NHL Power Plays 4/12/17        

Welcome to Playoff hockey Vicesquad!  The NHL playoffs are one of the most exciting things to watch, as teams get physical and every play has more meaning.  DraftKings has treated us with a nice GPP called “The Playoff Puck Drop” with a top prize of 10k to the winner, and it can be yours for only $6.00.  With only six games on the slate, and especially in the playoffs, people will all be trying to get the stars in their lineups.  That is a solid idea, but when it comes to salary cap you are limited in what you can do, so I suggest turning to the teams key role players.  They show up year after year, and sometimes make a massive difference in the playoffs.  Also when looking at matchups, don’t be afraid to try to find the depth matchups that can be taken advantage of because those guys could be the ones that help you carry your team over the top.  One last thing I always tend to lean on in the 1st round of the playoffs is, the home team advantage.  With the first round starting, playing in your own building is a great advantage as the crowd is insanely into it and it gives that extra boost.  Now let’s get into the picks!

 

Schedule for April 12th, 2017

AWAYHOMETIME
BostonOttawa7:00 PM
NY RangersMontreal7:00 PM
ColumbusPittsburgh7:30  PM
St. LouisMinnesota9:30 PM
San JoseEdmonton10:00 PM

 

CENTERS

Sidney Crosby – PIT vs CLS – $8,200

Crosby ended the regular season with a three game point streak and five points in those games.  The Defending champions get home ice advantage against the Jackets and it seems that this game could be a high event game.  Crosby is no stranger to the postseason, and this is his time to shine.  With Defenseman Chris Letang out for a herniated disc, Crosby and the offense will need to step up and provide more chances.  Pittsburgh will get to dictate matchups tonight, and you will notice that in the playoffs, matchups are huge.  Columbus doesn’t really have a shutdown role so it will be interesting to see who Mike Sullivan chooses to match up with.  Crosby and Connor Sheary have gelled together very nicely and they make for a great pairing tonight.

Connor McDavid – EDM vs SJ – $8,500

There’s no one in the league hotter than  McDavid and the top line of the Oilers.  McJesus has a 12 game point streak going and 22 points in those games.  Being at home against the sharks, he should be able to stay away from the top line of Couture and Pavelski (as of this writing).  Joe Thornton is ‘day to day’  The oilers top line has been producing a ridiculous amount of scoring chances 13.12 SCF/60.  San Jose will be a tough matchup for the Oilers because they have postseason experience, but McDavid is not your everyday centerman. Pair him up with Leon Draisaitl.

Joe Pavelski – SJ @ EDM – $6,900

The Sharks had a rough stretch at the end of the season mostly due to injury issues and missing key players.  San Jose figures to have at least Logan Couture back tonight and if team captain “Jumbo” Joe Thornton is sidelined still, Couture could be on the top line next to Pavelski.  Pavelski has been a steady contributor for the Sharks this season and they will rely heavily on him to advance in the playoffs.  The Oilers are giving up 9.8 SCA/60 which is the second most on the slate.  The Oilers are also giving up the second most shots per 60 (30.29) and they also have the most expected goals against on the slate (2.82 XGA/60).  The Oilers PDO is very high (102.71 PDO)  and should come back down to earth, unless McJesus and Draisaitl keep pouring goals in like they have the past two weeks.

Patrice Bergeron – $7,100

Bergeron finished the regular season with 302 shots on goal, which makes him third in the league with 3.82 shots on goal per game.  He plays the shutdown role at home and he is one of the best at it.  Being on the road, he should be able to get a couple shifts with plus matchups due to certain scenarios.  Over the regular season versus the Sens, Bergeron average four shots on net per game.  The Jackets didn’t finish the season too strong, they ended with a 1-4 record and 3.6 GAA in those five games.  Boston has played lights out over the past week as they have fought hard to get into the post season and with their strong puck possession numbers, I see this being a tight game but Boston comes out ahead.

Nick Foligno – CLS @ PIT – $5,500

Foligno is the heart of the Jackets and he looks to carry them into the postseason.  The Brandon Dubinsky line will most likely be in charge of shutting down the Crosby line whenever they can get a chance to, but they won’t have last change.  Foligno playing on the top line and seeing power play minutes is where im looking as far as the Jackets go.  Like I said earlier this matchup is a great matchup and looks even on paper.  Targeting the Jackets tonight could be a low owned play that could work out and here is the reasons.  The penguins have firepower absolutely, but they are also missing their top defenseman Kris Letang.  The penguins are giving up 9.53 SCA/60 which Is the 2nd most on the slate.  The Pens also have a hard time killing penalties as they rank 20th in the league with a 79.8% kill rate.  The Pens are also giving up 35.13 SA/60.  Last but not least, the Pens have the worst ga/60 on the whole slate with a 2.73 GA/60.  This should be a high even hockey game and having a player or two from the Jackets could be a contrarian play that pans out.

Andrew Shaw – MTL vs NYR – $4,000

Looking to save salary, Shaw is an interesting punt.  Shaw has been on the ice in the playoffs before and he is a pesky grinder that loves to get in the ‘dirty’ areas.  He plays on the third line for the Habs and he will matchup with the depth lines, but he should see some power play time with the top unit and that’s where we can get some value possibly.  The Rangers have some firepower but they also have a lack at defensive depth.  The rangers allowed the fourth most shots against per 60 in the league (31.4 SA/60) and their goaltending has been extremely suspect this year.  Getting exposure to the top line of Montreal with Shaw is a good idea for tournaments.

 

WINGERS

Max Pacioretty – MTL vs NYR – $7,000

Pacioretty scared fans when he took a stick to the side of the face a couple days ago, but he seems ready to go in the postseason.  He should draw the better of the matchups, as the Habs usually play the Thomas Plekanec line against the oppositions top line.  Pacioretty has five points in four games against the Rangers this year, and as I said before, the Rangers have suspect goaltending and they are allowing a lot of shots on net (31.4 SA/60).  Pacioretty is a great playmaker and he has a nose for the net.  He should test the depthless defense and shaky goaltending of the Rangers tonight at home.

David Pastrnak – BOS @ OTT – $7,200

Pasta had a really rough middle of the season, but has turned out 70 points on the year and he is a gifted winger with nice moves and a great shot.  He plays on the second line, and logs minutes on the top power play unit and he has logged 24 points on the man advantage.  He will get the better matchups tonight as the Sens attempt to slow down that lethal top line.  Pasta is no stranger to firing the puck on net, he ended the year ninth in the league with 3.49 shots on net per game.  If the Senators don’t have a healthy Erik Karlsson, they could be in a little bit of trouble and Pasta will look to take advantage.

Zach Parise – MIN vs STL – $5,900 / Nino Niederreiter – $5,300

Im writing both of these up because we need to see who is on the power play.  Parise has had a rough year and has dealt with injuries a lot of the year, that said he still had 42 points in 69 games.  He is a seasoned veteran with a ton of offensive net presence and upside.  He has five points in his last four games and comes into the playoffs playing really good hockey.  El Nino stormed onto the scene after the All-Star break and has been playing solid hockey since.  This matchup on paper looks like a deadlock.  The Koivu line will play the shutdown role against the Tarasenko line, leaving the Staal – Parise line to square up with the Bergland line most likely.  The Blues lead the regular season series at 3-2 but I don’t think they can keep up with the depth that the Wild have.  The biggest key in this series will be the special teams and goaltending.  The Blues have logged 698 penalty minutes compared to the Wilds 639, that’s a big difference of almost a full game.  The Wild have a lot of firepower and they can fill the net up in a hurry (3.34 GF/G).

David Backes – BOS @ OTT – $4,900

Backes is like the red headed step child of the Bruins top line for dfs purposes.  He is always under owned and he usually is kept off full line stacks.  He makes for a great tournament option tonight on a night where we need some separation.  Although he doestn get the top power play minutes, he does see time on the second unit, and he logs about just over 17 minutes of regular strength time.  It’s also no unusual to see Backes fire off four or more shots on net also.

 

 

DEFENSEMAN

 

Shea Weber – MTL vs NYR – $5,500

Weber has had a three game absence for a lower body injury, but will be ready for the playoffs.  He will be leaned heavily on for his duties on the blue line.  Weber logs big minutes and he quarterbacks the top power play for the Habs.  He has a solid floor because he shoots the puck about three times a game and he also doesn’t mind blocking a couple either.  His shot from the point is an absolute cannon, and the Rangers don’t mind letting other teams shoot the puck, and with their questionable goaltending I love Weber tonight.

Justin Schultz – PIT vs CLS – $5,800

Schultz has taken on Letang’s role on the point for the Penguins and he has played great.  He is logging big minutes and he is also quarterbacking the top power play.  With the amount of firepower that the Penguins have, getting a piece of exposure to all the elite expensive guys on the Pens through Schultz is a great idea because he is involved in a lot of their offense.  Schultz likes playing at home as he has ten more points at home than he does on the road and he is blocking 1.5 shots per game at home.  Columbus should offer up a lot of rubber giving him an even higher number of blocks tonight also.

Boston Point Man

Zdeno Chara – $4,700  Charles McAvoy – $2,800 Colin Miller – $3,100

The Bruins are hurting on the blue line, as their top offensive defenseman Torey Krug is sidelined along with Brandon Carlo.  That could open the door for some great value on the blue line for the power play and we need to see who will be on the point for the Bruins.  I would estimate that it will be Chara, and he has great upside if so because he will also block shots at a high rate.

GOALIES

Carey Price – MTL vs NYR – $8,100

Price had a pretty shaky stretch midway through the season, but he has since turned it around and has looked like the old Carey Price we all know.  His last two games were losses but im throwing them out because they rested players and didn’t have much to play for at the end.  Price at home has been extremely solid with a 2.09 GAA and a .923 save %.  The Rangers have some firepower so Price will definitely see his fair share of rubber, but with the Home matchup and being able to dictate lines, I think Price comes out with a victory in game 1.

Matt Murray – PIT vs CLS – $7,900

Murray has been a rock at home with a 17-3-2 record.  He is sporting a 2.50 GAA and a .924 save %.  The Penguins give up a lot of scoring chances and the Jackets have a lot of offensive firepower so he could see over 35 shots tonight.  But the Penguins also have a ton of firepower themselves, and I think it will be too much for the Columbus especially at home.