2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

First-round previews

Tampa Bay Lightning vs New Jersey Devils

From first overall pick to first playoff berth in six seasons, the surprising New Jersey Devils are set to take on the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning. The series features a pair of Hart Trophy candidates in Nikita Kucherov and Taylor Hall, but the X-factor should be Devils netminder Keith Kinkaid, who emerged as the starter down the stretch and played phenomenally, but will now be tasked with shutting down one of the league’s most potent attacks.

Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs

The cruelty of the playoff format pitted two of the top teams in the conference against each other in Round 1, but this one should be a doozy. The Maple Leafs won three of four contests versus Boston this season, and Mitch Marner led the way with nine points. However, the red-hot Bruins were merely one point away from capturing the East’s top seed. Don’t be shocked if this one goes the distance.

Washington Capitals vs Columbus Blue Jackets

Metropolitan Division adversaries are poised to do battle in what should be an evenly contested matchup. The biggest questions for this series lie between the pipes, as Washington has elected to lean on backup Philipp Grubauer as its starter, while Sergei Bobrovsky’s career postseason save percentage is a dreadful .887. Whoever wins out in goal is likely moving on.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers

The defending champs begin their quest for a three-peat against their most bitter rivals, a spectacle that was can’t-miss television last time they met in the playoffs in 2012. Pittsburgh holds a notable depth advantage, emphasized by the acquisition of Derick Brassard before the trade deadline. That said, five of the NHL’s top 15 scorers are in this series, so buckle up.

Play our NHL Playoffs Contest 

Nashville Predators vs Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche were dreadful a season ago, but, to the surprise of just about everybody, have qualified for the playoffs in a year when nobody gave them a chance. Their reward? A matchup with the NHL’s most complete team, which is looking to avenge last season’s Stanley Cup disappointment. If the task wasn’t already tall enough, the Avs will have to get by without starter Semyon Varlamov, who was ruled out for the season.

Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild

The Jets concluded the season with the second-most points in the NHL (114), and have plans far beyond earning their first series win in franchise history. To do so, though, they’ll need to take down a Wild squad that went 14-6-5 down the stretch. While they’re missing their top blue-liner in Ryan Suter, the animosity between these Northern rivals should make for quite an entertaining series.

Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings

Even though it’s been decided for weeks, the Golden Knights making the playoffs in their inaugural season is nothing short of astonishing. The atmosphere in Vegas should be rocking to get things started, but the NHL’s 31st franchise has a tall order on its hands. Shutting down MVP candidate Anze Kopitar will be tough, but it could make the difference in what promises to be a fast-paced, intense series.

Anaheim Ducks vs San Jose Sharks

The start times are late, but this West Coast battle should be fought tooth and nail. Both the Ducks and Sharks match up quite evenly and know each other quite well, but health will be a big factor. San Jose is doubtful to have Joe Thornton in the lineup, while Anaheim starter John Gibson is banged up as well. Regardless of who’s in and who’s out, expect this one to be neck-and-neck.

Download the FanPicks Fantasy App. Click on the links below.

Posted in NHL

NHL Fantasy Hockey Preview

L.A Kings vs Vancouver Canucks

The Los Angeles Kings will be visiting the Vancouver Canucks Monday night and hope to end their 4 game road losing streak and regain the top spot in the Pacific Division where they trail the Anaheim Ducks by only 1 point with only 4 games remaining. This NHL Fantasy Hockey preview is brought you by FanPicks.com. Come PLAY in our NHL Magic Million daily fantasy contests at FanPicks and get a free chance to win $1 Million dollars!

NHL Fantasy Hockey Preview

The Vancouver Canucks are having a nightmare year but have shown some sign of resurgence lately. They’re coming into this game on consecutive wins against the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks, two of the top teams in the Western Conference and of course, in the NHL. Their latest wins actually really helped the Kings who find themselves now 3 pts ahead of the Sharks and 1 pt shy from the Ducks. Jannik Hansen has been playing exceptionally well with a goal and 3 assists in the past 2 games. Their leader, Daniel Sedin is sitting at 28 goals in the year, his highest input since the 2011-2012 campaign. He’s only 1 assist shy of his 587th that will square him up with Paul Kariya in the 89th all time assist leader.

 

The Kings absolutely need to end their 4 game road skid. They will end their season at home with 2 games but tonight’s matchup is critical and strategic. They’re going for their 2nd division title in the franchise history and it will go down to the wire when they battle the Ducks on Thursday at home. Lucky for them, Jeff Carter has been heating up lately, adding up 3 goals and an assist in the past 2 games and 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 5 contests after going 8 games without a goal. Their captain Dustin Brown needs 3 pts to avoid finishing with less than 30 pts for the 4th consecutive campaign.

 

 

DON’T MISS OUT ON THE NHL MAGIC MILLION CONTESTS! ENTER NOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN MILLIONS IN CASH PRIZES!

Link: afp.fanpicks.com/magic-million

Posted in NHL

Daily Fantasy Hockey Lineup

There are only five games on the NHL schedule tonight, and with the season coming to a close, matchups become even more important when considering your daily fantasy hockey lineup.

Some daily fantasy players like to spread their wealth over an abundance of games, but as some teams are fighting for their playoff lives others are dreaming of greener pastures so effort levels can waver significantly.

In this edition of my daily fantasy hockey lineup, I’ve loaded up on Kings, and Panthers, while rounding out my team with stalwart’s from playoff teams (one exception: Columbus’ hot Boone Jenner)

  • My Lineup

NHLDFS04

The Tampa Bay Lightning were expected to be contenders this season, but have dealt with their share of drama from the get-go. Captain Steven Stamkos has had a whirlwind season including the non-stop trade rumours due to his status as an impending unrestricted free-agent, while top prospect Jonathan Drouin refused to report to their minor league affiliate for a while leading to an in-house suspension.

Just as Tampa thought that things would turn up in time for the playoffs, those hopes took a major hit when the club announced the loss of Stamkos for one-to-three months with a blood clot this weekend, and top pairing defenseman Anton Stralman with a broken leg last week. 

Scoring winger Ondrej Palat missed over 20 games this season due to injury, but has heated up of late going on a tear about a month ago and recently producing 4 goals and 8 assists for 12 points over his last 10 games.

Though the Vancouver Canucks have won two straight, the Kings are still the heavy favorite. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Canucks hadn’t won one in their previous 10 and LA is true Stanley Cup contender.

Enter a trio of Kings: Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter and value pick Kris Versteeg.

Jonathan Quick is one of the league’s few elite goaltenders, and is aiming for a career-high 40 wins tonight. He’s at least $1000 cheaper than the St-Louis Blues tandem of Jake Allen (injured) and Brian Elliott, more talented than them and has the desired matchup.

I also stacked two members from the Florida Panthers top line. Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr. Barkov has made a habit of wrecking the Montreal Canadiens this year, and capped off the season with a 4-point effort (2 goals, 2 assists) on Saturday night. The young Finn is fresh, confident and primed to wreck the Maple Leafs tonight.

Linemate and living-legend Jaromir Jagr has points in 5 straight games, while scoring at least one point in 16 of 21 games since turning 44 years old on February 15th (9 goals, 13 assists). He shows no signs of slowing down heading into the NHL playoffs.

 

 

Posted in NHL

NHL Fantasy Draft Picks 12-22-2015

Montreal Canadiens versus Minnesota Wilds NHL Fantasy Preview 12-22-2015

The Montreal Canadiens continue their holiday road trip with a matchup against the Minnesota Wilds. NHL draft managers can tune to NBCSN on Tuesday December 22nd at 8PM Eastern Time to track the results of their daily fantasy draft picks.

The Wild are on a two game skid. They allowed 6 goals in yesterday’s game against offensive powerhouse Dallas Stars. But they hold the 4th place in the Central Division with an overall record of 17-9-6 for 40 total points. They are one of the better defensive unit allowing 2.35 goals per game, ranking them 2nd in the Western Conference.

The Habs have been struggling in the past 2 week, losing 8 of their last 9 games. Despite that, they still hold 1st place in the Atlantic Division, with a record of 20-12-3 for a total of 43 points. The original six team has given up 11 goals and scored 3 in their last 2 games.

This is the 2nd day of a back-to-back games for both teams. Each one are coming off a humiliating loss, so it comes as no surprise that a bounce back win is needed for either one of them.

 

Wilds Top DFS Performers

 

C Mikko Koivu

Koivu played his worst game yesterday, posting a minus-3 and no points. But how can we hold it against him, his entire team didn’t show the energy to compete. The captain will need to skip over that and get back on the tear he was before that game, with 9 points in 4 games.

 

G Darcy Kuemper

Kuemper has yet to lose a regulation game this season. He has a record of 3-0-4, with a 2.28 GAA and a .922 Save%.

 

LW Zach Parise

25 points in 29 career games against Montreal, for the American, is more than enough to select him in your cash draft contest tonight.

 

Canadiens Top DFS Performers

 

D P.K. Subban

Subban hasn’t scored a goal in 2 month. The flashy D has 11 points, including 5 goals, in 6 career games against Minnesota.

 

San Jose Sharks versus Los Angeles Kings NHL Real Money Fantasy Preview 12-22-2015

Top 2 teams in the Pacific Division, Los Angeles Kings & San Jose Sharks, will clash on Tuesday night. DFS draft GMs can tune in to NBCSN at 10:30 PM Eastern Time to track down the scoring results from your roster fantasy picks.

The Kings are leading the Pacific Division, despite being the weakest division in the league. Los Angeles has a record of 20-10-2 with 42 points. They are coming off from an upset loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, a score of 5-0. The 2014 Stanley Cup Champions lead the NHL in goal allowed with 2.2 per game. Their offense has been kind of quiet this season, netting 2.5 goals per game. With elite forwards like Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik on their payroll, it is just a matter of time before this team explodes.

The Sharks have lost 8 out of their last 10 games. They will be completing a 5 game away stand in L.A. tonight. San Jose was able to gain 5 out of the 8 possible points on this road trip. A win at Staples Center will put the cherry on top of the Sunday, and bring them closer to the Kings in the Pacific Division Standing. Darryl Sutter`s squad is 8 points behind (34 points), with 16 wins, 15 losses and 2 overtime losses.

 

Sharks Top DFS Performers

 

D Brent Burns

Burns keep racking up those goals like pancakes. He lit up the red light 51 times in the past 3 season. He also leads the team with 148 shots on goal.

 

C Joe Pavelski

Pavelski leads the team in goals (16) and assist (17). He has 7 points in his last 4 games.

 

Fantasy Hockey Value Picks

C Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks)

C Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wilds)

LW Zach Parise (Minnesota Wilds)

D Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks)

D P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens)

G Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota Wilds)

 

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