Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS Picks were excellent and did some notable damage in GPPs.
We saw some high ownership with our three-man Capitals stack, however it wasn’t worth the fade as the trio of Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson combined for five assists and 11 shots on the evening to go along with some power play assists as well.
The rest of our lineup saw low ownership and it really paid off. Our three-man Blackhawks stack received a power play goal from Alex DeBrincat who somehow was just 6.8%% owned. DeBrincat also notched an assist while Erik Gustafsson contributed a power play helper. Finally, Jonathan Toews bagged the overtime winner at just 4.1% owned while he also fired three shots on goal and blocked one as well. Excellent production at low ownership.
Our lost-cost one-off wingers really gave or lineup a big shot in the arm. Brett Connolly scored for the second straight game to go along with four shots on goal. Alex Chiasson notched an assist, three shots on goal and a blocked shot at just 2.6% owned.
Finally, our goaltender Robin Lehner had a big night, turning aside 37 of 39 Blue Jackets shots and picked up the win on Toews’ overtime winner.
It was perhaps our best lineup of the season to this point and I’ll look to stay hot on tonight’s nine-game main slate!
C – Derek Stepan (ARI) – $5,600 vs. OTT
The Arizona Coyotes are hot right now and they have finally gotten their offense going after tallying nine goals over their last two games. After a quiet start to his season, Derek Stepan was a big part of the 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday as he notched a pair of assists – both on the power play – along with three shots on goal. The two helpers marked his first points since scoring a goal in the club’s season opener back on October 3rd, so it was a long time coming for the veteran. In a healthy season, we know what to expect from the 29-year-old Stepan. After notching just 35 points in an injury-shortened 72-game season last year, I would expect Stepan to get back into the mid-50s where was finished for each of the previous five seasons. He recorded between 53 and 57 points for five straight seasons while we should expect somewhere around 15-20 goals for the play-making center. Stepan is the team’s top center at both even strength and on the top power play unit as he gets set to take on a Senators team that is tied for 24th with 3.50 goals against per game this season with a 16th-ranked penalty kill that sits at even 80% on the season. I love the upside of Stepan hitting the scoresheet again tonight.
C – Tyler Johnson (TB) – $4,900 vs. COL
The Lighting and Avalanche get together tonight for a battle of the titans from Tampa Bay, and the Lightning could have the upper hand in this one as they will face an Avs team that is playing their second game in as many nights tonight after a hard-fought 5-4 overtime win in Florida last night. The Avs have largely been good on the back end this season, however they did slip a little bit against a good Florida Panthers offense last night and this is no doubt a treacherous back-to-back against the most dynamic offense in the NHL. Furthermore, the Lighting will get backup goaltender Pavel Francouz in this one after Philipp Grubauer notched the win last night. Francouz was good in his one start this season, however that came against a struggling Coyotes offense at the time. This is very much a whole other animal against these Lightning. Enter Johnson who is off to a solid start this season with two goals and four points in seven games to go along with 14 shots on goal. Johnson is the team’s second line center at even strength while he also centers the second power play unit. Tampa Bay has averaged 3.71 goals per game in the early going with a power play that’s clicked at a healthy 26.3%, so I’ll look for them to get more offense going tonight against the Avs.
W – Phil Kessel (ARI) – $7,200 vs. OTT
We’ve seen Kessel get hot before and go on some epic goal-scoring streaks which is why I am loving him in this matchup tonight against the lowly Senators. After going five games without a goal to begin his Coyotes tenure, Kessel got off the schnide with two goals in Thursday’s win, both of which came on the power play. Prior to that matchup, Kessel had just two assists in five games, so I’m looking for him to stay hot in this one tonight. After their power play tallied a pair of goals on Thursday, the Coyotes’ power play is now clicking at a whopping 29.4% for the season, good for seventh in the NHL. Let’s remember that Kessel has been one of the better power play performers in the NHL over the last couple of seasons after posting 42 power play points in the 2017-18 season followed up by 36 man advantage points last season. He’s bagged 12 power play markers in each of those seasons. He’s recorded three of his four points in six games on the man advantage to this point and fitures to be a weapon on the power play alongside a real good play-making center in Stepan. Let’s look for Kessel to continue to fire plenty of pucks on goal and get back on the shoresheet again in this one.
W – Clayton Keller (ARI) – $6,000 vs. OTT
Completing our three-man Coyotes stack is Keller who will flank both Stepan and Kessel on the team’s top line as well as the top power play unit tonight. After posting 23 goals and 65 points as a rookie in the 2017-18 season, Keller fell to just 14 goals and 47 points in his sophomore campaign last year. I have the utmost of confidence that Keller will smash those 47 points this season playing on the top line alongside a player in Kessel who is annually around a point-per-game player as well as a talented top power play unit. He’s off to a fine start with five points in six games, however all of those points have come in assist form as he still searches for his first goal of the season despite putting 15 pucks on goal to this point. We do know that he likes to shoot the puck as he’s posted at least 200 shots on goal in each of his first two seasons in the NHL, so the first goal of the season isn’t far away, at all. Like Kessel, Keller also enjoyed a two-point night on Thursday, tallying a pair of power play assists in the win over the Predators. The matchup is a nice one and I think this Coyotes top line has the upside to do some major damage in this one tonight.
W – Yanni Gourde (TB) – $4,700 vs. COL
Continuing our Lightning stack is Gourde who will line up alongside Johnson on the team’s second line as well as the second power play unit. It’s interesting because Gourde saw a very similar production drop as Keller did last season. After breaking out with 25 goals and 64 points in the 2017-18 season, Gourde fell to 22 goals and 48 points last season, representing an almost-identical points drop to Keller. Perhaps the real Gourde is somewhere in between the two totals, but nonetheless I like the value upside we’re getting with him at this price against an Avalanche team that could be quite vulnerable with their backup goaltender in goal and having played just 24 hours earlier. Through seven games this season, Gourde has yet to find the back of the net with zero goals but three assists in that time. What we do know about him is that we are not going to get a ton of shots on goal as he averaged only 1.6 shots per game over the last two seasons, but he’s also maintained a high shooting percentage in that time with a mark of 17.4% for his career. It won’t be long before Gourde finds twine and tonight seems like an appropriate matchup for that to take place.
W – David Pastrnak (BOS) – $8,600 vs. TOR
There isn’t anyone hotter in the NHL right now than Pastrnak who has scored six goals and an assist over his last two games as the Bruins get set to take on the rival Maple Leafs tonight in Toronto. While Pastrnak is clearly an elite player that has terrorized many teams in the past, he saves his best work for these Maple Leafs. In 15 regular season matchups with Toronto, Pastrnak has tallied 11 goals and 19 points to go along with 59 shots on goal, or 3.9 shots per game. He notched another two goals and six points in seven playoff games against them last season after tallying a whopping five goals and 13 points in seven postseason games against them in the 2017-18 season. Add it up and Pastrnak has tortured the Maple Leafs to the tune of 18 goals and 38 points across 29 games against them. He scored 38 goals and notched 81 points in just 66 games last season and has eight goals and 13 points in just seven games this time around. He’s shooting at an unsustainable 32% at the moment, but with how hot he is right now and the way he’s played against the Maple Leafs, I don’t mind paying the high price in this matchup tonight.
D – Mikhail Sergachev (TB) – $4,300 vs. COL
Completing our three-man Lightning stack is Sergachev who is having a real nice season so far in what could possible be a breakout year for the young defenseman. We knew this kid was special when he tallied 40 points in 79 games as a rookie despite logging just 15:22 of ice time per game as a 19-year-old with that average ice time representing a minuscule number for a defenseman. He didn’t enjoy quite as strong of a sophomore season with 32 points last year despite increasing his average ice time to 17:55, however he’s managed to notch six assists in seven games this season to go along with nine shots on goal and 11 blocked shots as well. He doesn’t take a ton of shots, but considering the talent level, we knew that his first goal of the season isn’t too far away. He’s a real good power play defenseman where he will skate on the second unit alongside Gourde and Johnson with two of his six helpers coming on the man advantage. Tonight will mark Tampa’s return home from a six-game road trip and just their second home game of the season after opening the season with five goals against the Panthers at Amalie Arena. They are an unreal home offense and I will look to squeeze a ton of value out of this trio tonight.
D – Torey Krug (BOS) – $5,800 vs. TOR
Completing our Bruins mini-stack is Krug who anchors what is a devastating Bruins power play and one that ranks second in the NHL with a massive 38.1% clip at the moment. The Maple Leafs are right in the middle of the league with a 15th-ranked penalty kill at 80.8%, however we have seen this Bruins man advantage brutalize the Maple Leafs in each of the last two postseasons, so we know there is big-time upside here with Krug who is an integral piece of that group. Case and point is all five of Krug’s assists this season coming on the man advantage while he’s added an even-strength goal for six points in seven games to go along with 12 shots on goal. In a healthy season, Krug is a good bet to eclipse the 200-shot barrie as he’s done so in each of the last two healthy seasons and has as many as 244 in a single season. He recorded 53 points in just 64 games last season and is off to a similar start this time around in his free agent walk year. Perhaps one of the more underrated offensive defensemen in the NHL, there’s a real strong chance Krug and Pastrnak produce some offense against a Maple Leafs team that can be prone to the blowup at times.
G – Antti Raanta (ARI) – $7,500 vs. OTT
I’m really not concerned about ownership with this pick as I’m sure Raanta is set to see a lot of it at a discounted price against these Ottawa Senators. The Senators enter this one ranked 28th with just 2.33 goals per game on the season while the Coyotes rank second with just 1.83 goals against per game. Darcy Kuemper has taken over the strong side of the timeshare in goal between himself and Raanta with some fine work while Raanta has been on the shelf for much of the last two seasons, including almost all of last season, as tonight marks just the second start of the season for Raanta. He took on a very good Colorado offense on the road in his lone start – otherwise known as one of the toughest matchups possible – and did well to yield just three goals in a 3-2 loss, with the winner coming in three-on-three overtime. Allowing just two regulation goals to the Avs on the road is certainly a strong outing, although his .906 Sv% from that outing may not show it. Nonetheless, the Coyotes are favored to win this one at huge -220 odds, so the win upside is there in spades tonight. I’ll take the win upside and the shutout upside in the most favorable goaltending matchup on this slate tonight.