NHL Breakdown 10/20/16
Tonight we have an 11 game slate with several heavy favorites which should result in high ownership in a few concentrated spots. I will break down a few of the key games that I am looking to target tonight for offense and some spots where we can be a little contrarian.
Arizona Coyotes at Montreal Canadiens
After the Coyotes gave up 7 goals on Tuesday night to the tired Ottawa Senators, everybody will be looking to stack the Canadiens tonight. The top line of Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher will likely be the highest owned stack on the night, with good reason. The Coyotes gave up 7 points to the Sens top line and lost their starting goaltender, Mike Smith, to injury. Add to that the fact that Arizona has given up the second most even strength shot attempts through 2 games and brings back last year’s 28th ranked penalty kill and this makes the Habs the top option on the slate to target for offense. I love any combination of that top line in cash games, but Pacioretty is my preffered target due to his consistently high shot rate. For tournaments, the line makes for a great option as long as you go contrarian with the rest of your lineup as I expect them to each be over 25% owned. On defense, I like Andrei Markov who joins the trio on the top PP and comes at a discount to Shea Weber. If you are looking for cheaper one-off plays you can use David Desharnais, Alex Radulov, Nathan Beaulieu or Jeff Petry who has actually been the most productive of the Habs defenseman in the early part of the season.
With the best goalie in the league, Carey Price, making his season debut tonight for the Habs I expect nobody to be using the Arizona offense tonight, especially with the top line disappointing people in a great matchup against the Sens the other night. Price is not a goalie I would ever look to target against, but he missed the entire first week of the season with the flu (if the team isn’t making that up) and reportedly lost over 10 lbs. Add to that the fact that the Habs have been giving up a bunch of great scoring chances despite their misleading defensive numbers on the surface and I think this is a decent spot to have a little exposure to the Coyotes top line. The top line duo of Maxi Domi and Martin Hanzal should be getting a boost with the addition of last season’s linemate Anthony Duclair to their wing. I like all three in tournaments for their cheap price and low ownership but unfortunately Duclair isn’t currently supposed to be joining them on the top PP so keep that in mind if stacking. Stud defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is always in play and I like using him in any Coyotes stack.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Minnesota Wild
The high pace Leafs are playing their second game of a back to back on the road tonight in Minnesota. The Wild are the biggest favorites on the board tonight, and are a great place to target for offense. Through two road games the Leafs have had issues defending against opposing teams’ top lines, giving up multiple goals to the Turris line and Schiefele line last night. This makes the Wild top line of Zach Parise, Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle a great option to stack. Workhorse defenseman Ryan Suter is one of the best values on the whole slate given his high expected output tonight and middle of the pack price tag. The Wild do have the tendency to spread out their scoring amongst their forwards so I won’t be all in on the top line, but Suter is definitely my top play from this game.
Playing at home against a team on a back to back that just lost in OT the previous night puts Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk in a great spot to pick up the win tonight. Unfortunately this makes him unlikely to see a ton of shots tonight so I would prefer him in cash over gpps.
Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are right up there as one of the biggest favorites on the board tonight and are another great offense to target against an Avalanche team that has given up some big fantasy nights to opposing teams. The Lightning are a tough team to stack on a nightly basis since the scoring is so spread out between their top two lines and the fact that they split them all up on the power-play. But my favorite targets are Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman. Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn make for fine secondary plays.
Aside from a tired effort on the second game of a back to back in Washington, the Colorado offense has looked great so far this season. Particularly the duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog who look to be in for excellent statistical seasons. As huge underdogs once again I expect them to go overlooked on the big slate. I like them a lot in tournaments as everybody will be on the Lightning in this one. Normally I would like to pair them with D-man Tyson Barrie, but it looks as though the duo has been moved to a PP unit with Erik Johnson so I think he can be added to the stack instead.
Los Angeles Kings at Dallas Stars
Since losing number one goalie Jonathan Quick to injury in the first game of the season the Kings have been absolutely abysmal defensively. This is a huge departure from their reputation as being one of the best shutdown teams in the league. Their normally league leading possession numbers have also taken a hit after losing some of their depth in the offseason. Backup netminder Jeff Zatkoff has been a nightmare between the pipes so tonight the Kings turn to journeyman backup Peter Budaj who has a career .903 SV% in the NHL. This makes for an excellent spot for the Dallas offense tonight who’s top line may go overlooked to those who have not been paying close attention to the Kings this season. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and defenseman Jon Klingberg are my favorite stack in this one.
As far as goalies go, my favorite targets on the night are Tuukka Rask for the Bruins who are making their home debut against the low scoring Devils, and Steve Mason of the Flyers who welcoming the lowly Ducks offense to town for their home opener. The late game matchup of Buffalo’s Robin Lehner against Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom is also worth targeting on both sides in tournaments.