Preview: Capitals at Canadiens

The Washington Capitals have a chance to post back-to-back victories for the first time this season when they wrap up a four-game road trip with a visit to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. The defending Stanley Cup champions have enjoyed spectacular success in Montreal, winning five in a row and 12 of their last 13 at the Bell Centre.

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First-year coach Todd Reirden acknowledged that the Capitals are “still a work in progress” after their spirited run to claiming the Stanley Cup last season. “As much as you want to talk about building momentum from last year — and we have the majority of our players back — it’s tough to replicate the intensity that goes on, and just the detail in our game could improve,” Reirden said. The Canadiens, who will be trying to avoid dropping two in a row for the first time this season, opened a three-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to Dallas and now have to face Washington and Tampa Bay over the next three nights. “It’s too bad because we worked hard,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “The effort was there but the result just wasn’t.”

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN2 (Montreal), NBCS Washington

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (5-3-2): Defenseman Brooks Orpik sustained a lower-body injury in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win at Calgary and has been ruled out of Thursday’s matchup by Reirden. Madison Bowey played 10 1/2 minutes against the Flames and could be paired with another second-year blue-liner in Christian Djoos versus Montreal. “This is the growth of them as young players, to see where they are at and to see how they do in these situations,” Reirden said. “That’s how we’ll start the game, and throughout the game they’ll probably play with other players as well. … But those will be our three pairs to start the game.”

ABOUT THE CANADIENS (6-3-2): Leading goal scorer Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron both missed Wednesday’s practice, but only the latter’s status is in question after he suffered a lower-body injury against Dallas. “Gallagher was definitely just a maintenance day,” Julien said. “Same thing with Paulie, but Paulie I think is more day-to-day. I know Gallagher will be fine tomorrow. Can’t say the same about Paulie yet. We’ll go about it on a day-to-day basis.” With Gallagher and Byron absent, Julien juggled his lines and put together the all-Finnish trio of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen and Joel Armia on one unit.

OVERTIME

1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had four goals and an assist in three games versus Montreal last season.

2. Canadiens G Carey Price has labored against the Capitals with a 6-13-4 record and 3.30 goals-against average.

3. Washington’s top-ranked power play is converting on 37.1 percent (13-for-35) of its chances.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

DFS NHL PICKS

Sadly, the NHL season is coming to a close so we’re here to present to you our last regular season edition of our DFS NHL picks.

Not to worry, we will still be providing fantasy picks throughout the playoffs. But as every team is in action, this is a big night.

Important note: Word came out of Pittsburgh earlier today that superstars Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang would not be dressing for their season finale, so be weary of any last minute scratches around the league.

As we’re all aware of professional sports contracts are laced with incentives. In other words, statistical plateaus that athletes must attain to cash in on big money bonuses.

To break it down, as major league sports season’s come to a close these plateaus often become the focus of individual players as they step into action. Wouldn’t you try your luck if a million dollars was the difference between you taking the shot (and scoring) or passing it off to a teammate? 30 goals on the season puts you into the upper-echelon of performers, whereas 29 goals gets you in the milder “20-goal scorer” category.

So as time is of the essence for these contracts, I’m aiming for players who will be extra motivated to reach these milestones.

If you doubt this theory and need proof, just look up how Jamie Benn won the NHL scoring title last season. Spoiler: He scored four points (a hat-trick), including the last one with 8.5 seconds left in the game (and season) to surpass John Tavares and Sidney Crosby to win the Art Ross trophy. Not to mention he did it without the other half of Dallas’ dynamic duo as Tyler Seguin sat out with an in-house suspension.

Finally, let’s take a look at my DFS NHL picks.

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If you can’t tell just by looking at it, this is pretty much a young stars team balanced out by the ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr, and Chicago’s 2015-16 dynamic duo of rookie Artemi Panarin and current NHL leading scorer Patrick Kane.

The strategy is to have hungry young guns with a lot to prove, plus a few guys on hot streaks to bring some stability.

Panarin sits at 28 goals on the season, needing two to hit the 30-goal plateau. One single point would be nice as well, as the 75-point mark would be awfully impressive for a rookie (albeit a 24-year-old rookie)

Winnipeg rookie Nik Ehlers is a nice value at $4800, and has 1 goal and 5 assists in his last 10 games while skating on the Jets’ top line with Blake Wheeler and breakout star Mark Scheifele.

The heavily scrutinized Alex Galchenyuk managed to turn a nearly lost season around just in time to be named the Montreal Canadiens player of the year. The electric American also sits at 28 goals, and you can bet his teammates (namely Max Pacioretty) will be doing everything they can to get him to 30 goals. A nice team dinner and a couple of bottles of wine is in the best interest for everyone, especially since the Habs have nothing else to play for.

19-year-old phenom Connor McDavid is arguably the best player in the NHL already. He leads the league (ahead of Jagr and Kane) with 2.71 points-per-60-minutes during 5-on-5 play. The former two come in at 2.61. While the Oilers were a disaster this year (again), the Canucks have been down right awful for the past month and are ripe for the picking. McDavid has at least one point in all but two of his previous 10 games (2 goals + 11 assists), including 3 against these very same Canucks just 48 hours ago. Did I mention he sits at 48 points (44 games) on the season? Two points in the season finale seems fitting for the young icon.

 

Posted in NHL

Montreal Canadiens G Charlie Lindgren Wins NHL Debut

The Montreal Canadiens announced on April 30 that the team had agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free agent NCAA goaltender Charlie Lindgren.

Lindgren just completed his third season with the St. Cloud State Huskies, and an impressive season it was. The 6’2 netminder boasted a 30-9-1 record, 2.13 GAA. .925 Sv%, and 5 shutouts. Those gaudy numbers ranked him first in the NCHC in wins, saves, and shutouts (T-2 others).

He finished his career with a rock solid 51-29-3 record, 2.21 GAA, .921 Sv% and 8 shutouts.

His team’s made it to the NCAA tournament every year Lindgren was guarding the paint, and was 2016’s NCHC Frozen Faceoff champion.

They say the difference between a starting and backup goaltender is their ability to maintain peak performance, so with 2,342 minutes played this season alone Lindgren has certainly shown the ability to carry the load for a successful club.

The signing of Charlie Lindgren is more than just a great addition to the goaltender depth in Montreal, it’s a symbol that the the doom and gloom season they’ve had is coming to an end and brighter days lay ahead of this organization.

While not all will look fondly upon the move, it without a doubt can only affect the organization in a positive manner. He was recently ranked the fourth overall, and top NCAA free agent goaltender.

Lindgren joined the team immediately upon signing his deal but did not play until April 7 when the Canadiens were in Carolina.

By starting the game, the Canadiens (essentially Lindgren) set a franchise record for most goalies used in a single season (5).

Avoiding the pressures of the Bell Center was key according to Head Coach Michel Therrien and the plan worked. Although Lindgren allowed a goal on his first shot against (it was a good scoring opportunity and bad defensive effort from his team), he did make 26 saves for the 4-2 victory in his NHL debut.

While he was visibly nervous early on, he settled down as he made some solid saves and was in control by the end. He showed poise and athleticism during scramble mode in the waning moments, robbing the Hurricanes at least three times including a gutsy two-pad stack in the clutch.

His future looks very bright.

If he stays in Montreal long-term, he and Carey Price could potentially combine to form the league’s best goaltending tandem.

Posted in NHL

Daily Fantasy Hockey Value Picks

It’s a relatively light Saturday schedule for the NHL today, as only 16 teams will be taking to the ice for action. There will be five puck-drops at 7 pm ET, one at 8 pm ET, and two more at 10 pm ET to close things out.

As usual, we’re here to provide you with a little extra nudge when assembling your roster, so take a glance at our daily fantasy hockey value picks below to help make your squad a winner!

Daily Fantasy Hockey Value Picks

G Garret Sparks TOR $6500 – The Red Wings are 5-5 in their last 10, including a 1-0 loss to these same Maple Leafs (Mar. 13), a 4-3 loss to the lowly Montreal Canadiens, and a 7-2 shellacking courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Of course there’s the flip side to all this. Jimmy Howard is an option at $6700 if you see this as an opportunity for Detroit to break-out, but goaltending is right at the top of the list of reasons for their struggles over the past month so proceed with caution.

G Cam Talbot EDM $6700 – As I stated earlier this week, “The Flames are merely a flicker on the road” moments before Calgary took to the ice for an 8-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Now, the Oilers are certainly no Ducks, but Calgary’s road record speaks for itself (12-24-3). Edmonton is considerably better at home (though it’s still nothing to brag about; 18-19-2), and Connor McDavid will produce tonight. The rookie phenom just had a seven game scoring streak snapped, and hasn’t gone more than two consecutive games without registering a point all season.

D Niklas Kronwall DET $3700 –  Kronwall has returned to form since being activated off the injured-reserve on February 23rd. Detroit’s defensive leader has scored 7 points in his last 10 contests, and has collected assists in three straight.

RW Jaromir Jagr FLA $6300 – The grizzled super-vet posted 15 points in March alone, including a point-per-game over his last 10 games. The Panthers are home to the Canadiens who are coming off a 3-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mike Condon is getting the start for the Habs again, and rarely does he play two strong games in a row. Florida has a nice opportunity here, especially since Joel Hanley is penciled in as the Canadiens number four defenseman this evening.

C Riley Sheahan DET $3600 – I’m aware I put Garret Sparks in the value column, but Sheahan’s recent production cannot be denied. The Red Wings centerman has four goals in his last 5 games, after only recording nine in his first 72.  That price tag is a hell of a steal when considering Sheahan has the same amount of goals as Henrik Zetterberg (13). 

Posted in NHL

Fantasy Hockey

Montreal Canadiens Prospect Report

As the real NHL season winds down, so does the fantasy hockey season. So for all those without a ticket to the playoffs, all eyes are onto the off-season. Well, if you’re wondering who to keep and who may be expandable, who to draft and who to target, we got you covered!

Today we’ll start with the NHL’s worst team since December, the free-falling Montreal Canadiens who always seem to reach a new low. Injury after injury, loss after loss, new faces have been in and out of the lineup more often than at your local precinct.

Lucas Lessio was acquired earlier this season in a trade that sent Christian Thomas to the Arizona Coyotes. Neither prospect had yet to live up to their high potential, so a change of scenery was necessary in hopes of righting the ship.

Fanpicks.com fantasyhockey
Lucas Lessio Fanpicks.com Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Lessio scored his first goal as a Montreal Canadiens on March 22 when he netted the game-winner against the Ducks at the Bell Centre. Other than a few games as a healthy scratch due to the ever-turning Habs roster, Lessio has been a mainstay on the fourth line bringing his size, speed and energy to each shift. What Lessio brings in terms of work ethic and character is something the Canadiens were deeply lacking all season, and with this part of the season essentially being training camp for next year, Lessio is fighting for a permanent spot with the Habs. I personally think the fit is great and he should play the majority of the games next year for Montreal, albeit on the fourth line.

While there haven’t been many positives this season for the Habs, Sven Andrighetto might just be the exception. He’s quietly put together another solid year (13 points/37 games) for the Canadiens while again dominating the AHL (26 games/23 points).

He is out with an upper-body injury at the moment, but strung together a three-game span with four assists prior to exiting the lineup. Presumably sustained against the Senators from a crunching open-ice hit by Dion Phaneuf. At the time he was skating on the top line next to Alex Galchenyuk (the league’s leading scorer since Feb 24) and Max Pacioretty (playing his best hockey of the season).

His quickness and more importantly, his natural playmaking ability make him a valued asset in an organization sorely lacking such abilities. It looks like “Ghetto” has a spot amongst the Canadiens top 12 forwards next season, and very possibly the top six.

He is on the verge of full-time play, the Habs can only get better and he is not a household name yet. Andrighetto would be a major “value” target of mine this fantasy hockey off-season.

Posted in NHL

DFS NHL Lineup

Another edition of our Fanpicks.com DFS NHL Lineup is here. Our experts’ picks were in the money again last night, so we’re not going to give it away too easily. Sometimes we give you the picks and the easy money, but we’re going to make you work for this one. That is the fun of it after all! Let’s compare rosters.

  • My Lineup

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With a whopping $1300 leftover there’s still lots of room for flexibility. Every player chosen is on a hot streak of sorts, with multiple points over their last 10 games.  The one exception to the rule is LW Charles Hudon of the Montreal Canadiens. The star prospect will be skating in his third game for the injury-plagued Habs, on the second line next to speedsters Thomas Plekanec and Paul Byron. It’s a huge gamble but I’ve been scouting the kid for years and I like him more than the other options, even up to $4300.

The tough decisions were choosing Joe Thornton over Evgeny Kuznetsov and Connor McDavid. While the latter two are mega explosive and on nice runs of their own, Jumbo Joe has just been too consistent since the holiday season.

Alex Galchenyuk has been the leagues leading goal scorer since late February with 11 goals in his last 8 games. Yes, goals, not points. But I’m sure you’re well aware of that.

Jaden Schwartz and his Blues are facing the struggling Dallas Stars. Vlad Tarasenko is simply too pricey, so the steady Schwartz will have to do. He is a slick playmaker who makes things go on the powerplay and is never too far from Tarasenko.

TJ Oshie has been rolling for the Capitals lately. They’re on the west coast to face the San Jose Sharks tonight, so with no Ovechkin or Kuznetsov in this lineup, Oshie was easy pickins’.

The Flyers are red-hot, and Claude Giroux is the leader offensively but they have pretty widespread scoring. That made Shayne Gostisbehere an easy choice. Without any Philly forwards on the squad, the rookie had to be in my lineup.

Erik Karlsson has been colder than normal but with 70 points in 69 games this season, you can’t really go wrong with the star d-man, A matchup with the Leafs definitely works in his favor as well.

 

Posted in NHL

Fantasy Hockey Preview

We welcome you to this special edition fantasy hockey preview. A great night for hockey fans is upon us. With twelve, that’s right TWELVE hockey games on the tube tonight, fans and fantasy players alike will have their hands full keeping up with all the fast and furious action.

– Kicking things off at 7 pm (est) is the main event, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins. This cross-conference rivalry goes back to their Stanley Cup Finals days.

Patrick Kane has been an absolute machine this season. He has 15 points in his last 12 games, and 88 on the season. He is gunning for 100 and is must-see TV. His linemate, rookie Artemi Panarin ain’t too bad himself, with 59 points in 63 games.

The Bruins combo of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron themselves have been dynamite this season, as Marchand has 32 goals and is tied for third in the NHL for even-strength goals. Bergeron is the two-way stud he always is, and shines in games like this against players like Kane.


 

I’m weary of any Montreal Canadiens or Anaheim Ducks. If you watched the game or even the highlights from last night you’ll know why. That was the most physical game the Canadiens played all season and while the Ducks are tough,it takes it’s toll on you as a player.

The Ducks have been the NHL’s best team over the past month and a half so while still playable, temper your expectations against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Habs could surprise in LA, but the Kings are fresh and looking for an important two points on a night the Ducks could jump them for the division lead.

Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Tyler Taffoli and Drew Doughty are all solid picks from the Kings, while Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are options for Anaheim. Normally, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm are sturdy but they are inexperienced so back-to-backs may not be the best situation for them.


 

The Minnesota Wild head to Toronto to face the reeling Maple Leafs. Toronto has won just two of their last ten, and have dropped their last three games.

The Wild need to win this game to remain in the playoff race out West, and the Leafs lineup is unrecognizable to most fans.

Jason Pominville has 2 goals and 6 points in his last 3 games, and 12 in his last 8.

Garret Sparks will start in goal for Toronto.

Posted in NHL

DFS Hockey Value Picks

With 6 games on the NHL schedule tonight, Fanpicks will bring you another edition of DFS Hockey Value Picks. Here I will preview a few potential steals in the fantasy world that can help you become your daily fantasy sports contest champion.

Value Picks: Forward

Carl Hagelin – Evgeni Malkin returned from injury this weekend and wasted no time making an impact. The Penguins star center nearly scored seconds into his first shift, and while he was not the setup man for Hagelin’s 2 goals his return will certainly boost Hagelin’s production. This may be one to ride until season’s end (if his cap hit stays low).

Tomas Plekanec at $4500 is a solid value. Thornton and Galchenyuk are the better offensive players, but are by definition lesser “values”. The Canadiens top line had a very slow start against Toronto on Saturday, so a strong start in a big road game is a must by Montreal’s leaders.

Steven Stamkos has 6 goals in his last 6 games, so the fact that he isn’t near $7000-$8000 is a steal. Add the fact that he returns to Toronto tonight to play in front of a crowd who have have no bigger wish than to see Stammer in Maple Leaf blue next season.

Defense

Andrei Markov has 8 points in his last 7 games played. At $4400 he is a nice discount compared to premier blueliners like Brent Burns, Kris Letang, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere.  The Western Conference is a much slower pace than the East, a nice fit for the aging Habs blueliner.

John Klingberg has 5 assists in his last 3 games, so at $4700 the Star is well worth it. He was priced at the top of his group all season long, so such a value is a must buy.

Posted in NHL

Daily Fantasy Targets

FanPicks presents our daily fantasy targets once again. Important note: This isn’t necessarily an optimal lineup for you to use (though we do quite well), but rather Value Picks and Targets that could help put you over the top of your DFS contest. In order to win your daily fantasy contest you need to maximize your spending and get the right formula for victory. As you can see I still have a healthy $400 leftover, so use this roster as a fantasy aid to help land your desired athletes.

For example: While I think that T.J. Oshie could be in line for a good game tonight, the point of this lineup is to target the value picks and potential surprising performers so I’m suggesting the Canadiens Dale Weise and Bruins Brett Connolly on the Right Wing.

  • Let’s take a look at the rest of my targets today.

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Alex Ovechkin is the lone superstar of the lineup and is a must-play, but Filip Forsberg is no slouch. The second best player in my lineup has been on a tear, and definitely holds his own star power. The Canadiens goaltending is subpar, so Forsberg could make the most of his opportunities.

Weise is rumoured to be on the trade block for the soon-to-be seller Montreal Canadiens, so a bump up to the first line in a showcase isn’t shocking. Sven Andrighetto could earn his place back on Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty‘s wing, but Weise will begin there and has a chance to produce. He scored last game and has 14 goals on the year.

The same philosophy stands for Brett Connolly. While he isn’t necessarily on the trade block, he does have great linemates in Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Marchand is 3rd in NHL even-strength goals and rolling at the moment, so Connolly should have a safe floor with some upside.

Mike Ribeiro returns to his former, and hometown Montreal Canadiens tonight. Since being paired together Forsberg has been dominant, so stacking this duo could prove fruitful.

Robby Fabbri comes as cheap as $3400 in some leagues, and has 8 points in his last 9 games. Alex Steen just went on the IR. More ice-time=more points for the talented young Blue.

Speaking of talented young Blues, Colton Parayko seems like a must-start every night. The hulking 22-year-old has 4 points in his last 3 games and continues to fill in gracefully for the injured anchor Alex Pietrangelo.

I think Andrei Markov is going to have a multi-point night, so play him if you can afford it. In this case I couldn’t so I went with the more youthful of Canadiens defenders, Nathan Beaulieu. Beaulieu is a fine talent on the backend, a terrific skater with poise and a solid defensive game. But he is still developing so inconsistency is his biggest issue. That being said, home games are when you should play him. When he gets the matchup he needs he has the opportunity to carry the puck up ice and make plays offensively. On the road he gets stuck in tough situations and needs to remain safe more often than not. The Predators like to active their D (Weber, Josi, Ellis, Ekholm), so expect the Habs to mirror that with PK Subban, Markov and Beaulieu.

In goal, likely MVP Brayden Holtby was my numero uno selection as he has a great matchup and is just too good this season. He’s fresh and ready to to go. The cheaper option here was Boston’s Jonas Gustavsson. He is 10-4-1 this season, and the visiting Blue Jackets are a good matchup (3rd worst in NHL) for the Bruins backup goaltender.

 

Posted in NHL

Daily Fantasy Hockey Picks

Over the last few days I have been producing playable daily fantasy lineups. But I just wanted to take a second and state that these “lineups” could be more accurately described as “fantasy players to target”. I am giving you all the tools (players to target, value picks, streaks and matchups) for you to build your own winning DFS lineup. The guys who fit into my cap will be on my roster, but be sure to read below for guys who didn’t make the cut but could be the difference in your daily fantasy contest.

Today I am going to feature the stack technique. Meaning when you “stack” your roster with two (or more) players from the same team. Linemates whose production can be largely based off one another.

  • My roster

NHLlineup0217

Even though the Avalanche have been in a scoring slump for the past month, I almost took the chance and stacked the high-priced Nate MacKinnon with his immensely talented but low-cost teammate Mikhail Grigorenko. They aren’t playing together tonight, but a great showing versus the Canadiens earlier this season has me holding my breath. Grigorenko also has assists in consecutive matches. But due to the much lower salary hit, I will take Derek Stepan instead of MacKinnon and stack him with one of his wingers.

That winger being Mats Zuccarello. He’s been tearing it up lately with 4 points in his last 2 games.

In another stack I’m going with NHL scoring leader Patrick Kane and his linemate Artemi Panarin. Their numbers speak for themselves with 13 points in the last 4 games combined. Sven Andrighetto is also a great option at an ultra low cost.

Johnny Gaudreau had 3 points versus the Ducks in his last game, and 2 assists a game removed versus the Sharks. A matchup with the sinking Minnesota Wild can’t be a bad thing for Johnny Hockey.

Offensive D-man Tyson Barrie scored in that 6-1 beating the Avs put on the Canadiens back in November, and plays a ton on the PP. He is a solid option against the lowly Habs. Speaking of the Habs, Nathan Beaulieu has seen a big bump in ice-time since the injury to Jeff Petry. He is a skilled defender who can skate and plays the powerplay. He can provide you with the same results as someone like Mark Giordano, but at half the price.

I’m going with Calgary’s Jonas Hiller in net. A matchup versus the Wild, who have lost 8 of their last 9 games is great, and I like it a lot more than taking a guy like Lundqvist vs the high-flying Hawks or Crawford vs the streaking New York Rangers. Semyon Varlamov is a tempting option, but it could be a trap game. The Canadiens have switched their lines up and may actually have found something that works on offense to finally win a game.

Posted in NHL

Canadiens vs Avalanche Fantasy Hockey Preview

Montreal Canadiens (27-26-4) at  Colorado Avalanche (29-26-4) (8pm EST)

As I stated in my Daily Fantasy Hockey Picks article: “Even though the Avalanche have been in a scoring slump for the past month, I almost took the chance and stacked the high-priced Nate MacKinnon with his immensely talented but low-cost teammate Mikhail Grigorenko.”

They both played their junior hockey in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league, spending their pre-NHL days as rivals for Halifax and Quebec (respectively). “Hometown” players always seem to play great against the Canadiens, and this pair is no different.  Grigorenko scored a goal and setup MacKinnon for 2 goals in 13 seconds the last time the Avalanche played the Canadiens (Nov.14 2015). Tonight, they aren’t on the same line, but Grigorenko will skate next to Matt Duchene who is back at Center, and Jarome Iginla on the RW. The Canadiens have awful defensive coverage, and often leave gaping holes around the net. If the Avalanche really want this one, they just have to play hard for 60 minutes and the chances will come.

Alex Tangauy, Carl Soderberg and Captain Gabriel Landeskog are also viable options.

The Canadiens have switched their lines up due to an injury to David Desharnais. I see it as a blessing in disguise, as Lars Eller, the two-way, skilled centerman will finally get his chance with Max Pacioretty. Over the years fans have been hollering to see the two smooth-skating, big men play together, but Head Coach Michel Therrien always stuck with the diminutive and often disappointing Desharnais.

Veteran Ben Scrivens is getting the start for the Canadiens, and the incumbent Semyon Varlamov for the Avalanche.

Use this preview to help build YOUR winning fantasy hockey roster!

Posted in NHL

Here’s another installment of my winning (hopefully) daily fantasy hockey lineup. This week we are going to take a look at one of the lesser-known ways to play daily fantasy sports. An old friend perhaps, the point-spread.

In a point-spread contest, athletes are ranked by a spread rather than an appointed salary. There may or may not be a point cap, similar to a salary cap. The top players will be ranked below 0, and the “cheapest” players will be your positives. IE: Sidney Crosby is the NHL’s most valuable skater at -13.8, while injured rookie Lucas Lessio is a +7.7. The spreads are based off their FPPG production.

  • My Lineup

InsiderNHLLineup

I went with the small spread mentality. Don’t start too deep in the hole right out of the gate, and maximize your values. A well-balanced philosophy combined with boom-or-bust picks was my best chance to wrangle this one in.

So obviously my team is Montreal Canadiens dependent. Goaltender Ben Scrivens has played his best hockey of late, riding a three-game winning streak into Buffalo so I had to take him at -0.5 (a great discount for goaltenders). The line of Alex GalchenyukTomas Plekanec-Brendan Gallagher is one of the hottest in the NHL, so I went with Galchenyuk. The least productive of the bunch, which is why I’m banking on a break-out.

With that line so hot, captain Max Pacioretty is due for a return to the spot light. He started getting some chances toward the end of their previous game, and a young team like the Sabres may be just what the doctor ordered. Pacioretty was too expensive for this owner and his aforementioned philosophy, so we went with his setup man, David Desharnais. While we know he won’t contribute in multi-categories, if he can get 2 assists, a couple of shots on goal and maybe even one across the goal line, it will have been worth the gamble.

My joker, perhaps the X-factor…Jaden Schwartz,.The uber-talented young Blues forward is returning from a fractured ankle he suffered in October…49 games ago. He will find his place next to his two former linemates Jori Lehtera and Vlad Tarasenko in a line that could produce instant fireworks.

Marian Gaborik returns to MSG with his rolling LA Kings, so I’ll take the chance that the veteran plays a solid game against the team that traded him because he wasn’t effective enough for them.

The only big ticket item we have is Penguins Defenseman Kris Letang. His -9.8 price tag, or shall I say spread, didn’t scare us away.  A matchup with the lowly Hurricanes could be a tasty treat for the red-hot blueliner. His FPPG totals are just too ridiculous to even consider not playing him in with this matchup.

Alexei Emelin has been looking like a stud on his own blueline over the last few contests and his muli-category ability makes him very appealing. Not to mention Jeff Petry is out with an injury so Emelin‘s playing time will go up.

Checkout our daily blog for our previews and picks!

Posted in NHL

Buffalo Sabres vs Montreal Canadiens 02/02/16 Preview

Buffalo Sabres (20-26-4) at Montreal Canadiens (24-23-4) (7 pm EST)

The Montreal Canadiens suffered another defeat last night, this time at the hands of the 13th place Philadelphia Flyers. The general thought is that the Habs are about to roll over and concede defeat to the Sabres on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.

Personally I think Brendan Gallagher is going to lead the way for the Canadiens in this one. I believe the team is past the point of feeling sorry for themselves and will be flat out angry. They will skate hard, shoot a lot and crash the net to score goals, while giving the Sabres all they can handle defensively.

Max Pacioretty had six shots on net last night against the Flyers but couldn’t light the lamp when the team needed it most. He is streaky, so a few targets toward the net could result in a couple of goals. Watch for the break out.

Alex Galchenyuk created a few chances for the offensively challenged Canadiens but his teammates couldn’t cash in, so he may be another breakout option.

Sabres rookie Jack Eichel has been tremendous of late and has 34 points in 50 games and seven in his last five.

Ryan O’Reilly just came back from the All-Star game, and could take that experience with him to grow as a leader even more. The Sabres think they are slowly climbing out of the basement, and RR will have to be the man to lead the way if they have any hope.

Goaltender Robin Lehner has been good of late, even though his Sabres dropped the last two games he played. The Canadiens don’t have an arsenal of scorers, so one big save may be enough.

It doesn’t matter who’s in nets for the Canadiens, as neither Mike Condon or Ben Scrivens are fantasy hockey worthy.

Posted in NHL