Man oh man, we just can’t catch a break with our NHL picks. The Maple Leafs, as expected, stayed hot with six goals in their win over the Blue Jackets last night. However, Auston Matthews and William Nylander didn’t record a single point. Instead, it was Nazem Kadri and his line that did the damage which gave Patrick Marleau a big night too. Frederik Andersen made 54 saves, but other than Marleau and Anderson our lineup was no good. Let’s turn that around on tonight’s 11-game slate!
C – John Tavares (NYI) – $8,500 vs. NYR
The Islanders have played some very high-scoring games on home ice this season and I am expecting more of the same tonight against the rival Rangers. New York has the league’s sixth-best home offense while the Rangers sport the NHL’s 25th-ranked road defense. Let’s roll with Tavares and his high floor tonight as he has potted 29 goals and 63 points this season which rank fourth and 10th in league rankings. He also has 183 shots on goal and should be on the scoresheet all night long tonight.
C – Steven Stamkos (TB) – $8,600 vs. DET
Another player with a high floor is Stamkos as he and the Lightning host the Red Wings tonight. Like Tavares, Stamkos is also on the NHL’s leaderboard as his 65 points are in a sixth-place tie in league scoring. He has also taken 155 shots on goal while his 27 points on the power play are tied for sixth as well. The Lighting are the league’s best offensive club and they are hosting the league’s 21st-ranked defense tonight so let’s get some Lightning exposure as well.
W – Anders Lee (NYI) – $6,700 vs. NYR
You can roll with Lee or Josh Bailey in this spot, but I like Lee’s upside more thanks to his 29 goals and 144 shots for the season. Nine of those 29 tucks have come on the power play as the Islanders sport the league’s eight-ranked power play at 21.6% for the season. With Tavares and Lee in this lineup, we have a combined 58 goals between them and over 300 shots on goal as well. That’s a nice recipe against a Rangers team that brings a 25th-ranked road defense with them tonight.
W – Yanni Gourde (TB) – $5,600 vs. DET
Not many players in the NHL are hotter than Gourde is right now. The 26-year-old rookie us up to 22 goals on the season thanks to a tear where he has scored eight goals over his last 11 games. He has five goals and three assists over his last six games as well. Gourde is set to flank Stamkos at 5v5 tonight while he remains on the second power play unit. There should be every opportunity for him to stay hot in a home matchup with the lowly Red Wings tonight.
W – Marian Gaborik (OTT) – $3,600 vs. BUF
We have a value, high-upside mini-stack going tonight for the Senators as they host the Sabres. While Gaborik has just seven goals and 14 points on the season, it appears he is going to play on the Sens’ top line tonight with their hottest players in Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman in his first game in an Ottawa uniform. Gaborik should also see time on the second power play unit as Ottawa takes on a Sabres team that ranks 24th in road defense and 25th in road penalty killing.
W – Sam Reinhart (BUF) – $5,000 vs. OTT
A one-off play tonight, Reinhart is in a real nice spot to stay hot against the Senators. Ottawa sports the NHL’s 30th-ranked road defense entering tonight’s contest while the Sabres have been hot up front, scoring at least four goals in four straight games. Reinhart is a big reason for that production as he has three goals and eight points over his last five games. He’s really stepped it up for the Sabres and should be in for some more offense against a Sens’ team that has allowed 12 goals over their last two games.
D – Nick Leddy (NYI) – $5,600 vs. NYR
Leddy is the obvious choice to form a three-man stack on the Islanders’ back end tonight. He brings 34 points, 118 shots and 86 blocks with him into tonight’s contest while he’s tallied five points over his last six games. Of course, he is the lone defenseman on the top power play unit where he has scored four of his nine goals for the season. Let’s roll with this high-upside three-man Islanders stack on tonight’s large slate.
D – Cody Ceci (OTT) – $4,000 vs. BUF
With the Dion Phaneuf trade to the Kings, Ceci should take on a bigger role on the Senators’ blueline. Ceci has just five goals and 13 points on the season, but also 91 shots and 119 blocked shots as well. I don’t mind that floor at all for a player in this price range going up against one of the league’s worst defensive teams. Furthermore, he is set to be the lone defenseman on the Sens’ second power play unit, a unit that also contains his mini-stack partner Marian Gaborik.
G – Antti Raanta (ARI) – $7,400 vs. MON
Raanta may be one of the cheaper goalies on the slate, but he brings plenty of value upside into this matchup tonight. The visiting Canadiens are one of the worst offenses in the NHL and the worst road offense with just 2.15 goals per game away from home. That includes a 2-0 shutout loss just last night in Colorado. Raanta has been stellar lately, yielding just one goal over his last 50 shots against for a .980 Sv% over his last two appearances. He could very well see similar results against a brutal Habs’ offense tonight.