five-game pointless drought with a tally on Tuesday – also against the Blackhawks. The Sharks’ offense scored just eight goals during Marleau’s five-game pointless drought, but broke out with four in the win over the Blackhawks so I’ll look for their offense to build off of that and have the old boys deliver us some value as a result.
W – Alex DeBrincat (CHI) – $6,100 vs. VAN
I believe in this Blackhawks offense more than most despite the fact they sit 29th with just 2.36 goals per game this season. Add in the fact that the Canucks are tied for third with 2.33 goals against per game and this would appear to be a poor matchup for DeBrincat and the Blackhawks on home ice. That said, I simply see both of these numbers regressing moving forward, the Blackhawks positively and the Canucks negatively. I mean, Chicago ranked eighth with 3.26 goals per game a season go with this same offensive core and while the Canucks added to their blueline this summer, they tied for 17th with 3.02 goals against per game last season. Numbers can certainly change from season to season, however I simply see some regression room on both sides of this coin tonight. As a result, I’m going to grab what I assume will be some low-owned Blackhawks exposure, beginning with DeBrincat. The sniper is coming off a 41-goal season from last year and while he has four goals and nine points in 14 games this season, his 10.3% shooting percentage is still more than 6% under his 16.6% career mark. I’ve written before how I believe DeBrincat is going to be a player to consistently post high shooting percentages thanks to his one-timer and quick-strike ability, so I’ll look for his efficiency to ramp up a notch with a goal or two in this one tonight.
D – Brent Burns (SJ) – $7,200 vs. MIN
While Thornton certainly brings a low floor to the table and Marleau not bringing a terribly high floor either, that certainly isn’t the case with this guy as Burns has been the highest-floor DFS defenseman in the league over the last several seasons. Is he the same guy that scored 29 goals and 76 points on 320 shots in the 2016-17 season? Probably not. He has three goals and 14 points in 16 games for what has largely been a struggling offense, however, and he’s also recorded 46 shots in 16 games, good for a healthy 236-shot pace. After managing at least 300 shots in each of the last four seasons, however, I would probably expect his shots per game number to trend higher as we move forward. His current 6.5% shooting percentage is pretty much bang-on with his 6.9% career mark, so his three goals on 46 shots makes complete sense to this point while he’s notched a goal and five helpers on the man advantage this season. Speaking of the man advantage, Burns has been moved to the second unit where he will form a three-man stack with Thornton and Marleau. The Wild penalty kill has been as bad as their overall defense this season, but I’ll still look for this trio to connect, whether it be at 5v5 or on the man advantage tonight.
D – Adam Boqvist (CHI) – $3,500 vs. VAN
If boqvist isn’t on your DFS radar of yet, you might want to get him there. The 19-year-old defenseman was the Blackhawks’ eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft and after just six games in the AHL he has made the jump to the show where he has skated in three games with the Blackhawks, scoring a goal on five shots with a blocked shot in that time. Prior to getting the call to the NHL, he tallied one goal for his lone point in six AHL contests. We can look back to his lone year of junior hockey with the OHL’s London Knights and see the upside as he tallied 20 goals and 60 points in 54 games with them last season – elite numbers for an 18-year-old defenseman. While he and DeBrincat are are currently skating on separate power play units. Boqvist has averaged a real healthy 1:55 of power play ice time in his three games, the second-highest average among Blackhawks defensemen behind Erik Gustafsson who has been banished from the Blackhawks power play all together. To me, it’s only a matter of time until Boqvist is handling top unit power play duties, and I can realistically see it happening tonight if the Blackhawks are looking for offense. If not, I’m okay with exposure to both power play units, but I love the value upside here at low ownership to complete this Blackhawks mini-stack.
G – Petr Mrazek (CAR) – $7,900 vs. NYR
The Hurricanes are a team you could use in DFS tonight as they get the weak defense of the New York Rangers playing their second game in as many nights tonight, however I like my roster and I will get my Hurricanes exposure here with Mrazek for a team that is favored to win this game at -260 on the moneyline, making them heavy favorites. The Rangers scored five goals last night and have actually improved dramatically at the offensive end this season with their 3.23 goals per game ranking 13th, however this remains a quality Hurricanes back end, especially at home. Carolina ranks 10th with 2.80 goals against per game overall, a number that falls to 2.50 at home, good for a three-way share of 10th alongside the Blues and Predators. Mrazek’s numbers on the season are pretty much in line with career norms. His results have been volatile year-to-year, however he’s gone 7-2-1 with a 2.50 GAA and .909 Sv% on the season, the latter two of which fit nicely alongside his 2.60 GAA and .911 Sv% for his career. However, at home, Mrazek has been excellent in going a perfect 6-0-0 with a 1.97 GAA and .925 Sv% compared to a 1-2-1 mark, 3.44 GAA and .883 Sv% in four road outings. Keep an eye on the confirmed starter for Carolina as the day moves along, and James Reimer makes sense if he gets the nod, but for now I’ll leave Mrazek in here in a favorable home matchup tonight.