Pictured: Auston Matthews
Source: Claus Andersen / Getty Images North America

Preview: Sabres at Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped a season-high three-game winless skid in style, overcoming an early three-goal deficit with six unanswered tallies to best an Original Six rival. The Maple Leafs bid to ride that momentum against another Atlantic Division adversary on Monday when they host the Buffalo Sabres in the third contest of their four-game homestand.

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“I think that first period intermission we just wanted to come in and just take a deep breath, get our composure back and just go to work,” said Auston Matthews, who scored and set up a goal in Toronto’s 6-3 triumph over Montreal on Saturday to boost his point total to 15 (nine goals, six assists) in his last 13 games. The 21-year-old capped a two-goal performance with three seconds remaining in overtime in the Maple Leafs’ 4-3 win over the Sabres on Dec. 4. Sam Reinhart scored and set up a goal in that contest and registered his third career hat trick in Saturday’s 5-2 victory against Washington to lift his point total to six (four goals, two assists) in his last five games. “I just like the urgency and the desperation in our game right now,” said Buffalo coach Phil Housley, whose team snapped a four-game skid (0-3-1) on Saturday and resides six points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG Buffalo, TVA, TSN4 (Toronto)

ABOUT THE SABRES (29-24-8): Captain Jack Eichel tallied twice in the first encounter with Toronto and had two of his club-best 47 assists against the Capitals to boost his team-leading point total 66 – two more than his previous career high set last season. “I thought we’ve done a good job the last two games for sure,” the 22-year-old Eichel told reporters. “I thought we’ve defended when we need to, we’ve worked hard, we played pretty desperate.” Jeff Skinner, who leads the team with 36 goals, survived a scare after injuring his ankle and reportedly was making jokes during the second intermission before returning to Saturday’s game to start the third period.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (37-20-4): Mitch Marner recorded his 15th multi-assist and 22nd multi-point performance on Saturday by setting up both of Zach Hyman’s third-period goals to boost his team-leading totals in assists (50) and points (71). The 21-year-old’s point total surpassed his previous high of 69, set in 2017-18. Hyman, who boasts three goals in his last three games, has posted 17 of his 27 points on home ice this season.

OVERTIME

1. Buffalo D Rasmus Ristolainen snapped a six-game point drought with an assist on Saturday and heads into the tilt with Toronto, against which he set up two goals in the first meeting.

2. Maple Leafs F Patrick Marleau, who scored in the first matchup with the Sabres, has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in February.

3. Buffalo G Carter Hutton has turned aside 116 of his last 124 shots, but only has a 1-2-1 record to show for it.

Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: Alex Ovechkin
Source: Getty Images North America

Preview: Washington at Toronto

The Toronto Maple Leafs have refused to let two straight setbacks extend to a three-game losing skid on eight separate occasions this season. The Maple Leafs look to nip their latest two-game streak in the bud on Thursday when they bid for a season sweep of the visiting Washington Capitals.

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Although Toronto dropped the final two contests of its season-high six-game road trip (3-2-1), coach Mike Babcock generally was pleased with the team’s overall body of work. “I liked our road trip a lot,” Babcock said after the Maple Leafs settled for a 3-2 overtime setback to white-hot St. Louis. “I didn’t like our game in Phoenix (a 2-0 loss to Arizona). Other than that, I liked our game every night.” Washington has alternated losses and wins in the first four contests of its six-game trek, although superstar captain Alex Ovechkin pushed his NHL-leading goal total to 42 with four in the last three outings — including two in a 3-2 victory at Los Angeles on Monday. The three-time Hart Trophy recipient joined Russian countryman Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom in recording a goal and two assists this season against Toronto, although former Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby permitted nine goals on 64 shots to lose both encounters.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCS Washington, TVAS, TSN4 (Toronto)

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (33-20-7): Washington waived pending unrestricted free agent Devante Smith-Pelly on Wednesday after initially planning to part ways with fellow forward Dmitrij Jaskin. “Right now, there is a lot of movement going on, especially for teams that are salary-capped strapped like we are,” coach Todd Reirden said. “Earlier in the day, we had made the decision to put Jaskin on waivers and we changed our mind and were notified during practice. We made that adjustment and now Devante has been put on waivers.” The 26-year-old Smith-Pelly has eight points (four goals, four assists) in 54 games this season after scoring seven goals and setting up one other during the Capitals’ run to their first Stanley Cup title in 2017-18.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (36-19-4): William Nylander, who has struggled mightily since signing a six-year contract extension, publicly welcomed the added responsibilities that come with playing the center position with Nazem Kadri sidelined with a concussion. “I thought we were able to create some chances, so it was fun,” the 22-year-old Nylander told the Toronto Sun of his line of Andreas Johnsson and Connor Brown. “I’m feeling pretty good, skating well and the chances are there. They’re coming, that’s all you can say.” The 25-year-old Brown had a pair of assists in Toronto’s 4-2 win over Washington on Oct. 13 and two more in a 6-3 victory versus the Capitals on Jan. 23.

OVERTIME

1. Toronto C Auston Matthews has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his last four games overall and three (two goals, one assist) against Washington this season.

2. Capitals D John Carlson has four of his club-best 45 assists in his last three contests.

3. Maple Leafs RW Kasperi Kapanen has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last five games.

Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: Auston Matthews
Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty Image North America

Preview: Capitals at Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs have tumbled into a tailspin that has seen them drop seven of their last 10 games overall and six of seven at home. The Maple Leafs likely won’t receive much sympathy on Wednesday when they host the Washington Capitals, who have lost a season-high six in a row (0-4-2) and surrendered at least seven goals in three of their last four contests.

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Auston Matthews is mired in an offensive funk, as the 21-year-old has just one goal in his last 13 games and three assists along with a minus-11 rating in his past seven. Matthews, however, has found success versus Washington as he boosted his point total to six (two goals, four assists) in six encounters after scoring and setting up a goal in Toronto’s 4-2 win on Oct. 13. Three-time Hart Trophy recipient Alex Ovechkin set up goals by countryman Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chandler Stephenson in that contest and registered his third hat trick of the season – 23rd of his career – in Tuesday’s 7-6 overtime loss to San Jose. The Capitals, who allowed the tying goal in the final second of regulation before falling in overtime, will look to avoid losing seven in a row for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TVA, Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360, (Toronto)

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (27-16-6): T.J. Oshie scored one goal and set up two others against the Sharks to boost his point total to 10 (four goals, six assists) in his last eight games. Nicklas Backstrom had an assist in the first meeting with Toronto and set up a pair of goals on Tuesday to lift his total to 37, one shy of defenseman John Carlson for the team lead. The 29-year-old Carlson set up Oshie’s first-period goal against San Jose and has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last eight games.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (29-17-2): William Nylander, who has just one goal in 20 games, posted his first point since Jan. 3 when he set up defenseman Travis Dermott’s first-period tally in Sunday’s 4-2 setback to Arizona. The assist was the 22-year-old Nylander’s third in 20 contests this season after he recorded 41 in 82 games in 2017-18. Offense hasn’t been an issue for John Tavares, who reached the 30-goal plateau for the fifth time in his career on Sunday when he scored in the third period.

OVERTIME

1. Toronto F Mitch Marner has four goals and two assists in his last six games.

2. Washington G Pheonix Copley likely will get the nod on Wednesday and bid for his first win since Jan. 8, when he turned aside 37 shots in a 5-3 victory versus Philadelphia.

3. Maple Leafs G Frederik Andersen (21-11-1) is just 9-7-0 at home this season despite sporting a 2.28 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Maple Leafs at Sabres

Auston Matthews has returned with a vengeance, recording three goals and an assist in two contests after missing 14 with a shoulder injury. The 21-year-old star looks to help the Toronto Maple Leafs extend their winning streak to five games when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

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Matthews began the season with a seven-game multi-point streak but was kept off the scoresheet in four straight contests before being sidelined. The 2017 Calder Trophy winner appears to have regained his old form following his recovery, scoring two goals and setting up another in Toronto’s victory over San Jose on Wednesday while also tallying in Saturday’s 5-3 triumph at Minnesota. Buffalo returns to the comforts of home after completing an 0-2-1 road trip – which followed a 10-game winning streak – with a 2-1 setback in Nashville on Monday. Sam Reinhart scored the lone goal for the Sabres, who won all six of their contests at KeyBank Center in November and have gone 7-0-1 over their last eight in their own arena as they begin a four-game homestand.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TSN4 (Toronto)

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (19-8-0): The rich will be getting richer, as William Nylander – who was a restricted free agent – is expected to be in the lineup soon after signing a six-year, $45 million contract just before Saturday’s deadline for eligibility to play in the NHL this season. The 22-year-old right wing, who has reached the 20-goal plateau each of the last two campaigns, figures to make his season debut either Thursday against Detroit or in Boston on Saturday as Toronto kicks off a five-game road trip. Mitch Marner, who leads the team with 38 points, is riding a four-game assist streak during which he has set up 10 goals.

ABOUT THE SABRES (17-8-3): Reinhart has been heating up for Buffalo as he enters Tuesday with a three-game goal-scoring streak during which he has netted four of his seven tallies on the season. The 23-year-old forward scored just once in his previous eight contests. Jeff Skinner was kept off the scoresheet Monday after registering points (six goals, one assist) in six of his previous seven games.

OVERTIME

1. Toronto LW Zach Hyman has recorded three goals in his last three games after scoring the same amount over his first 24 contests this season.

2. Buffalo D Rasmus Dahlin, who was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for November, has gone three contests without a point following a four-game assist streak.

3. The Maple Leafs acquired Michael Carcone from Vancouver for fellow LW Josh Leivo and recalled D Travis Dermott from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Golden Knights at Maple Leafs

While the Toronto Maple Leafs have yet to taste defeat on the road, their home cooking has left a bit to be desired heading into Tuesday’s contest versus the visiting Vegas Golden Knights. The Maple Leafs have seen their offense take a significant dip in front of the home folks, registering just 2.0 goals per game at home (3-5-0) after recording a gaudy 5.33 on the road (6-0-0).

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John Tavares’ numbers have followed suit, as he has mustered just four points (one goal, three assists) in eight games in Toronto as opposed to 12 (seven goals, five assists) in six road contests – including a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 5-0 romp in Pittsburgh. “A textbook win on the road, nice to get that feeling back. We have to try and have a little bit of that mindset (at home), simplify things maybe, trust who we are as a team and individually,” the 28-year-old Ontario native told reporters. While Toronto has prospered on the road, Vegas has struggled away from Sin City with losses in five of seven such contests heading into the opener of its four-game road trip. Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 34 shots he faced in Saturday’s 3-0 triumph over Carolina to record his 50th career shutout, although the three-time Stanley Cup winner is just 2-3-0 with a 2.81 goals-against average on the road.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Vegas), TSN4 (Toronto)

ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS (6-7-1): Erik Haula notched a two-assist performance for the second time in four games on Saturday and had a goal and an assist as Vegas split its season series with Toronto in 2017-18. Fellow forward William Karlsson tallied three times and set up another goal in the Golden Knights’ 6-3 romp over the Maple Leafs on New Year’s Eve. The 25-year-old Swede has yet to find the back of the net on the road this season, although he does have five of his team co-leading seven assists away from T-Mobile Arena.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (9-5-0): Morgan Rielly tallied twice against the Penguins to take the lead among all NHL defensemen in goals (six) and points (18) this season. The 24-year-old already has matched his goal total from last season – in 62 fewer games, no less – and hopes his good fortune on the road translates to the rest of his team at home. “We feel good about the road, but it’s time we assert ourselves in our own building,” Rielly told reporters.

OVERTIME

1. Vegas RW Ryan Reaves has scored four goals in his last seven games after failing to notch a point in each of his previous seven contests.

2. Toronto C Mitch Marner has seven assists in his last six contests.

3. Golden Knights D Shea Theodore is riding a three-game assist streak.

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

Top Fantasy Picks from the NHL Eastern Atlantic Division

The fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from each team for 2018-19. Today, we look at the Eastern Atlantic division franchise players.

Top Tampa Bay Lightning Players

Nikita Kucherov, RW — The 25-year-old finished third in the NHL with 100 points (39 goals, 61 assists) in 80 games. He also finished top 10 in shots on goal (279), power-play points (36) and even-strength goals (31). He’s a near lock to finish top 10 in fantasy points this season based on his 100-point potential.

Steven Stamkos, C — The 28-year-old had his highest point total since 2011-12. His 86 points (27 goals, 59 assists) were second on the Lightning behind Kucherov and 12th in the NHL. He finished tied for third in the NHL with 15 power-play goals, a trend he carried over to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he scored six (T-1st). The Lightning had the third-ranked power play in the NHL (23.9 percent) and should have the opportunity to be among the best in the NHL for a second straight season. Given the chemistry formed with Kucherov and Tampa Bay’s overall team security, Stamkos should a top center in fantasy drafts.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, G — The No. 1 goalie had a breakout season with 44 wins (T-1st in NHL), including eight shutouts (T-1st), a 2.62 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. He has the potential to finish as the best goaltender in the NHL.

Top Boston Bruins Players

David Pastrnak, RW — The 22-year-old has increased his point total in each of the past two seasons, including an NHL career high 80 points (35 goals, 45 assists) last season. He was plus-10, led the Boston Bruins in power-play points (26) and finished tied for 10th in the NHL with 13 power-play goals. Pastrnak, who finished among Stanley Cup Playoff leaders with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 12 games, forms the NHL’s most potent line with left wing Brad Marchand and center Patrice Bergeron.

Brad Marchand, LW  — The left wing had 85 points, tying his NHL career high from the previous season, despite being limited to 68 games. He scored 34 goals and had 51 assists, his third straight season with at least 34 goals. Marchand has been plus-21 or better in six of his past eight seasons, and factors in on the power play (23 PPP) and penalty kill (four shorthanded points). He’s also had at least 63 penalty minutes in each of the past five seasons and has greater value in PIMs leagues compared to ones with hits (37 last season; 0.9 per game in NHL career).

Top Toronto Maple Leafs Players

Auston Matthews, C — Matthews, who turns 21 on Sept. 17, leads the NHL in even-strength goals per game (0.42; minimum 100 games) since entering the League in 2016-17. He was better than a point-per-game player (63 points in 62 games) last season despite missing 20 games because of multiple injuries. The potential 2019 restricted free agent has room for improvement in power-play points (13 last season) and could exceed 90 points with a plus/minus (plus-25 last season) among the NHL leaders on a line with wings Patrick Marleau and William Nylander.

John Tavares, C — Leaving the New York Islanders to sign a seven-year, $77 million contract with the Maple Leafs (average annual value $11 million) has catapulted Tavares back into the top 10 overall fantasy rankings, right behind fellow elite center and new teammate Matthews. Coach Mike Babcock said he plans to start Tavares on a line with right wing Mitchell Marner (led Maple Leafs with 69 points last season) and left wing Zach Hyman (38 even-strength points; tied for fourth on Toronto). Tavares, who had three seasons with at least 81 points and two with at least 30 PPP for the Islanders (often with ordinary linemates) joins a power play that ranked second in the NHL last season (25.0 percent) behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (26.2).

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Posted in NHL, Top Fantasy Picks

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.

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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.

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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

DFS NHL Lineup

On this busy day in the sports world, we take a minute to bring to your our DFS NHL Lineup for tonight.

While there are six games on the schedule tonight, most of them are late night as this Wednesday night belongs to the Western Conference.

The New York Islanders will play the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 pm in the lone Eastern Conference dual, while the other other Eastern team in action will be the league leading Washington Capitals who are in LA to face the Kings at 10:30 pm.

Let’s take a look at my lineup tonight.

fanduelnhl

 

It’s rare I choose a Maple Leaf, but the kid can play. Soshnikov has been terrific since being recalled by the Marlies with 3 points (2 goals) in his first 5 NHL games.  The task will be tall as Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak will be out for 6 weeks so the crease is Greiss’ to own. He has been spectacular this season in relief with an 18-6-3 record, .930 Sv% and 2.20 GAA.  He is definitely the goalie to own tonight versus the lowly Leafs, if you’re willing to pony up that kind of coin ($9000).

I’m riding the Ducks train again, and as Perron is cheaper than Perry and the rest of the gang I’m sticking with him. He has been nothing but consistent since arriving in Anaheim and I like him tonight against the weak Avalanche defense.

Colorado’s offense  is another story. Not exactly the Dallas Stars, but Nate MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Jarome Iginla know how to score. At first I had Landeskog in the lineup, and then some tinkering got me Iginla too. Stacking the Av’s isn’t the best idea, so I kept Iginla in against the mighty Ducks (cause they’re good, that’s not their name anymore) as his veteran presence will be key in this matchup.

In the vacant spot I slotted in Islanders winger Kyle Okposo. I was tempted to go with Anders Lee as he has been on a streak, but Okposo is just a load when he is on his game, and the Toronto defense cannot support his weight.

Kuznetsov and Kopitar are two of the NHL’s best centers who will face-off in a dynamite game tonight.

Matt Niskanen has filled in nicely for John Carlson while he has been hurt. The bump in ice-time has come with fantasy rewards.

Shea Weber‘s been on a roll of late, piling up fantasy points every night. His goaltender Pekka Rinne is hot and cheaper than Greiss. The Pred’s haven’t lost in 10 games in regulation.

Posted in NHL

 

DFS NHL Lineup

With twelve games on the NHL schedule tonight there is a wealth of talent to select from to form your DFS NHL lineup. 

In this edition I went with an expensive, high-flying offense, two value picks on D, and a fair value in goal.

The Minnesota Wild head to Toronto to face the reeling Maple Leafs. Toronto has won just 2 of their last 10, and have dropped their last 3 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.

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

Matthew Dumba was my value pick. Rolling the dice on Dumba based on the matchup allowed me to afford Patrick Kane instead of Erik Karlsson essentially. (meaning Karlsson is still a great option tonight)

Devan Dubnyk could be priced higher based on the matchup, so I will take the fairly valued netminder over the 23 other starters tonight.

  • My Full Lineup
    fanpicksnhlmarch03

Filip Forsberg had two hat-trick last week for me in my lineups, so I like my odds with him shooting against Devils backup goalie Keith Kinkaid. Not to mention the Devils don’t exactly have a shut down center. Playing at home will create mismatches for the talented young Swede.

Evgeni Malkin returned from injury last week and looked as dynamic as ever. He centers Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin, a line that showed instant chemistry from day one and is constantly a threat to score.

The Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau is hot, with 17 points in his last 15 games. Buffalo isn’t exactly stacked defensively. I’m hoping for a multi-point game. I just think Gaudreau’s offensive zone dominance will eventually overwhelm the Sabres in defensive coverage, and the slick Flame will find the hole.

The Sharks’ offense is dynamic and Joe Thornton is playing like he should be wearing the C again. He was terrific against the Canucks earlier this week and has 21 points in his last 15 games. Playing with current captain Joe Pavelski helps. He has 29 goals and 61 points in 62 games. Tomas Hertl rounds out the trio.

Finally, Michael Stone is a tremendous value at $3800. He can play at both ends of the ice and should log close to 25 minutes against Anaheim. I’m hoping for a multi-category performance from him. An assist, and a couple of shots on goal and blocks.

 

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 Hockey Picks

Another edition of our daily fantasy hockey picks. We’ll take a look at what strategy I employed tonight, and who I ended up with using the standard 50k salary cap.

nhl2023

The secret’s out! I went with a well-balanced approach.

Filip Forsberg is the highest paid skater on this team, and while he didn’t score in Montreal last night I’m sticking with the Predators highly skilled forward. The Maple Leafs are in full liquidation mode right now and morale could not be lower.

Johnny Gaudreau is the prime pick, but as he is more expensive we will take the man of the hour, Andrew Ladd. The Winnipeg captain is the league’s top player available leading up to the NHL trade deadline and the lowly Jets are sure to deal him. It is most likely his last home game, so I’m banking on the emotions of the night to pay dividends.

Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist vs the Capitals on Saturday night, so he is well rested and confident.

Ales Hemsky has 5 points in his last 6 games, ride with him before he runs out of gas.

Steven Stamkos is hot, but Tyler Johnson is more affordable. Johnson should be surging back into the force he usually is, and is a nice gamble at home to Arizona.

Charlie Coyle has found the back of the net 3 times in his last 4 contests, and the Wild have woke from their season long slumber since the firing of former Head Coach Mike Yeo.

Matt Dumba has goals in consecutive games (3 pts) and has enjoyed a breakout season of sorts. He still has ways to go but he can contribute in fantasy, specifically in the goal department. A rare feat for any defender.

Cody Ceci has his ups and downs, but the acquisition of Dion Phaneuf takes some pressure off the young defenseman. He is playing more freely, so his points, shots on goal and blocks should continue to rise.

Kevin Connauton has been averaging 15 fantasy points per game over his last 4 contests – another great option.

Carter Hutton is 3-0-1 in his last 4 games with 2 shutouts. Predators vs Maple Leafs. Need I say more?

Posted in NHL