NHL Power Plays – 10/16/16

Short slates can be a bit of a pain for everyone, so the goal is to try and summarize the potential plays as best as possible. Typically, it takes a few weeks before some hard data and trends can surface. In the meantime, there are a few tendencies that can be spotted.

Sunday features only three games with the first one starting at 6:00 pm ET. That is a little bit of a twist from the normal 7 or 7:30. Let’s begin with the goalies.

Anaheim Ducks @ New York Islanders

Back to back tests starters

Both teams lost by one goal on Saturday night as their goalies held firm, but not enough to get the win. Anaheim and New York both started their backups on Saturday so Jaroslav Halak and John Gibson will start this evening. Note the 6:00 pm start time again and both teams are on the third game in four nights.

Jaroslav Halak vs. Anaheim Ducks

What stands out with Anaheim is their propensity to shoot. Under new coach Randy Carlyle, the Ducks are shooting 35.5 times on net per contest. That is a lot- we’ve seen their mantra so far this season be to to put the puck on the net and attempt to crash the net. Halak’s first start of the year did not go well against the New York Rangers as he gave up four goals on 38 shots. Pace wise Anaheim gives as much as they get. The Ducks are on their third game in four nights, however, so this is a concern if they try to hold back a bit. There is a concern if they try to hold back a bit. Anaheim is the road team here. Calgary had a similar scenario last night and over the final 15 minutes (including overtime) they had two shots on net. Score effects were there, but they were visibily gassed. Halak may get a boost as the Islanders should be able to feed off a home crowd starving for a win.

John Gibson vs. New York Islanders

Gibson got a little rest on Saturday as he watched Jonathan Bernier get peppered with 45 shots from Pittsburgh in the loss. Anaheim’s starter faced just 20 shots against Dallas but the quality resulted in four goals allowed. Dallas scored three times in the high danger areas and had the same amount of scoring chances (20) as Anaheim according to Natural Stats Trick. Defensively, Anaheim is missing Hampus Lindholm who remains unsigned. Rickard Rakell, one of their best two way players, recently signed a new six year contract, but unfortunately, he needs a work visa which will take about two weeks, so we won’t be seeing him on the ice tonight.  There was little Gibson could do in game number one but urgency will force the Islanders to test him more than Dallas did (Stars had one shot in the first 20 minutes). The first game of an East Coast trip tends to be an adjustment so Gibson might be better suited for GPP plays than cash.

Buffalo Sabres @ Edmonton Oilers

Everything appears to be sets up well for Edmonton here… or does it?

Robin Lehner vs. Edmonton Oilers

Alas, the deck is stacked for Lehner as Buffalo goes on the “Northwest Passage” road trip bruised and battered; Ryan O’Reilly is playing but not 100%, and Evander Kane and Jack Eichel are both out with significant injuries. Despite all this and no Rasmus Ristolainen, they fired 31 shots against Montreal only to lose 4-1.What ultimately cost the Sabres was Lehner having an off third period. His health is always a concern but he has the ability to steal games. Edmonton is 2-0 after sweeping the Battle Of Alberta from Calgary, with Connor McDavid racking up six points in two games already. Edmonton’s top nine can push the pace and Buffalo defensively is almost on Calgary’s level so Lehner is likely to see more shots tonight; he is likely a high risk GPP play.

Cam Talbot vs. Buffalo Sabres

Edmonton has allowed seven goals, but have already scored 12, which presents the question- does the game pace help or hurt Tablot tonight? Does the high of beating Calgary twice bring complacency? That’s what will be answered on the ice tonight. After a slow start last year, Talbot had an average save percentage over .920 the rest of the way including three months where he was over .930. The goalie gets helped by seeing a lot of shots and has already faced 76 after two games, but it seems little has changed. That makes Talbot a pretty good GPP play and his price is not cost prohibitive so cash is even a possibility.

Carolina Hurricanes @ Vancouver Canucks

Eddie Lack vs. Vancouver Canucks

Your guess is as good as mine on this one- Lack can be really good and downright bad at times. His numbers were worse than Cam Ward’s last season, and part of that was due to some minor injuries but some was because confidence was low. He is still the 1B for the Hurricanes this year, and facing his former team could be a boost. It does gives him something to prove or that .921 save percentage two years ago was not a fluke. Medium and particularly high danger shots are a weakness for Lack as seen here. Vancouver arguably knows this better than anyone, so the risk is high to play him tonight but the price is low.

Jakob Markstrom vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina can put up shots, as the last couple seasons have proved.

Vancouver should be rested, considering Calgary basically fell asleep for most of the third period and overtime, and playing at home should help as well. The key will be if Markstrom can get through the early portion of the game unscathed. If he can deflate Carolina’s confidence with a few key saves early, that will serve him well later. Carolina is a young team where a goalie can get in some of their head, but they are dangerous. Markstrom is a moderate risk in all formats; tonight is not an easy goalie night.

Quick Plays (DraftKings pricing is used)

Centers

Leon Draisaitl – $5400- EDM vs BUF

Connor McDavid is going to be the chalk play of the night and will be highly owned in the three game slate (probably close or over 50%). Draisaitl is a middle of the road cost alternative that can still provide points. His four points in the first two games has DFS players thinking last year all over again, and they may just be right. Buffalo’s defensive pairings are okay at best and slots 3-6 are not exactly shutdown guys. Do not forget about Edmonton line two.

John Tavares — $7500- NYI vs ANA

It hasn’t actually been a banner start for Tavares but home openers often are a source of offense, but all it takes is one break,really. He does have six shots and five scoring chances during his first two games. If the pace is pushed, shots, scoring chances, and goals are likely to come. Tavares can do this.

Wingers

Loui Eriksson — $6000- VAN vs CAR

Again there are options and the Vancouver line one stack has to be considered as an alternative to Edmonton line one. Eriksson has had about as disastrous of a start as one could ask. He put a puck in his own net on a delayed penalty. Vancouver did ultimately win 2-1 in the shootout, but this has not been a confidence booster for rostering him. The look of relief when Vancouver won was telling. He should have more chances tonight.

Lee Stempniak — $4300- CAR vs VAN

This is risky and one can cop out with Jeff Skinner but why not here. Stempniak had a nice start in New Jersey last year and looks to be on his way again this season with Carolina. Vancouver’s team defense was quite vulnerable at times even against a tired Calgary team. The winger has a nose for the net and is on the top line with Skinner and Victor Rask. This will mean plenty of opportunity.

Defensemen

Cam Fowler — $4700- ANA vs NYI

Alas, Fowler has been pretty solid despite all the trade rumors and the coaching err style change. He is on the top pairing until Hampus Lindholm is signed and/or another transaction occurs. The defenseman has played better in the early going and is generating scoring chances like he did in junior. It may or may not last but Fowler is at least worth a look tonight. Justin Faulk could also be considered for Carolina (high risk, $6000 price tag), and even Kris Russell for blocked shots or Nick Leddy for power play potential.

Goalies

Cam Talbot — $8000- EDM vs BUF

It is arguably the safest play next to Markstrom for Vancouver. Talbot faces a team that can put up some shots but does not have several of their top offensive threats. Edmonton should be a little better defensively than they have been so far, and maybe tonight is a panacea of sorts.