Preview: Blues at Red Wings

The St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings were extremely generous in their last outings as the former allowed eight goals in its fourth setback in five games while the latter was gouged for seven en route to losing its third straight contest. The Blues look to tighten up defensively Wednesday when they open a three-game road trip against the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.

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Ryan O’Reilly increased his team-leading goal (12) and assist (14) totals with one of each in Saturday’s 8-4 setback versus Winnipeg, but that performance was dwarfed by the epic five-goal effort from Patrik Laine. Fellow forward Vladimir Tarasenko tallied for the first time in 11 games for the Blues, who will bid to improve on a disastrous 2-4-2 mark away from the Gateway City. While St. Louis is hemorrhaging a 25th-ranked 3.32 goals per game heading into Tuesday’s action, Detroit isn’t faring much better with 3.25 per contest (22nd). Anthony Mantha unleashed a career-high 10 shots and netted a pair of third-period goals in Monday’s 7-5 setback to Columbus to move within one of speedy Andreas Athanasiou (10) for the team lead in tallies.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

ABOUT THE BLUES (8-11-3): Jake Allen is rather fortunate to boast a 6-6-3 mark despite a 3.27 goals-against average and .896 save percentage in 17 matches this season. The 28-year-old has posted considerably better statistics in five career meetings with Detroit, going 2-0-3, 2.13, .916. Brayden Schenn has recorded 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 16 career contests against the Red Wings while captain Alex Pietrangelo has 12 (two goals, 10 assists) in his last 14 versus the club.

ABOUT THE RED WINGS (10-11-3): Frans Nielsen (zero goals, team-co-leading 14 assists) hasn’t been shy about setting up his teammates for goals, but the 34-year-old Dane wouldn’t mind finding the back of the net himself. “You want to get some goals for sure, but at the same time I think you can’t get frustrated about it,” Nielsen said after Tuesday’s practice at the Belfor Training Center. “I know it’s going to come. I just gotta keep playing my game and hopefully one turns into more.” Nielsen has rebounded nicely since returning from a concussion, recording eight assists and a plus-3 rating in his last nine games.

OVERTIME

1. Athanasiou, who scored in the last meeting with St. Louis, has 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in his last 15 games overall.

2. The Blues outscored the Red Wings 8-2 to sweep the two-game season series in 2017-18.

3. Detroit G Jimmy Howard, who was pulled after yielding three goals on 16 shots in the first period Monday, owns a 13-9-2 career mark versus St. Louis.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Blues at Blackhawks

The St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks are far removed from the days when the bitter rivals were routinely battling for supremacy in the Central Division. As the teams prepare to meet for the fourth time this season Wednesday night in Chicago, the Blues are sitting in last place in the division – one point behind the skidding Blackhawks.

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A change behind the bench has done nothing to reverse the sagging fortunes of Chicago, which has lost eight in a row (0-6-2) and dropped all three games under new coach Jeremy Colliton. “When you’re in a losing streak, it’s hard to get out of it,” Colliton told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “You need a couple breaks, but often you don’t get them. You got to make your own breaks. And we’re close. Once we break through, that tide will turn and we can go on a run.” St. Louis got off to a dismal start with seven losses in its first nine games, including a pair of overtime defeats to the Blackhawks, but it has won four of six starting with a 7-3 thrashing of Chicago. “We’ve been winning some games this last little stretch,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told reporters after Sunday’s 3-2 home loss to Minnesota. “Unfortunately, when you dig yourself into a hole the way that we did, every loss really hurts.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

ABOUT THE BLUES (6-6-3): The loss to the Wild denied St. Louis its first three-game winning streak of the season and also marked the team’s sixth one-goal defeat in 15 games. “We gotta keep learning from this,” Yeo told the media. “Everybody’s sick of losing. So it’s just a matter of doing what it takes to win hockey games. At a certain point, you can’t just keep saying, hey, we’re getting closer. Or we’re getting better. At a certain point we gotta find a way to win these games that are there for you.” Center Ryan O’Reilly has eight goals and nine assists during a career-high 10-game point streak.

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (6-8-4): Chicago picked up its first point since Colliton replaced Joel Quenneville, but it coughed up a two-goal lead in the 3-2 overtime loss at Carolina on Monday and has scored 14 goals during the eight-game skid. “Just the way things are going right now that we didn’t find a way to get up a few more goals or two,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who is tied with Alex DeBrincat for second on the team with nine goals after both scored Monday. Toews has three goals and an assist and DeBrincat boasts four points in the three games versus the Blues this season.

OVERTIME

1. Blackhawks F Brandon Saad (arm) could rejoin the lineup after missing the past two games.

2. Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko has 18 goals and 28 points in 26 career games versus Chicago.

3. Chicago put F Marcus Kruger on injured reserve and recalled D Gustav Forsling from Rockford of the American Hockey League.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Blues at Jets

The St. Louis Blues look to match the effort from their best performance of the season last time out when they complete a three-game trip through Canada with a matchup against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night. The Blues snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory at Toronto on Saturday, limiting the high-flying Maple Leafs to 23 shots and getting goals from four different players.

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“It was pretty textbook hockey. Everyone bought in,” St. Louis goalie Jake Allen told reporters. “That was nice to see. Everyone came to play and. … if we do that every night, the majority of the times we’ll be in games and have a good chance of success.” The Blues hope to avoid a repeat of the 5-1 loss to the Jets on opening night and Winnipeg takes a four-game point streak (3-0-1, all at home) into the contest after outlasting Arizona 5-3 on Saturday night. Jets captain Blake Wheeler told reporters his team is still trying to find its A-game while averaging three goals, but Winnipeg has allowed just one in four of its five victories. “If we thought we were going to come in and thought it would be easy, that’s not the way this works,” Wheeler told reporters of his team, which reached the Western Conference finals a season ago. “I think we’re sticking with it through the frustration, through the grind right now. I think that’s a real positive. We’re trying to figure out what we are, what we do well. We’ll get there. We’re just not there yet.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NHL Network, FS Midwest (St. Louis), TSN3 (Winnipeg)

ABOUT THE BLUES (2-3-2): David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly each had two points against Toronto and lead the team with seven while fellow forwards Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko have contributed six each. Veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (one assist, minus-4 rating) was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career Saturday as he remained one point shy of 400 for his career. “I’m not gonna talk a lot about it because nobody likes being in this position,” Bouwmeester told the St. Louis Dispatch. “But it’s the nature of the business. … You deal with it, that’s all you can do.”

ABOUT THE JETS (5-2-1): Defenseman Josh Morrissey registered his second two-point game of the season Saturday and shares the team lead at seven with forward Kyle Connor. “I think I’ve been happy with the work I’ve put in the offseason,” the 23-year-old Morrissey, who had a career-best 26 points in 2017-18, told the Winnipeg Free Press. “I think some of those things are starting to feel pretty good, but it’s a long season.” Patrik Laine owns three goals on a team-best 31 shots while fellow forward Nikolaj Ehlers is still looking for his first tally since April 3 – a drought of 25 games, including playoffs.

OVERTIME

1. The Jets are 7-for-20 on the power play and the Blues had the second-most goals with the man advantage (nine) through Saturday.

2. Winnipeg F Adam Lowry, who posted eight goals in 45 games last season, has four in the first eight contests of 2018-19.

3. St. Louis D Alex Pietrangelo had six points in the first five games of 2017-18 and managed just one in the first seven this season.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

NHL Fantasy Hockey

Western Conference Finals Preview

And then there were two. The Stanley Cup Finals are quickly approaching and amidst all the drama of the semi-finals where upsets and stunners have been raining through many overtime sessions, the St. Louis Blues will face the San Jose Sharks in an epic Western Conference Final. Those two teams have made fantasy hockey players extremely happy with great bang for your buck lineups as you can imagine. Don’t miss out on this NHL Fantasy Hockey Western Conference Finals Preview brought to you by Fanpicks, where you can win millions in cash prizes during the NHL Playoffs.

NHL Fantasy Hockey Western Conference Finals Preview

For Blues and Sharks fans, this has been a huge relief after many years of great regular season action halted by sudden surprising upset knockouts in the playoffs. This will be the first time the Blues make it to the Conference finals in 15 years, giving them a chance to break their almost half a century spell and make it to the Stanley Cup finals.

What’s impressive is the way these 2 teams made it so far in the postseason.

First off with the Blues, who took down one of the most prominent dynasty in recent years, the Chicago Blackhawks in a nailbiting 7 game series. After winning that one, some players really stepped up like their usual 40 goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko but got surprising help from their centers, Robby Fabbri and David Backes. Jaden Schwartz also stepped heavily but it was truly their series against the Dallas Stars that showed their resilience. With so many weapons, this Blues team was a delight for fantasy hockey players but their physique and solid game is what brought them all the way to game 7 against the dangerous Stars. Their Coach Ken Hitchcock led his team’s awkwardly good composure which destabilizes their opponents. Pure fundamentals and this is what get you to the cup. However, their fatigue with back to back 7 game series could potentially open a crack in their game.

 

The San Jose Sharks, a team picked by so many in previous years to win it all as well, not only due to their consistent regular season presence but depth in their lineup. They have speed and a lethal power play that could make a difference in this series once more since the Blues take a lot of penalties. With skillful player like Thornton, Pavelski, Marleau and Brent Burns with a red hot Logan Couture, they’re favorites to take this one. Fantasy hockey lineups will be full of sharks players the next 2 weeks but beware of their depth. Their goalie Martin Jones continues to prove himself but can he take a team to the cup? That’s the big question.

This will be the Sharks’ 4th time in a conference finals since 2004 after missing the playoffs this past campaign.

 

We hope you’re as excited as we are for this series and will keep you updated with the daily NHL TOP performers to help you BANK BIG these NHL Playoffs in our Magic Million Contests.

 

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

St. Louis Blues vs Detroit Red Wings – 1/20/16 Preview 

The St. Louis Blues (27-15-7) face the Detroit Red Wings (23-14-8) Wednesday night. Fanpicks.com is proud to announce Rotopicker. A free to use tool which allows you to create winning lineups and dominate your fantasy hockey competition. Play the most exciting contests, including the newest Point Spread and $10K Grand Action contests only at Fanpicks. The premiere Daily Fantasy Sports site.

NHL STLvsDET 1-20-16

Taking the last four vs St. Louis, Detroit looks like the heavy favorite in this one, but will be trying to win tonight without their top defenseman Niklas Kronwall (knee). The absence of their stud blueliner will no doubt open things up for the Blues offensively.

A pair of Russian superstars will be at the center of attention at the Joe Louis, as 24-year-old Vladimir Tarasenko will face-off with his childhood idol, 37-year-old Pavel Datsyuk. While Datsyuk has had a long and very successful career, there is no doubting Tarasenko is one of the league’s most dynamic scorers. A monster contract this summer has not had any ill effect on the St. Louis star, as he is on pace to break last year’s career high of 37 goals (25).

Taking the torch from Datsyuk has been Michigan native and star rookie Dylan Larkin. The speedy forward has taken the league by storm with 14 goals and 30 points in his first 44 career games. Don’t be surprised if Datsyuk is the one shadowing Tarasenko, while Larkin is depended on for goals.

Brian Elliott, who has allowed five goals over his past two games will get the nod for the Blues, while Petr Mrazek (16-8-3) gets another start for the Red Wings.

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

Central Division:

St-Louis Blues:

The Blues have been the pre-season darlings recently.  Darlings in that pundits have been picking them to go deep in the post season.  Alas that has not been the case when the pucks hit the ice.  The Blues have performed well, but not well enough to lay claim to the cup.  What we expect to see from a fantasy hockey perspective come the 2015-2016 season is the continued emergence of Vladimir Trarasenko.  This gifted forward is “money” in the bank and will surely reward cash draft managers with a flood of points.  We also expect to see center-man David Backes return to an elite form.  If the price is right, Backes should be on your team.

Nashville Predators:

The 2014-2015 season marked the emergence of Filip Forsberg, for the better part of the year, Forsberg seem a lock to earn the Calder trophy, and unfortunately a cold streak toward the end of the season saw that dream fade.  The return of Rinne brought some much needed stability to the Preds.  We see the Predators continuing to show their faces in the spring dance, however we do foresee Forsberg taking a step back with the marked attention he will receive.  We will say that Rinne will be a good money value pick during the daily fantasy sports season.

Chicago Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks, reigning Stanley Cup champions and winners of the ultimate prize 3 of the last 5 years were forced to jettison some keep pieces this offseason due to cap concerns.  This will surely affect the team, we do of course see the Hawks making the post season but we do not believe that it is a given.  As far as fantasy hockey managers are concerned, we will say that we expect Marian Hossa to pay-off during cash draft leagues as we do foresee Duncan Keith continuing to excel on the blue line.  We expect high point totals from newly resigned Brent Seabrook and we believe that he will be excellent value.

Minnesota Wild:

The Wild finished last season with a total of 100 points and made the playoffs on the back of giant tender Devan Dubnyk.  But the Cinderella story ended there.  With names like Pomminville, Koivu, Vanek, Parise and Suter on the club expectations are high for the Wild.  However we will refrain from anointing them playoff contenders until we will Dubnyk excel for a full season.  That being said, in the world of Fantasy Hockey, we do see big offensive years from Koivu and Pomminville, 2 players who will likely come cheap early on in daily fantasy sports action and thus are 2 picks that should appear on your cash draft contests.

Winnipeg Jets:

The Jets made the post season last year much to the delight of its fans, however they drew the unfortunate straw that had them facing the Anaheim Ducks.  They lost thje series, but iun no way looked out-classed, they looked right at home in the playoffs, a tad wet behind the ears, but they looked good.  We expect to see the same from the Jets, and yes that means another post season participation.  In the fantasy hockey daily fantasy sports world, we do expect young center Mark Scheifele to have a break out season.  He will come cheap and will be a great value pick.

Dallas Stars:

The Dallas Stars were on the outside looking in on the playoffs last season despite boasting the Art Ross trophy (leader in regular season points) winner, Jamie Benn and a scorching (until he was injured) Tyler Seguin.  While we will stop short of anointing them a playoff position, we will say that both Seguin and Benn, along with Jason Spezza will be offering fantasy hockey managers fantastic returns on their investments.  On the Blue line we also expect a very big year (points wise) from Alex Gologoski.  The Stars can make or break your cash draft contests if the player costs are right.

Colorado Avalanche:

Coach Patrick Roy’s Colorado Avalanche did not make the Stanley Cup post season in 2014-2015.  While neither Roy (as a coach) nor Nathan Mackinnon are rookies any longer, we cannot, with good conscience pencil the Avs in the post season.  Until there goaltending is set for the long term future, we will not be seeing Roy’s boys in the playoffs.  What we will say is that we do expect to see Mackinnon bounce back from his sophomore slump and take the Avs offense by the jugular.  We do expect the young center-man to lead his club in points and be a huge reurn on fantasy hockey managers investments.  We also expect young Dman Nikita Zadorov to have a worthwhile daily fantasy sports cash draft contest season.

Pacific Division:

Anaheim Ducks: COMING SOON

Vancouver Canucks: COMING SOON

Calgary Flames: COMING SOON

Los Angeles Kings: COMING SOON

San Jose Sharks: COMING SOON

Edmonton Oilers: COMING SOON

Arizona Coyotes: COMING SOON

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