Man two-game slates are tough. The lineup scored four goals, got a goalie win and even got a goal from a player in Josh Anderson at 2% ownership and still did not squeeze into the money. Alex Steen was a big performer yesterday and it bit us to not have him in our St. Louis exposure. I don’t want to call it a bad night as the picks produced, but we will aim for improvement on tonight’s busy 11-game slate.
C – Sidney Crosby (PIT) – $9,000 vs. WPG
Sidney Crosby and the Penguins will take on the Winnipeg Jets tonight at PPG Paints arena in Pittsburgh and with the total set at 6.5 for this game, expect plenty of scoring. While the Jets are more than capable, I’m going with the home side to do plenty of damage tonight beginning with Crosby. Crosby is having another Crosby-type season with five goals, ten points and 35 shots through ten contests this season. The Penguins’ power play has been absolutely lethal this season at an even 30% clip, and they were easily the league’s highest scoring home team last season. No brainer here.
C – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $9,000 vs. DAL
Sneaky to get the two highest priced skaters into the same lineup? Maybe, may not. The fact that the Oilers rank dead last in the NHL with 1.88 goals per game this season could very well have some folks off of McDavid and co. tonight. I will stick with the Oilers and hope tonight is the offensive outburst game that this team is due for. It’s interesting to note that at five on five, the Oilers sport the league’s top shot attempt differential by a mile at +112. They rank second in the league with 37.1 shots on goal per game and it’s simply impossible for this offense to stay quiet much longer. I am expecting big things out of McDavid tonight.
W – Patrik Hornqvist (PIT) – $5,600 vs. WPG
Hornqvist doesn’t skate in the top six anymore at even strength, but he is part of that lethal Penguins’ top power play unit and comes at a very reasonable price tag tonight. He is a shot on goal machine with 19 through seven games this season after posting at least 220 shots in all of his seven non-injury-filled NHL campaigns. With the Jets killing penalties at just 72% (30th) so far this season, Hornqvist brings plenty of value to the table on that first unit man advantage.
W – Carl Hagelin (PIT) – $3,500 vs. WPG
Hagelin will provide some lower owned exposure to a quality Penguins’ offense tonight. While he doesn’t skate on either of the team’s power play units, Hagelin sees plenty of ice time on the team’s third line and penalty kill at 16:14 per game. He is also shooting the puck a lot with 28 shots in ten games but he sports a tiny 3.6% shooting percentage entering play tonight, almost a full 5% under his career 8.5% mark. Hagelin teams up with Hornqvist on that aforementioned third line so I like the cheap mini-stack we have there.
W – Milan Lucic (EDM) – $4,800 vs. DAL
This Lucic play is a lot like the Hornqvist play in the sense that he does not skate with Connor McDavid at even strength but gets plenty of ice time and skates with the superstar on the Oilers’ top power play unit. He is also like Hornqvist in the sense that he shoots the puck a lot with ten shots over his last four games. Given his perch with McDavid on the top power play group and his affordable price, Lucic could be an extremely valuable play should the Oilers bust out tonight.
W – Mark Letestu (EDM) – $3,900 vs. DAL
Letestu is a swiss army knife for head coach Todd Mclellan. He plays on the top power play unit, kills penalties, takes faceoffs and appears set to skate on the team’s second line with Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Letestu has fired 19 shots on goal in eight games and, as mentioned, is a big part of the Oilers’ top power play grouping after scoring 11 of his 16 goals on the power play last season. The Stars’ penalty kill has been good, but the Oilers have also scored 12 goals over their last two games against Dallas so let’s look for that breakout tonight.
D – Kris Letang (PIT) – $6,800 vs. WPG
Letang is healthy again and is producing in all categories while logging a ton of minutes on the
Penguins’ blueline. Through ten games, Letang has tallied six points, 35 shots and 16 blocks while averaging 26:05 of ice time which is the 7th highest mark in the NHL. Letang also sees 4:10 of power play ice per game as well as he is the lone defenseman on that aforementioned lethal Pens’ power play. Look for Letang and company to have a big night against a weak Jets’ defense and penalty kill.
D – Kris Russell (EDM) – $3,500 vs. DAL
Russell doesn’t provide a whole lot of offensive stats, but he brings with him a solid floor thanks to his shot-blocking ability. Russell led the NHL with 213 blocked shots last season despite missing 14 games and has blocked 18 through 8 games this season. The Stars have plenty of players who shoot the puck a lot as they rank 7th with 34.8 shots per game and rank 6th in terms of shot attempts per game at five on five. As a bonus, it looks like Russell will be the lone defenseman on the Oilers’ second power play grouping so perhaps he can add to his three points in eight games tonight.
G – Carey Price (MON) – $8,800 vs. LA
At first glance it looks silly to take a goaltender from a team giving up lots of goals against a team in the Kings who have scored 3.44 per game to rank 5th in that category. However, with Jeff Carter out the Kings are going to struggle scoring moving forward. The Kings have scored just four goals over their last two games without Carter as they look to get some secondary scoring behind Anze Kopitar’s line. Price is coming off of his best performance of the year by turning away 26 of 27 Panthers’ shots in a 5-1 victory over Florida on Tuesday night. Look for price to build off that start after several rough outings to begin the season.