It was another solid night with our FanDuel NHL Picks. Our St. Louis Blues exposure hit as Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo both got on the board while Rick Nash bagged a pair of goals for the Rangers. Ryan Spooner stayed hot with a goal and an assist and Pekka Rinne nabbed us a win as well. Let’s build on what has been a solid week on tonight’s small three-game slate!
C – Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) – $7,000 vs. MON
The Capitals trio that we are going to use tonight is going to be chalk city, but for cash or optimal lineups they are a must. Backstrom and the Caps get the Montreal Canadiens tonight on home ice, a team that is clearly struggling this season, and also a team that will start their backup goaltender in the form of Antti Niemi. Niemi has been obliterated for a 4.85 GAA and an .865 Sv% for the season. Look for Backstrom to add to his 35 points tonight in what is a very favorable matchup.
C – Vincent Trocheck (FLA) – $6,800 vs. VGK
The Panthers are a high scoring team on home ice and despite their overall excellent play the Golden Knights aren’t a great defensive team on the road, so let’s grab some Panthers’ exposure. Trocheck brings a solid floor with him into play thanks to his 41 points in 43 games to go along with a whopping 153 shots on goal. He has six power play goals on the season and is a member of the top power play unit while centering the Panthers’ second line.
W – Alex Ovechkin (WAS) – $8,800 vs. MON
Here is the must-have of the night. Alex Ovechkin paces the NHL with 28 goals for the season while he has fallen slightly behind the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko for second place with 195 shots on the season. Ovi and Backstrom team up on the Capitals’ first line while they obviously are a complete force on the power play as well. Look for Ovi to get plenty of looks tonight against the NHL’s 24th-ranked defense.
W – Radim Vrbata (FLA) – $3,600 vs. VGK
Vrbata appears to be in the twilight of his career as this season has mostly been a struggle for the veteran. However, he has moved up to the second line and should skate with Trocheck tonight at even strength while seeing some second unit power play ice time as well. Playing with Trocheck is a good way to get his production going again and perhaps a meeting with a weak road defense that is playing on back-to-back nights could stir up some production as well.
W – Tyler Toffoli (LA) – $5,800 vs. ANH
It’s likely due to him playing on the west coast, but Toffoli seems to be one of the most underrated goal scorers in the NHL. He has 18 goals this season entering play tonight and has taken 142 shots on goal as well. He skates on the second line at 5v5, but he also gets first unit power play time as well. The Kings might go underowned tonight on the road so perhaps we can get a real good goal scorer at lower ownership this evening.
W – Trevor Lewis (LA) – $3,500 vs. ANH
Here we could get some real nice value with Lewis. He appears to be skating on the second line as a center, which happens to be the same line as the aforementioned Toffoli. Lewis is having a decent season for a player that plays the majority of the time in a bottom-six role, with 11 goals and a healthy 95 shots on goal across 45 games. The Lewis/Toffoli duo can likely be had at low ownership tonight, making them a solid GPP look.
D – John Carlson (WAS) – $5,900 vs. MON
Carlson is very likely to be the highest owned blueliner on tonight’s slate, but we have enough GPP action in here to eat this chalk. He is enjoying a career year as his 35 points rank second in the league among defenseman while his 26:07 of average ice time per game checks in at fifth league-wide. He anchors the top power play unit to boot so let’s feel real good about this three-man Caps stack tonight.
D – Aaron Ekblad (FLA) – $5,400 vs. VGK
As a three-man stack, the Trocheck/Vrbata/Ekblad trio will be low owned tonight, even on a short slate. Ekblad isn’t having a great offensive season with just 13 points, but he does shoot the puck plenty with 111 shots in 43 games. He forms a second unit power play mini-stack with Vrbata against a middle-of-the-pack penalty kill tonight. Hopefully Ekblad can team up with Vrbata on that power play for some lower owned production tonight.
G – Philipp Grubauer (WAS) – $7,900 vs. MON
This was a fairly easy call to go with the cheap Grubauer against a very weak Canadiens’ offense. Montreal enters play tonight with the NHL’s 29th-ranked offense while Washington is the third best defensive team at home with just 2.25 goals against per game at Capital One Arena. Grubauer has been off the charts at home this season with a 1.52 GAA and a .946 Sv% across four starts. He should also get plenty of goal support in order to notch a win this evening.