It was a wildly high-scoring NHL slate last night and while we received some production up and down the lineup we ended up on the wrong side of the cash line in what has been a tough week for my FanDuel NHL DFS Picks.
Our three-man Panthers stack largely did its job as both Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov tallied a goal and an assist in the Panthers’ 5-4 overtime loss. Jonathan Huberdeau added an assist of his own while the trio combined for six shots and a block.
Our three-man Sharks stack also got a little bit of production but was mostly disappointing despite the Sharks scoring six goals on the night. Brent Burns led the way with a pair of power play assists to go along with three shots on goal. Patrick Marleau provided solid value with an assist, two shots and two blocks, however Joe Thornton was held off the scoresheet and managed just one shot and one block. The Sharks’ big boys got the job done in this one, although it was the right call to go with Burns over Karlsson on the back end.
Our Blackhawks mini-stack started off nicely as Alex DeBrincat scored the team’s first goal on the night, however that was the only point we would get from him and Adam Boqvist despite the Blackhawks scoring five goals on the night. Man, you predict a low-scoring Blackhawks team to light up a Vancouver defense that was tied for third in the league and while you’re right, you’re still wrong as your players didn’t do the damage. Boqvist tallied three shots on the night, as did DeBrincat.
The biggest letdown was in goal, however, as Petr Mrazek and the Hurricanes were upset 4-2 by the visiting New York Rangers. Furthermore, Mrazek saw just 18 shots and made only 15 saves in the loss. Perhaps the worst goaltending performance of our season.
Let’s get things turned around in a hurry and enter the weekend on a strong note for tonight’s three-game main slate!
C – Mark Scheifele (WPG) – $7,500 vs. VAN
The Jets have largely struggled to score goals on home ice this season as their 1.88 goals per game at home is actually the worst mark in the NHL, and they’re taking on a Canucks team that has largely been good on the back end this season. However, Vancouver is also playing their second game in as many nights and I will fully guarantee you that this Jets home offense improves as we move forward. Head coach Paul Maurice has mixed up his line combinations for this one tonight, so I am going to roll with the Jets’ new-look top line in this one tonight. Scheifele hasn’t skipped a beat since posting a career-high 84 points last season as he’ll enter this one with five goals and 15 points in 16 games on the season to go along with 33 shots on goal. His current 15.2% shooting percentage is right in line with his 15.7% mark for his career, and while he doesn’t shoot the puck a ton he’s proven to be an efficient shooter throughout his NHL career. He’s logging a ton of ice time with 22:19 per game on average and has chipped in four power play points as well. I believe this Canucks defense has more room to regress after a quality start to the season and I’ll look for that to continue against a Jets offense that is surely going to bust out at home any game now.
C – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) – $6,000 vs. NJ
The Devils are another team that’s playing their second game in as many nights after allowing five goals to the Calgary Flames last night in Calgary with Mackenzie Blackwood taking the loss in his seventh start over their last eight games. That means that Cory Schneider will almost surely get the start for this one tonight, and he’s been simply atrocious on the season. While Blackwood has at least kept the Devils in some games of late, Schneider hasn’t seen the net since allowing seven goals to the Lightning on October 30th. Prior to that start, he allowed six goals to the Panthers on October 14th. Add it up and he owns a 4.71 GAA and .847 Sv% on the season. Enter Nugent-Hopkins who will center the Oilers’ second line at even strength while residing on their top power play unit. Of course we’d like to have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in this lineup, however this is a GPP lineup and I am going to duck a ton of ownership with this second line tonight. Despite putting a healthy 42 shots on goal in 17 games, Nugent-Hopkins has just one goal on the season and a 2.4% shooting percentage, almost 9% under his 11.5% career mark. In other words, a goal-scoring binge is on the horizon for a guy that scored 28 goals last season, and this is a wonderful matchup for that to start tonight.
W – Patrik Laine (WPG) – $7,700 vs. VAN
Next man up in our three-man Jets stack is Laine who is going to skate on the top line alongside Scheifele as Blake Wheeler has been moved down to the second line center spot in the absence of Bryan Little who took a puck off the head against the Devils the other night. It represents a big boost for Laine who is still looking to catch fire in the goal-scoring department despite continually putting up points. The 21-year-old still has 14 points in as many games this season, but just three goals and a 6.4% shooting percentage as a result. Putting pucks on goal hasn’t been a problem as he’s recorded 47 shots in 14 games on the season – good for 3.4 shots per game. However, that small 6.4% shooting percentage sits well under his 15.3% career mark. In other words, like with Nugent-Hopkins above, there is going to be a goal-scoring spree for Laine, especially since we have seen him go on some ridiculous binges in the past. Despite seeing second line duties and mostly second unit power play duties, Laine is logging 19:13 of ice time per game, almost two full minutes above his 17:14 mark from last season. The goal are about to come fast and furious and I want to be there when it happens.
W – Kyle Connor (WPG) – $6,600 vs. VAN
Completing our three-man Jets stack is Connor who will skate with Scheifele and Laine on the top line tonight while he and Scheifele are projected to skate together on the Jets’ top power play unit. The 2015 first-rounder burst onto the scene in the 2017-18 season when he scored 31 goals for the Jets and followed that up with 34 last season on 227 shots. He’s putting a ton of pucks on goal this season with 61 shots in 16 games – good for a whopping 3.8 shots per game – however he has just five goals and an 8.2% shooting percentage to show for it. Connor shot 16.1% in his rookie season and 15% last season and has a career mark of 14.3%. Clearly, he follows a trend in this lineup that says he is due for some more puck luck moving forward. He scored the OT winner in Vegas last Saturday, however was held pointless in just one shot in the loss to the Devils on Tuesday. There may not be enough puck to go around for both Connor and Laine to put up big shot totals tonight, however there’s a real good chance some of their expected positive regressions will kick in tongiht, and hopefully both against a vulnerable Canucks back end.
W – James Neal (EDM) – $5,500 vs. NJ
Neal doesn’t follow the positive regression train in this linep, in fact his shooting percentage is set to go the opposite way after a hot start to the season. Neal enters this one tonight with 11 goals in 17 games this season on 47 shots on goal, good for a 23.4% shooting percentage – a mark that is almost double his 11.9% mark for his career. However, with the positive regression due for Nugent-Hopkins, the fact that he and Neal skate together on the second line and top power play unit and the fact I want to duck the sky-high ownership of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, it makes sense to get Neal into this lineup in a favorable matchup. I mean, the Devils rank 29th with 3.79 goals against per game on the season and 25th with 3.83 goals against per game on the road, so they haven’t exactly been a team to halt hot streak here so far this season. Neal’s shooting percentage at home has been a more reasonable 18% while his four-goal game at the Islanders has his shooting percentage at more than 28% on the road. He’s pointless in his last three overall, so let’s look for Neal to get back on the scoresheet alongside Nugent-Hopkins in this one tonight.
W – Danton Heinen (BOS) – $4,300 vs. DET
The Bruins are absolutely ravaged with injuries both up front and on the back end, so it looks like Heinen is going to get a prime spot to get some offense going tonight on the Bruins’ second line alongside David Krejci while he’s also in for some reps on the team’s second power play unit. Of course, a boatload of ownership is going to go to the Bruins’ dominant top line tonight, and rightfully so. If you’re playing cash games, you should probably get those guys into your lineup. However, for GPP purposes I’m going to grab some lower-cost, much lower-owned Bruins for an appetizing road matchup with the Red Wings tonight. The Red Wings rank dead last with four goals against per game on the season and tied for 30th with 3.75 goals against per game at home alongside the New Jersey Devils. They’ll also be without their best defensive defenseman in Danny Dekeyser for this one tonight. Enter Heinen who has tallied three goals and six points in 15 games this season to go along with 16 shots on goal. The floor isn’t high, but the value upside is. He’s coming off a pair of pointless, shotless games despite the Bruins scoring 10 goals in that time, so it’s about time Heinen gets in on the action for his club tonight.
D – Oscar Klefbom (EDM) – $5,000 vs. NJ
Completing our three-man Oilers stack is Klefbom who will serve as the team’s lone defenseman on the top power play unit, giving us a three-man stack at 5v5 play as well as on the top power play unit. It’s been a productive season to this point for a guy that seemed to be trending up after a 12-goal season in 2016-17, however has struggled to stay healthy and productive over the last couple of seasons. This season, he has just one goal, but also nine points in 17 games to go along with 42 shots on goal – a big number for a defenseman. His current 2.4% shooting percentage is well under his 3.9% mark and this is a guy who hits more than 200 shots in a season when healthy, so I would expect that number to trend up moving forward. One number that has trended up already to this point is his ice time as Klefbom is averaging 25:42 of ice time per game this season, easily a career-high and almost two full minutes more than his 23:59 mark from last season. Apparently, new head coach Dave Tippett likes what he sees from the 26-year-old and I like what I see from a matchup standpoint against one of the worst defenses the NHL has to offer.
D – Charlie McAvoy (BOS) – $4,300 vs. DET
Completing our Bruins mini-stack tonight in Detroit is McAvoy who hasn’t exactly had a productive season to this point with zero goals and just four helpers in 15 games to go along with just 14 shots on goal. Now, this is a guy who simply does not put many pucks on goal at all, but has maintained a very efficient shooting percentage – for a defenseman – at 8.2% for his career. He’s averaged just 1.3 shots per game in his NHL career, and this season hasn’t been much different, but we should probably expect more shots moving forward. However, he’s scored once in every 12.1 shots in his career, so he’s due to score after going goalless in his first 14 shots this season. Despite the lack of shots, his is a very productive blueliner. He’s averaged 0.48 points per game in his NHL career, and averaged 0.51 points per game prior to this season. Don’t forget about the defensive end either where McAvoy has blocked almost two shots per game with 28 blocks in 15 games on the season. He and Heinen will form a mini-stack at even strength and on the team’s second power play unit while I’ll look for both to shake off the rust and deliver some value at lower ownership tonight.
G – Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) – $7,800 vs. VAN
The cash goaltender is very much Tuukka Rask in Detroit tonight, but I’ll take Hellebuyck against a Canucks team going through their inevitable regression in the goal-scoring department. After netting just two goals in Chicago last night, the Canucks have scored just three goals over their last two games and two goals or less in three of their last four. Despite some nice young talent aboard, I’m not convinced they are a top-10 offense in this league where they sit eighth with 3.38 goals per game this season. Enter Hellebuyck who has been very, very good of late and has taken some tough-luck losses at home despite owning some quality splits in that department. Entering this one, Hellebuyck owns a strong 2.41 GAA and .930 Sv% on the season. However, he has just a 6-5-1 record to show for it. Furthermore, he owns a 1.83 GAA and .944 Sv% in seven home starts this season, but et has a 3-3-1 record to show for it. Clearly, I believe the Jets offense will give him enough goal support to get the win tonight and with Winnipeg listed as -120 favorites to win this one on the moneyline, I’ll take the value upside and roll with the 26-year-old in this one tonight.