Pictured: Matthew Tkatchuk
Source: Derek Leung / Getty Image North America

Preview: Sharks at Flames

Tensions may come to a boil when the San Jose Sharks visit the Calgary Flames on Thursday in a battle of the Pacific Division’s top two teams. While San Jose has won three in a row and 10 of 13 and Calgary is on a torrid 9-1-1 run, their physical New Year’s Eve contest was ratcheted up a notch after Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk’s hit on defenseman Radim Simek caught the ire of several Sharks players.

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“We’ll see,” San Jose’s Evander Kane told reporters when asked if the late actions in Calgary’s 8-5 win will play into Thursday’s tilt. “It’s something hopefully everyone in this room remembers because it doesn’t matter who you are – whether you are a skilled guy, a big guy, a tough guy, a small guy, it’s on each and every person in this room to stick up for one another.” Captain Joe Pavelski scored his team-leading 29th goal 2:49 into overtime of Tuesday’s 3-2 victory versus Winnipeg to give him eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last four outings. While San Jose appears charged for the rematch, Calgary star Johnny Gaudreau said he is focused on his team’s play as it heads toward a pivotal stretch in the schedule. “This is the most important part of the season, these last 30 games,” said the 25-year-old Gaudreau, who leads the team in goals (29), assists (45) and points (74). “You’re still trying to string together wins, other teams are battling, trying to make wild-card spots. It gets harder down the stretch. This when you need your best players to show up, night in and night out.”

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN-Plus, NBCS California (San Jose), Sportsnet 1 (Calgary)

ABOUT THE SHARKS (31-16-7): Defenseman Brent Burns set up Pavelski’s short-handed goal in overtime on Tuesday to boost his club-high totals in assists (48) and points (58). Like Burns, Logan Couture is also riding a four-game point streak after his power-play versus the Jets gave him three tallies and three assists in that stretch. Joonas Donskoi hasn’t been as fortunate of late as he has been held off the scoresheet in four consecutive contests heading into the tilt with Calgary, against which he has three goals and an assist this season.

ABOUT THE FLAMES (34-14-5): Tkachuk wasn’t interested in providing bulletin-board material when he met with reporters on Wednesday to discuss the rematch with the Sharks. “I don’t think I’m going to be the guy who’s going to give you what you want on that quote,” the 21-year-old said. “… We have guys that can play that style, too. (Kane) is a good player. They’re a really good team. It’s going to be a great game.” Sean Monahan notched five assists for a career high in points for a game in the last meeting with the Sharks, while Gaudreau and Tkachuk each scored two goals and set up two others.

OVERTIME

1. Calgary and San Jose combined for 64 penalty minutes in the final 41 seconds in their New Year’s Eve game.

2. The Sharks have surrendered the second-most goals in the league in the first five minutes of a period (48).

3. Calgary F Mikael Backlund, who had two goals in the last meeting with San Jose, has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last four games overall.

 

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Flames at Ducks

Sean Monahan has been unstoppable of late, registering two points in each of the last four contests of his six-game point streak. The 24-year-old center looks to extend the run and reach a milestone Wednesday as the Calgary Flames seek their fifth straight win when they kick off a three-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks.

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Monahan has collected four goals and six assists during his point streak, putting him one away from 300 for his career. The sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft, he has recorded all four tallies and four assists during the Flames’ winning streak to earn the NHL’s First Star of the Week honors. Anaheim’s struggles continued Tuesday as it dropped a 4-1 decision in Los Angeles two days after ending its seven-game slide. Ryan Kesler ended his eight-game goal-scoring drought in the loss by the Ducks, who are in the midst of a stretch during which they play 11 of 13 at home.

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Calgary), Prime Ticket (Anaheim)

ABOUT THE FLAMES (9-5-1): Michael Frolik is heating up as he has scored three of his seven goals over his last four games. The 30-year-old Czech, who recorded only 10 tallies in 70 contests last season, has yet to notch an assist in 2018-19 – keeping him at 199 for his career. Captain Mark Giordano was kept off the scoresheet in Saturday’s 5-3 victory over Chicago after collecting a goal and seven assists during a four-game point streak.

ABOUT THE DUCKS (6-7-3): Captain Ryan Getzlaf was back in the lineup Tuesday after missing one game with an upper-body injury. The 33-year-old center, who is second on the team with 10 points, was a minus-2 and had his four-game point streak halted but registered four shots, four hits and three blocked shots while going 12-8 on faceoffs. Randy Carlyle’s next victory will be his 461st as an NHL coach, breaking a tie with Roger Neilson for 30th place on the all-time list.

OVERTIME

1. The Flames have scored a league-leading 28 goals in the third period this season.

2. Anaheim C Chase De Leo was a healthy scratch Tuesday after being recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League earlier in the day.

3. Calgary rookie C Dillon Dube, who was injured in Saturday’s win over Chicago, has not practiced and remains in concussion protocol.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Fantasy Hockey Targets

Early Games

With four early games on the schedule this afternoon, Fanpicks is here to supply you with the fantasy hockey targets you’ll need to win your DFS contest.

As always, we supply you with at least a couple of DFS value picks (usually more) and fill out the roster with big-ticket players.  There’s nearly always cash leftover in order to give you the flexibility to make it your own. (Lineup Below)

  • Starting the day at 1 pm (est) off is Minnesota versus Buffalo. The Wild are the heavy favorite, but they have an array of scorers so it’s hard to say who’s going to have their day. The safer way to go when dealing with teams like that is to ride the hot-hand of course. Those hands belong to Jason Pominville today. The former Sabre has 12 points in his last 9 game, and a return to your former stomping grounds is always inspiring. Jack Eichel was tempting, as he played over 23 minutes last game but we were dedicated to our other options up the middle. That’s not to say don’t play the kid, he is a very nice option today.

Rather, Rasmus Ristolainen ($3700 – Value Pick) will represent the Sabres for my squad. He is their number one defenseman who played nearly 25 minutes a night, and has 36 points. Sure he can be a defensive liability, but other players with similar qualities (I’m looking at you Tyson Barrie), cost A LOT more.

  • Next up at 3 pm, the Flames are in Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.

Crosby has 5 points in his last 3 games and will be relied on to lead the charge against Calgary. When he’s at the top of his game, there is none better.

I selected Carl Hagelin as an insurance policy to Crosby. He’s that extra lining to protect your big investment. Simply, if it’s Evgeni Malkin‘s line that goes off, you can still get in on those precious Penguin points.

Newly acquired Justin Schultz should make his debut in black and yellow this afternoon. At $3000 he could be a huge value pick, especially if he gets any powerplay time with the big guns. But that’s by no means a gaurantee, so I went with the slightly more costly option in Derrick Pouliot ($3300 – Value Pick). The 22-year-old quietly has 6 assists in 17 games since being recalled from the AHL. and usually plays around 15 minutes a game. He is a very talented puck mover and does get some time on the man-advantage, so if he can get at least one assist I will be satisfied.

Marc-Andre Fleury will be between the pipes and has only allowed 2 goals in his last 3 starts. The Pens need to win this game if they want to carry momentum into the playoffs, so I’m going with arguably (Dubnyk) the safest bet in the pool.

  • Also at 3 pm, the Avalanche play host to the Predators. Filip Forsberg is the man to own in these days, but as I went with cheaper options at LW I tagged his setup man Mike Ribeiro at center instead. All of those cross-ice one timers Forsberg scores on the PP come off the stick of Ribeiro, so if he can piggyback the mighty Swede it’ll be a good day.

Since I wasn’t taking the number one sniper in this game, Jarome Iginla instantly became a target. He’s already scored once this season against Nashville, and playing in Colorado gives the veteran a chance at the matchups he needs to thrive.

  • Finally, at 4 pm the LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks do battle for Pacific division supremacy. Tied at 80 points a piece, the Kings have 2 more wins than their SoCal bredren, but two points today and none of that matters.

Ryan Getzlaf sat out Anaheim‘s last contest, but should be back today. In any case, David Perron is a solid value pick. He’s been a mainstay in my lineup for the past month and always performs. He isn’t just riding the coat-tails of the bigger named Ducks either, he is setting them up for success too. Jamie McGinn (LW) is also a nice option today, he’s scored in both games for Anaheim since being acquired at the deadline.

  • Lineup

nhlearlyfanpicks

Posted in NHL

Fantasy Hockey: 30 NHL teams in 30 Minutes

With the 2015-2016 National Hockey League (NHL) season set to get underway on Wednesday, October 7th 2015.  It is high time we offer our daily fantasy sports (DFS) managers a brief look into what we are anticipating to see on the ice this year.

Will the New York Rangers repeat as President’s Trophy winners?  Will the Edmonton Oilers end their post season drought?  Will the Detroit Red Wings see their incredible 24 straight year playoff participation end?  Will the Calgary Flames prove to be more than last season’s flash in the pan?

These are but a few of the riveting story-lines and sub-plots that fantasy hockey managers will have to weave through during this year’s cash draft contests.  There are more storylines than there are teams this year, and as such the laymen will have a wondrous time watching it all play out.  But the fantasy hockey manager has to look at it another way, the fantasy hockey manager has to be proactive, not knowing the fantasy sports landscape is the difference between winning, placing or being out of the money.

With that being said, here are 30 thoughts for the 30 hockey clubs in NHL:

Western Conference

Pacific Division:

Anaheim Ducks:    

The Ducks were not happy with their 2014-2015 end.  Losing to the eventual Stanley Cup winners does not make the pill easier to swallow, not when you are often picked by experts to go all the way.  That is the case again for the Ducks, pundits have chosen them as early cup favorites, what does that mean for fantasy hockey cash draft contest managers?  Simply put, selecting an Anaheim goaltender will be a value pick for the course of the season, they will win more than they lose.  If you are looking for skaters to fill up the score sheet, Corey Perry is a surefire goal scorer, for the right price he should be looked at hard.  Sleeper forward on the Ducks could be Jiri Sekac.  He coul offer big points for a low cost.

Vancouver Canucks:     

The Vancouver Canucks were surprise participants in last season’s spring dance.  Unfortunately we don’t see them repeating the exploit in 2015-2016, not with the aging cast they currently boast.  Ryan Miller, Henrik and Daniel Sedin along with Chris Higgins and Radim Vrbata have been great warriors on the ice for many years, but the sun is setting on their careers and we do not believe that they will have enough gas in the tank to make the post season.  That being said, there are some value picks here should a fantasy hockey manager look at the roster.  Miller will face and stop a lot of shots, Jannick Hansen will likely have a breakout season and Radim Vrbata, we believe, will reward managers well for the price.

Calgary Flames:  

If the Canucks are trending downward, the Flames are trending upward.  Young, hungry and well coached, the Flames will look to show that they are more than just last year’s flash in the pan.  While we do expect to see the Flames make the playoffs, we are weary to stock out fantasy hockey lineups with players who proudly wear the flame.  Can Hudler repeat last season’s point performance?

Los Angeles Kings: 

The Kings were onetime NHL favorites, due in large part to their size and style of play, but that did not stop them from missing the post season last year.  Nor does it stop us from predicting another long and tumultuous season for the LA club.  While we won’t’ pronounce ourselves on their fate, we will say that we expect a BIG year from Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli, 2 players that will reward your hockey rosters with a great deal of points.

San Jose Sharks: 

Jumbo Joe was stripped of his captaincy last season and the Sharks were, essentially rudderless and ended up out of the post season.  This year saw Jumbo Joe maintain his non captain status but little Joe (Joe Pavelski) was named captain, in fact ushering in the “future” for the embattled Sharks.  We don’t expect to see this move pay off with a playoff participation, but we will say that Joe Thornton will likely have an axe to grind, making him a great fantasy hockey pick up!  For the price, he will reward managers with fantasy points.

Edmonton Oilers:

In 2014-2015 the Oilers were… well the Oilers.  Bottom feeders yet again, luckily for the Oil, their ineptitude got them Connor McDavid, the most sure fire prospect since Sidney Crosby.  We will go out on a limb and say that YES the Oilers will indeed make the playoffs on the back f super rookie McDavid.  With that being said we will say this for all fantasy hockey managers to note, Connor McDavid will reward his inclusion into a fantasy roster with top value!  We also expect former #1 Taylor Hall to give manager a big bang for their buck.

Arizona Coyotes:  

The desert dogs have fallen from grace in recent memory, though many will argue that last season this was due in large part to being “all-in” in the McEichel sweepstakes.   As it stands, the Coyotes fell just shy of the vaunted 1-2 draft picks.  Arizona drafter D-man Noah Hanifin with 3rd overall pick.  We expect the Coyotes to endure serious growing pains this season, but we do foresee OEL (Oliver Ekman Larsson) to continue his Norris trophy play and rack up points for fantasy hockey GMs.  On the front end we will say that youngster Anthony Duclair will be a great value pick for the cost.

Central Division:

ST-Louis Blues:

Read the Central Division preview

Nashville Predators:

Read the Central Division preview

Chicago Blackhawks:

Read the Central Division preview

Minnesota Wild:

Read the Central Division preview

Winnipeg Jets:

Read the Central Division preview

Dallas Stars:

Read the Central Division preview

Colorado Avalanche:

Read the Central Division preview

Eastern Conference:

Metropolitan Division:

New York Rangers:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

Washington Capitals:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

New York Islanders:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

Columbus Blue Jackets:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

Philadelphia Flyers:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

New Jersey Devils:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

Carolina Hurricanes:

Read the Metropolitain Division preview

Atlantic Division:

Montreal Canadiens:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Detroit Red Wings:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Ottawa Senators:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Boston Bruins:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Florida Panthers:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Toronto Maple Leafs:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Buffalo Sabres:

Read the Atlantic Division preview

Posted in NHL

Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames – 4/15/15 NHL Playoff Fantasy Sports, Hockey Picks, Odds & Predictions

NHL Cash Draft Picks

The NHL Playoffs will begin on Wednesday April 15th and the late night game in the Western Conference will be Game 1 between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. The puck drops from the opener at 10PM Eastern Time from Vancouver on USA Network. We will select NHL Fantasy Picks from these two rosters for the purposes for real money daily leagues.

The Calgary Flames were in a fight with the LA Kings for the final playoff spot. The team has won five of seven games and won a huge game at home 3-1 on Thursday to clinch a playoff spot. The team was sixth in the NHL in scoring pushing across nearly three goals per game. They only average 28 ½ shots on goal per contest ranking 28th in the league. They finished in third play in the Pacific Division so they will face the second place team on the road in Game 1 in Vancouver. This is a very young team with limited playoff experience.

The Vancouver Canucks finished the year with three straight wins. Back on April 6th they earned a key 2-1 shootout win against the LA Kings by overcoming a late 1-0 deficit which forced the overtime period and wins in the shootout. The Canucks are the second best team in penalty killing at 85.7%.

Calgary Flames Centers: Sean Monahan is a second year player who scored 31 goals and dished 31 assists for the Flames. He is 20 years old and will play in his first playoff game of his career. He has a point in his past five games. Monahan will be well rested after sitting out the game against Winnipeg on Saturday.

Calgary Flames Left Wing: Jiri Hudler led the Flames in points with 76 on the year. He scored 31 goals and dished out 45 assists. Hudler is well rested as he sat on Saturday. In Calgary’s huge 3-1 home win against the Kings Hudler came up big with three points as he scored two goals and dished one assist having a hand in each of the Flames goal. 21 year old Johnny Gaudreau was part of the youth movement for the young Flames and the rookie came through with a 64 point season. He was a heavy contributor in the huge home win to the Kings with a goal and assist. He has three points in four games against Vancouver this season.

Calgary Flames Right Wing: Veteran David Jones has slumped down the stretch as he has a +- of -4 over hias pst five games. He has just one point over his past four games.

Calgary Flames Defensemen: Dennis Wideman will see heavy ice time so he will have opportunity to earn NHL fantasy points for draft managers. Wideman has been productive with two points or greater in his past three games. He had two assist in the Thursday night win to the LA Kings.

Calgary Flames Goaltender: Jonas Hiller is a seven year veteran who spent time with the Anaheim Ducks a season ago. He was 2-2 in last year’s playoff series against the LA Kings. He was in nets in the huge win at home to the LA Kings as he stopped 33 of 34 shots to a desperate team. Hiller has won three straight in pressure type hockey.

Vancouver Canucks Center: Henrik Sedin scored two points in three of his past four games. He had a key assists in the Canucks huge shootout win to the LA Kings on April 6th. Sedin has a goal and two assists over four games against Calgary this year.

Vancouver Canucks Left Wing: Daniel Sedin led the Canucks in points with 76 on the year as he scored 29 goals and dished out 76 assists. Like his brother Daniel has multiple points in three of his past four games. He scored the key goal that forced overtime against LA on April 6th. Daniel Sedin in a pressure game at Winnipeg on April 4th as a goal and two assists.

Vancouver Canucks Right Wing: Jannik Hansen has struggled in recent games with a -3 over his past five contests. Veteran Radim Vrbata had two assists in the teams overtime home win to Edmonton on Saturday.

Vancouver Canucks Defensemen: Alexander Edler has scored three points in each of his past three games and has points in four straight.

Vancouver Canucks Goaltender: Veteran goalie Ryan Miller returned from a knee injury on Saturday and allowed five goals to the Edmonton Oilers. Vancouver earned the 6-5 victor in overtime Backup Eddie Lack has seen work in 35 games as a starter and has a goal against average of 2.55. Lack was in net in the huge 2-1 shootout win at home to the LA Kings on April 6th.

NHL Playoff Mock Draft Picks for One-Day Leagues

C: Sean Monahan (Flames)
RW: Radim Vrbata (Canucks)
LW: Jiri Hudler (Flames)
D: Alexander Edler (Canucks), Denis Wideman (Flames)
G: Jonas Hiler (Flames)

Cash Draft Contest

Posted in NHL

Calgary Flames vs LA Kings- 4/9/15 NHL Fantasy Sports, Hockey Picks, Odds & Predictions

NHLCash Draft Picks

The NHL Western conference playoff race is hot and heavy and the big game tonight for NHL Fantasy Managers to choose for their rosters involves the Calgary Flames hosting the LA Kings at 9PM Eastern Time on NHL Center Ice Package.

The LA Kings are on the outside looking in with just two games remaining. The team sits two points behind Calgary for a playoff spot and trails Winnipeg by three points. With a three period loss the Kings will be eliminated from the playoffs. The Kings have gone deep in the playoffs the last three years with two Stanley Cup wins and one Western conference finals series loss. Hockey is the longest season of the major sports in North America and that three year run may have well took its toll on the players as the team has lacked energy.

The Calgary Flames have won two straight and four of their past five games entering play. The team has been good offensively averaging nearly three goals a game good for fifth best of the 30 NHL teams in the league. A win or overtime loss will clinch a playoff spot for the Flames.

LA Kings Goaltender: Jonathan Quick was a surprise backup in the team’s crucial loss to Edmonton on Tuesday. Head coach Darryl Sutter didn’t want Quick in net in a back to back playing their third game in four nights with tough road tests at Calgary and San Jose to close out the rest of the season. No doubt Quick is in net in this must win for LA. Jonathan Quick has played in 70 games this season and is 35-21 with 13 overtime losses with a goal against average of 2.26. His save percentage of 91.7%. In four games against Calgary he is 1-1 with two losses in overtime and 2.67 goals against average. Quick has played well down the stretch allowing just four goals total over his past three games.

LA Kings Center Icemen: Jeff Carter leads the Kings centers with 28 goals on the season. He has been quiet of late as he is have failed to score a goal in three straight games and four of his past five. He does have three assists in that span. Anze Kopitar has just two points over his past three games.

LA Kings Right Wing: Marian Gaborik had a big game at home to Edmonton last Thursday. Since then he has just one goal and no assists over his past three games. Dustin Williams no points and no assist in three straight games.

LA Kings Left Wing: Dwight Kings has a single point in three of his past four games. Kyle Clifford has seen more ice time since Tanner Pearson went out with an injury. He has not produced a point in three straight games and only one point in four of five. Andy Andreoff has averaged nearly nine minutes a game over his past five contests and has just one assists to show for his efforts.

LA Kings Defensemen: Drew Doughty gets minutes and will provide opportunity for hockey draft managers in One-Day Cash Leagues. In the 4-2 loss to Edmonton Doughty accounted for a goal with an assists. Bad news Doughty was on the ice for the Oilers four goals so Doughty finished with a plus minus of -2 for the game. Jake Muzzin has three points over his past five games with a plus minus of +2 averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Calgary Flames Goaltender: Jonas Hiller has been in nets for the Flames past five games. He gave up two goals to lowly Arizona on Tuesday in a closer than expected 3-2 victory. On the year Hiller is 15-19 with four overtime losses and a goal against average of 2.39. In three games against the Kings Hiller is 2-1 with a 3.15 goals against average.

Calgary Flames Center Icemen: Sean Monahan has a point in five straight games with a plus minus of +3 in that span averaging 20 minutes of ice time per game. Joe Colborne has just a goal and assist over his past five games averaging 15 minutes of ice time.

Calgary Flames Left Wing: Jiri Hudler leads Calgary with 73 points on the year. He has two goals and five assists over his past five games with a plus minus of +6 in that span.

Calgary Flames Right Wing: David Jones is one to stay away from with a goal and assist over his past five games with a plus minus of -4.

Calgary Flames Defensemen: Dennis Wideman has logged in an average of 27 minutes per game over his past five and has seven points and a plus minus of +4. Mark Giordano has our assists over his past five games with 25 minutes of ice time per game.

 

NHL Fantasy Mock Draft Manager Picks

C: Jeff Carter (Kings) Sean Monahan (Flames)

RW: Marian Gaborik (Kings)

LW: Dwight King (Kings)

D: Drew Doughty (Kings) Dennis Wideman (Flames)

G: Jonathan Quick

Cash Draft Contest

Posted in NHL