Pictured: Steven Stamkos and Evgeni Malkin
Source: Getty Images North America

NHL EZ Pick Preview 03/07/19

Take a look at the matchups set for this Thursday’s EZ Pick.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

Nikita Kucherov vs Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov has a chance to pass Vincent Lecavalier in the franchise record book on Thursday night. Kucherov owns a league-high 108 points to match the former Tampa Bay captain, who set his record in 2006-07. “It’s amazing,” Lightning teammate Adam Erne told reporters of Kucherov after Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over Winnipeg. “It just happens for him. He’s a real hard worker. You can tell how hard he works in practice on his particular skills, how well he knows his game and what he needs to do.”

Buffalo native Patrick Kane has been held off the scoresheet in each of the last two losses, the first time the league’s second-leading scorer has not recorded a point in back-to-back games since Nov. 21-23. Kane scored two goals in Chicago’s rout of Buffalo last month.

Evgeni Dadonov vs Vladimir Tarasenko

Florida RW Evgenii Dadonov is mired in a five-game point drought as he sits one shy of his second straight season with at least 50.

Vladimir Tarasenko (team-high 27 goals, 56 points), who notched two assists against Anaheim on Wednesday, collected 10 goals and 20 points in the 11 games prior to Schenn’s injury but only three points with his linemate out of action (6 games).

Phil Kessel vs Alexander Radulov

Pittsburgh RW Phil Kessel, who has four assists in his last five games overall, has set up a goal in both encounters with Columbus this season.

Alexander Radulov was left off of the lineup last game against the Rangers because of disciplinary reasons. He showed up late before Tuesday game. Radulov has recorded four points against the Avalanche this season.

Jamie Benn vs Artemi Panarin

Jamie Benn recorded a hat trick on Saturday, but was then blanked from the scoresheet on Tuesday.

Blue Jackets LW Artemi Panarin has recorded 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 10 career contests versus the Penguins.

Brad Marchand vs Johnny Gaudreau

Brad Marchand continues to pile up points with six in the last four games to increase his team-leading total to 77.

Johnny Gaudreau was kept off the scoresheet Wednesday, ending his four-game assist streak. The 25-year-old left wing, who tops the team with 84 points and shares the lead in goals (30) with Sean Monahan, needs one of each to set career highs.

Mike Hoffman vs Yanni Gourde

Left wing Mike Hoffman leads Florida with 30 goals and is two points from matching his career high of 61 with Ottawa in 2016-17.

Yanni Gourde scored a goal in Tuesday’s win over the Jets.

Tyler Seguin vs Nathan MacKinnon

Stars C Tyler Seguin has recorded two goals and two assists against the Avalanche this season.

Nathan MacKinnon scored his club-best 34th goal in a 4-3 win over Detroit on Tuesday. The 23-year-old scored and set up a goal in the Avalanche’s 3-2 victory over Dallas on Nov. 24 before erupting for a season high-tying four points (one goal, three assists) in a 6-4 triumph against the Stars on Dec. 15.

Sidney Crosby vs Patrice Bergeron

Superstar captain Sidney Crosby powered his team to the pair of wins by recording multi-point performances in each outing this season against Columbus. The two-time Hart Trophy recipient posted his fifth straight multi-point effort by scoring a goal and setting up two others in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win versus Florida to boost his total to five goals and eight assists in that stretch.

Center Patrice Bergeron reached 60 points for the seventh time in his career Tuesday with his 23rd goal.

Steven Stamkos vs Evgeni Malkin

Along with teammate Nikita Kucherov, captain Steven Stamkos could also pass Vincent Lecavalier in the franchise record book. Stamkos boasts 382 career goals, one behind Lecavalier for the most in Lightning history.

Evgeni Malkin saw his four-game point streak snap on Tuesday. He’s up to 21 goals and 66 points in 60 games this season. He’s also just four points away from the 1,000th of his career.

Jack Eichel vs Jonathan Toews

Captain Jack Eichel scored twice in the marquee matchup against Connor McDavid and Edmonton on Monday to give him six goals in his last five games and 25 on the season — matching his season high from 2017-18. “I probably haven’t been the most consistent scorer this year,” Eichel said of his recent binge. “I think I’ve probably passed up too many opportunities to shoot the puck at times. Eichel, who has scored at least 24 goals in each of his first four seasons, had a goal in a 7-3 loss to Chicago on Feb. 1.

Jonathan Toews will play on a line Brandon Saad and John Hayden. Head coach Jeremy Colliton is trying to get his team back on track now that their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread. Toews has been really good this year, but he has one goal in his last six games. They need him to take his game to another level if they’re going to make it back to the postseason. The 30-year-old has 29 goals and 67 points in 66 games this season.

Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

NHL 2017 Stanley Cup Finals Preview

Nashville Predators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Get the full NHL experience. Play our Stanley Cup finals fantasy hockey contests at FanPicks.com, as the Predators and Penguins are set to square of tonight at 8PM Eastern Time. No team has won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles since 1998, a drought the Pittsburgh Penguins can end. They are the prohibitive favorites to hoist Lord Stanley’s trophy at the expense of the upstart Predators, who are appearing in their first Stanley Cup Final.

Pittsburgh features the top three scorers in the postseason in Evgeni Malkin, captain Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel. They are the first team to reach the Cup Final in back-to-back seasons since the Penguins in 2008 and 2009. Nashville was the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and posted the fewest points of any of the 16th playoff participants, but swept Chicago in the opening round before dispatching St. Louis and Anaheim in a pair of six-game series. Predators bench boss Peter Laviolette becomes the fourth coach to lead three different teams to Stanley Cups finals. Along with Penguins counterpart Mike Sullivan, this will mark the first time that American coaches square off for hockey’s top prize.

Pittsburgh Penguins Outlook

Malkin (24 points) and Crosby (20) are running 1-2 in the playoff scoring race. They seemingly shine when the lights are brightest, with each one winning a Conn Smythe Trophy. Kessel notched six points in the seven-game series against Ottawa. Fellow 23-goal scorer Conor Sheary has not fared as well. He has yet to tally in the playoffs. Jake Guentzel is mired in an eight-game goal drought after scoring nine times in the first 11 games of the postseason.

Matt Murray, who backstopped Pittsburgh to a championship a year ago following a late-season injury to Marc-Andre Fleury, reclaimed the starting job from Fleury in the Ottawa series. He went 3-1 with six goals allowed in his four starts. Forward Patric Hornqvist, acquired from Nashville in exchange for forward James Neal in June 2014, is a game-time decision after sitting out the final six contests against the Senators.

Nashville Predators Outlook

The daunting challenge of trying to match up against Crosby and Malkin is exacerbated by the absence of top-line center Ryan Johansen (thigh), lost for the rest of the playoffs after Game 4 against Anaheim. Colton Sissons stepped in for Johansen. He supplied a hat trick in the series clincher against the Ducks, but the Predators will continue to rely heavily on Filip Forsberg, a 31-goal scorer during the regular season who scored five times against Anaheim and is riding a seven-game point streak.

While No. 2 center Mike Fisher appears poised to return from injury, Nashville’s strength is at the other end of the ice, with its top four defensemen — Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm — combining for a staggering 39 points in 16 playoff games. Still, the Predators’ hopes likely hinge on 34-year-old Pekka Rinne, who is 12-4 with a 1.70 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage in the postseason.

Posted in NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals

Captain Sidney Crosby looks to continue his offensive assault Wednesday as the Pittsburgh Penguins kick off a three-game, four-day road trip against the Metropolitan Division-rival Washington Capitals (Enter Contest). Since returning from a concussion that cost him the first six games of the season, Crosby has registered five two-point performances while collecting 10 goals and three assists in nine contests. The 29-year-old two-time Hart Trophy winner and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy recipient tops the Penguins in tallies and is tied for second in scoring. It’s two points behind leader Evgeni Malkin.

Washington hopes to break out of its offensive slump after scoring a total of five goals while going 1-2-1 over its last four games. The Capitals were held to one tally for the second straight contest on Tuesday. They squandered their lead and dropped a 2-1 decision at Columbus in overtime. Nicklas Backstrom provided the lone goal in the setback. It was just his second of the campaign. Six-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin has gone a season-high four straight games without a tally.

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (10-3-2)

Derrick Pouliot is making strides toward a return to the lineup. The defenseman participated in practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on October 20. Nick Bonino was also on the ice after skipping Monday’s practice. He’s expected to be in the lineup against Washington. Malkin is riding a four-game point streak and has landed on the scoresheet in eight of his last nine contests. Goalie Matt Murray has allowed a total of only five goals while winning each of his four starts this campaign.

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (9-4-2)

One of the problems with the team’s offense has been its lack of testing the opposing goaltender. They’ve registered 21 shots during Saturday’s 5-1 loss at Carolina. It was the lowest total in 25 regular-season games dating back to March. Washington improved by just one in Tuesday’s defeat. All 20 skaters who have suited up for the Capitals this season have recorded at least one point now that defenseman Taylor Chorney notched an assist against Columbus in his second game of 2016-17.  Left wing Marcus Johansson, who shares the team lead of seven goals with Ovechkin, has recorded just one in his last six games.

Posted in NHL

Fantasy Hockey NHL Finals

Game 5

It’s the back against the wall routine now for the San Jose Sharks. No room for error as the Pittsburgh Penguins could finish the fantasy hockey NHL 2015/16 season as soon as tonight. With a win, the Penguins could finally put there hands on the Stanley Cup at home, in front of their fan, a feat that they’ve never accomplished in their 49 year existence and three Stanley Cup conquest. In fact, of the 11 major sports championships won by Pittsburgh professional teams since the Pirates claimed the 1960 World Series at Forbes Field — six Super Bowls, three Stanley Cups, two other World Series — not one was won on home turf or home ice. Also, Penguins’ Matt Murray could become the fifth goalie to lead his team to a Stanley Cup in his rookie year — Ken Dryden(1970-71), Patrick Roy(1985-86), Cam Ward(2005-06) and Antti Niemi(2009-10) are the first four. The Sharks have waited 25 years to reach their first NHL finals. With 36 years-old’s and former captains of the team Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau not getting any younger, this could be their last chance at the cup.  Game 5 happens starts Thursday night at 8PM ET. Here are FanPicks (click to play) top NHL picks.

Player Pos Team Last Game FP Last Two Games FP Avg  Last Four Game FP Avg Last Ten Game FP Avg
Evgeni Malkin C PIT 23 10.7 10.6 10.9
Eric Fehr W PIT 18.5 7.2 4.9 4.3
Melker Karlsson W SJ 18.5 6.2 4 4.5
Phil Kessel W PIT 18 15.2 12.1 15.1
Ian Cole D PIT 15.5 6.2 3.7 3
Carl Hagelin W PIT 9 7.5 6.9 7.4
Kris Letang D PIT 9 8 8.1 8
Brenden Dillon D SJ 7.5 3 2.1 1.4
Joe Pavelski C SJ 7.5 3.5 7 13.3
Chris Tierney C SJ 6 4.5 4.2 5
Olli Maatta D PIT 6 5.5 4.8 4.5
Patrick Marleau C SJ 6 4 9.1 7.3
Joel Ward W SJ 3 10.2 11.3 9.7
Logan Couture C SJ 3 4 11.2 11.8
Joonas Donskoi W SJ 3 9.7 10.7 7.4
Tomas Hertl C SJ 3 9.7 9.1 10
MarcEdouard Vlasic D SJ 1.5 3.5 3.9 6
Sidney Crosby C PIT 1.5 4.5 6.9 11
Matt Cullen C PIT 1.5 3 2.4 2.8
Brian Dumoulin D PIT 1.5 2 1.2 3.5

Fantasy Hockey NHL Game 5 Notables

  • Melker Karlsson will skate on the San Jose Sharks top line with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, with Tomas Hertl (lower body injury) still expected to be out.
  • Penguins winger Phil Kessel has at least one point in 15 of 22 playoff games. He leads Pittsburgh with 10 goals and 21 points.
  • Before being held without a point in Game 4, Sharks winger Joel Ward had at least one point in four of his previous five games. He has one goal and one assist in the Final.
Posted in NHL

Fantasy NHL Hockey

Stanley Cup Preview

NHL Hockey playoffs doesn’t get any bigger than this. Game 1 of this exciting Stanley Cup finals featuring the San Jose Sharks against the Pittsburgh Penguins will begin Monday at 8PM EST at the Consol Energy Center. This series has the potential to be an instant classic with the Penguins being a much different team than during the regular season and the Sharks ‘ red hot offense peaking at the best moment. Don’t miss out on this Fantasy NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Preview brought to you by Fanpicks, where you can win millions in cash prizes during the NHL Playoffs.

 

Fantasy NHL Hockey

Both of these teams have been playing at their best during those playoffs with players showcasing great talent and consistency. The regular season series is split with each tream winning a game apiece but not much history against one another.

For the Pens, it will be their first time back in the Finals in 7 years since winning the title in a 7 game nailbiting series against the Red Wings back in 2009. With only a few of the championship cast remaining such as Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh as an edge of experience compare to the Sharks. On top being there at the biggest stage, the Penguins speed is nothing like any other team San Jose has faced during the playoffs thus far. Many weapons the Pens possess in offense can hurt the Sharks if they don’t step it up physically. They’re led by Phil Kessel (18 pts) who has 6 goals in his last 9 playoffs games. It will be Sidney Crosby’s 3rd appearance in  the finals.

 

The Sharks will hope that Marc-Edouard Vlasic shuts continues his tremendous defensive work and shuts down as much of the Penguins’ top forwards. The Pens will definitely have a tougher time penetrating through the Sharks but as the series progress.

San Jose will be making its first ever appearance in a Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history. Only 2 players on their rosters have made it to the finals in their careers. Suprisingly, neither their veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have had the chance to make it to the cup.

They will rely on their cut throat offense that boasts a whopping average of 3.5 goals a game. 4 of the postseason top 5 scorers are Sharks players and their top 2 lines are nearly impossible to contain consistently.

 

This will be one of the most compelling and interesting Stanley Cup finals in recent years and we hope you’re as excited as we are for this series. Don’t forget to sign up for free and  BANK BIG this Stanley Cup with our Cross Sports and NHL Contests.

 

Posted in NHL

Fantasy Hockey Playoffs

Eastern Finals Preview

The best team in the NHL over the past two month just defeated the best team this season. Now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are off to face last years Eastern Champions Tampa Bay Ligthning in the Eastern Finals. Fantasy hockey playoffs (click to join) doesn’t get any bigger than this. Game 1 starts Friday night at the Consol Energy Center, and will be presented on NBCSN starting at 8PM ET. The Penguins went 14-2-0 to end the regular season before knocking off the New York Rangers and, offcourse, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in the postseason.

The Pens made the conference final for the first time since 2013 with balanced scoring, improved defense and rookie goalie Matt Murray’s solid play that has kept veteran Marc-Andre Fleury on the bench. They still must find a way to contain a dangerous Tampa Bay offense that is led by Nikita Kucherov (nine goals, 12 points) and Tyler Johnson (13 points). The Lightning lineup could even become more lethal, potentialy having back top-pair defenseman Anton Stralman (broken fibula) and captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot)at some point in the series. Tampa Bay has beaten the Penguins three straight in the regular season, despite being outshot 109-74 combined.

Stralman has gone through full practice over the last few days, but he doesn’t look like he’s a 100% percent yet. Versatile forward J.T. Brown (upper body) could be back in the lineup after missing almost a month. Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn (nine points) and the emergence of Jonathan Drouin (eight assists) stepped up to take the offensive reigns during superstar Steven Stamkos’ absence. In defence, 6-foot-6 Victor Hedman was the key figure during the second-round series victory over the New York Islanders. He stopped captain John Tavares clean, denying him of a point for the last four games while recording eight points for himself.

It will not be an easy task for Lightning coach Jon Cooper to decide which line his best D-Man, Victor Hedman, will go up against. Pittsburgh’s four forward units have all produced in the postseason with three of them represented among the top four scorers. Captain Sidney Crosby (10 points) and Evgeni Malkin (nine) each center a line while the trio of Phil Kessel (five goals, 12 points), Nick Bonino (eight assists) and Carl Hagelin may be their best in the playoffs thus far.

Posted in NHL

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

Penguins vs Panthers Fantasy Hockey Preview

Pittsburgh Penguins (28-19-7) at Florida Panthers (32-18-6) (7:30 pm EST) 

An exciting matchup is on tap for all you fantasy hockey fans out there.

While Jaromir Jagr turns 44 years old today, the rest of his Panthers teammates are barely legal. Franchise defenseman Aaron Ekblad was born on the same day Jagr scored his 200th NHL goal. Yes, you read that correctly. Ekblad just turned 20 on Super Bowl Sunday, while his legendary teammate will be facing off against a team he spent half a decade breaking records for.

The Panthers and Penguins will battle for precious points as the Eastern Conference playoff races start to heat up.

Pittsburgh needs the points worse than they’d like to admit, while Florida are sitting pretty near the top of the standings, but home-ice advantage in the playoffs is huge. Especially for such an inexperienced team like the Panthers.

Sidney Crosby has cooled off from his ridiculous recent pace, Kris Letang as well, while Evgeni Malkin is close- but not quite there yet as he works to return from injury.

Sid the (former) Kid will need to bring his A-game to defeat the youthful Miami kids tonight, which shouldn’t be as tough with All-Star Roberto Luongo sitting this one out while Al Montoya takes to the blue paint.

The incumbent Marc-Andre Fleury starts for Pittsburgh, and he will need to make some big saves on these skills cats in order to keep his Penguins afloat.

The Panthers have done some line juggling due to the injury of star center Alex Barkov. Jagr will not play with regular Jonathan Huberdeau, instead he will play next to Vincent Trocheck and either Brandon Pirri (if he plays – injury) or Reilly Smith…both pure snipers.

It will be a good one in Sunrise, Fla tonight as the puck drops at 7:30pm EST.

Posted in NHL