Sometimes you can be right and still be wrong. With last night’s lineup I clearly expected the Blues and Kings to score plenty of goals, and they each scored five. However, both teams also had players record a hat trick, neither of whom were in our lineup. Jonathan Quick was the right call in goal with the 5-1 victory, William Nylander picked up a goal and an assist, but it didn’t help that Jeff Carter was injured in the first period which is difficult to recover from. Had the right idea, just used the wrong players. Let’s change that story on tonight’s nine-game slate.
*Note: This lineup is for GPPs only.
C – John Tavares (NYI) – $8,100 vs. NYR
It has been a bit of an offensive struggle for the Islanders so far this season, especially on the power play. The Islanders have tallied just 2.50 goals per game and have yet to score with the man advantage, but that could all change tonight against the Rangers. New York has struggled with goal prevention so far this season as they have yielded 3.71 goals per game (23rd) and have killed penalties at just a 74.1% clip (30th). Henrik Lundqvist is shaky at best, so let’s target the Rangers tonight. Tavares has recorded points in just one game this season, but the All-Star pivot had 66 points on 260 shots on goal last season and will appear on the scoresheet imminently.
C – Mika Zibanejad (NYR) – $6,900 vs. NYI
It’s pretty safe to say that Zibanejad is digging life as the Rangers’ number one center. So far this season the Swede has tallied five goals, including four on the power play, to go along with 31 shots on goal across seven games. The Rangers’ power play has been their brightest spot this season, clicking at a 24.1% clip on the season. While the Islanders are in the middle of the pack when it comes to the penalty kill and goals against on the season, if this game becomes a special teams game it could be a very high scoring game stack here tonight.
W – Jordan Eberle (NYI) – $6,200 vs. NYR
The next couple players are due for some better puck luck beginning here with Eberle. Riding shotgun next to Tavares on the team’s top line and top power play unit, Eberle has taken 19 shots on goal in five games and has yet to find twine. He is routinely seeing upwards of 18-19 minutes of ice next to Tavares, so I don’t expect the slump to last much longer. Besides, the Islanders’ power play and Eberle’s shooting percentage both won’t be sitting at 0.0% much longer, either.
W – Rick Nash (NYR) – $6,000 vs. NYI
The second player due for some better puck luck is Zibanejad’s left winger Rick Nash. Nash was recently swapped with Chris Kreider onto the team’s top line, a spot that should see him earn some more points moving forward. The veteran has taken 29 shots in seven games and has just a single goal to show for it. Nash isn’t the same point producer he was in the past, but he is certainly still a threat and with top line minutes and top power play minutes he should be in for some production moving forward.
W – Patrick Maroon (EDM) – $5,200 vs. CHI
There is a theme for this lineup and it clearly hinges on the percentages or “puck luck” evening out, and that is the case with the Oilers, too. Edmonton ranks 2nd in the league with 41.2 shots on goal per game, but they have only scored 2.20 goals per game which evens out to a team 5.3% shooting percentage. After putting 51 pucks on net in a losing cause on Tuesday, the Oilers will travel to Chicago to take on a Blackhawks’ team that gave up five goals in last night’s loss and will start backup Anton Forsberg in goal tonight. I will get some sneaky Connor McDavid exposure here beginning with Maroon who has three assists and 11 shots through five games. He gets first line minutes with McDavid as well as second unit power play minutes, so if McDavid performs tonight there is a good chance Maroon is in on the fun too.
W – Kailer Yamamoto (EDM) – $4,200 vs. CHI
With Leon Draisaitl sidelined with a concussion, it’s been Yamamoto that has taken his spot on the right wing of McDavid. Yamamoto skated over 22 minutes in that contest and has points in back-to-back games and has taken 12 shots across his last three contests. The shots should continue against a thin Blackhawks’ defense that has given up 36 shots per game (29th) this season. Like Maroon, Yamamoto gets second unit power play minutes and on top of the McDavid exposure we get a nice little mini-stack with these two on the Oilers’ second power play as well.
D – Kevin Shattenkirk (NYR) – $6,200 vs. NYI
Shattenkirk has enjoyed his new digs in New York as he has tallied six points in seven games while taking 17 shots on goal in that span as well. He is averaging just short of five minutes per game with the man advantage is unquestionably the quarterback of the Rangers’ productive top unit. Should this unit click again tonight, this three-man Rangers’ stacks should be a high scoring one indeed.
D – Ryan Pulock (NYI) – $3,500 vs. NYR
Pulock will be a real nice GPP look tonight as he makes his season debut against the Rangers. Known for his offensive abilities and booming shot, Pulock will play on the Islanders’ top power play unit which makes for a nice three-man stack with Tavares and Eberle above. Pulock scored 15 goals and 46 points across 55 AHL games as a 22-year-old last season and the Islanders are inserting him into the lineup almost solely to give their power play a shot in the arm. He may not log a ton of minutes, but he is going to shoot the puck and could be a very sneaky look on tonight’s big slate.
G – Mike Smith (CGY) – $8,200 vs. CAR
I’m not sure why, but the Flames continue to give up plenty of shots on goal despite sporting a very formidable top four defensive group. Nonetheless, the extra work hasn’t faced Smith as he enters play tonight sporting a nice .929 save percentage while winning four of six starts on the season. The Hurricanes just put up five goals on the Oilers, but that was against a backup goaltender and a defense that is not as good as the one Calgary boasts. Look for Smith to have a real steady game on home ice against a team that is so-so at best offensively.