Last night’s FanDuel NHL picks just didn’t work out. Despite the Penguins scoring seven goals, our four-man stack didn’t produce much. Evgeni Malkin scored a goal and Patric Hornqvist notched an assist, but that was about it. Our low-owned Jets stack also didn’t produce. We will put this one behind us and move onto tonight’s five-game slate!
C – Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) – $6,700 vs. CLS
The Washington Capitals open up their series with the Blue Jackets tonight at Capital One Arena in D.C. While their home defense is awesome, the Blue Jackets struggle defensively on the road, especially on the penalty kill. Their goals against per game jumps from 2.37 at home to 3.15 on the road while they owned the league’s 30th-ranked road penalty kill at just over 70%. Enter Backstrom who should be able to take full advantage of that penalty kill tonight. He notched two goals and four assists over his last three games of the year and had two goals and 12 assists over his last eight games.
C – Ryan Johansen (NSH) – $6,200 vs. COL
The heavily favored Predators get their first round series against the Colorado Avalanche underway tonight in Smashville. It’s going to be a wild atmosphere and you have to think some goals will be scored for the home side tonight against the league’s 26th-ranked road defense and backup goaltender. Johansen isn’t a big time shooter but still notched 15 goals while adding 39 assists on the season. He finished the regular season hot, scoring three goals and adding five assists over his last nine games. He is the top center at 5v5 and on a power play unit that produced at a 25.3% clip at home, good for sixth league-wide.
W – T.J. Oshie (WAS) – $5,800 vs. CLS
Oshie had a fairly disappointing regular season with just 47 points, however he came on strong at the end. Over his last 11 games, Oshie scored six goals and added five assists. He managed 18 goals in 74 games this season, but what I really like about Oshie is his power play upside tonight. He scored nine of his 18 goals on the man advantage this season and I like his chances of making that at least 10 tonight against the league’s 30th-ranked road penalty kill.
W – Andre Burakovsky (WAS) – $3,700 vs. CLS
He won’t skate on the top power play unit, but Burakovsky skates alongside Backstrom and Oshie at 5v5 while he also sees second unit power play time as well. He recorded just 25 points on the season, but also scored three goals over his last six games. Considering his linemates, Burakovsky boasts some real nice value upside at an attractive price.
W – Filip Forsberg (NSH) – $7,700 vs. COL
I really think Forsberg sports one of the top ceilings on a slate that is loaded with superstars. Forsberg finished his regular season by notching a hat trick, giving him 26 goals on the season despite playing in only 63 games. He also added 38 assists while taking 179 shots on goal. Not bad stats for missing 19 games. He scored 13 of his 26 goals on the power play and should be able to take full advantage of an Avs team that struggled defensively on the road all season long.
W – Kyle Palmieri (NJ) – $5,700 vs. TB
A lot of ownership is going to the Lightning in this one, but I am of the opinion that this is a real nice matchup for Jersey, hopefully at lower ownership. The Lightning finished the regular season as the league’s 23rd-ranked home defense and the league’s 28th-ranked road penalty kill. Enter Palmieri who scored 24 goals in just 62 games on 181 shots. He scored 11 of those goals on the power play where he could really do some damage alongside Taylor Hall tonight.
D – P.K. Subban (NSH) – $5,500 vs. COL
I really think Subban is the top defenseman on this slate. He gives you a little bit of everything as he scored 16 goals, added 43 assists, took 207 shots on goal and blocked 90 across all 82 games. He is the quarterback of the Preds’ top power play unit, making this a three-man 5v5 and PP1 stack for Nashville. He scored five of his 16 goals on the power play this season, so let’s lock this guy in a t a very reasonable cost.
D – Will Butcher (NJ) – $4,000 vs. TB
I really like the upside of this mini-stack tonight in Tampa Bay. Butcher enjoyed a fantastic rookie season that saw him post 39 assists, a Devils rookie record for a defenseman. He is an excellent power play defenseman as he scored three of his five goals on the man advantage while notching 20 of his 39 assists there as well. He isn’t a big shooter, but we are looking for him to dish the puck to Palmieri and capitalize on a weak Lightning penalty kill tonight.
G – Pekka Rinne (NSH) – $9,200 vs. COL
If you can afford him, lock this guy in. If you can’t, make room and lock this guy in. The Predators finished the regular season as the league’s second-ranked defense, thanks in large part to Rinne and his 2.31 GAA and .927 Sv% on the season. Interestingly, his numbers are actually better on the road where he was lights out this season, but he faces a weak Avs’ road offense tonight and should get more than enough goal support to get the win in Game 1.
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