Welcome to this week’s Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy BOMB featuring the hottest night in hockey!
Each week, DFR breaks down the Saturday NHL matchups with top picks, sleepers, and everything you need to draft the perfect lineup.
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This week, @pete_elias takes a look at the twelve NHL games on tap and helps you build your daily fantasy hockey team. Let’s get to it.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Boston Bruins
Tampa Bay’s pace has slowed a bit of late while losing their last three in a row, and Boston has only lost once all year, proving to be one of the class teams in the league. It doesn’t help the Lighting’s case that they’ve only won once on the road while Boston is cleaning up at home.
Puck Play #1 – It’s hard not to look the way of Steven Stamkos or Martin St. Louis, but I wouldn’t expect a normal outburst from them in this one. They’re about to run into the brick wall that is…
Puck Play #2 - …Tuukka Rask. Won’t call a shutout here like I did last week (you’re welcome), but he’s playing as good as anyone between the pipes right now. Tyler Seguin is a bigger offensive name on this team, but David Krejci has been great, collecting points in six of his last seven games.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Philadelphia Flyers
Carolina has won a couple in a row now while finding a better groove than earlier in the season, and before their tough shootout loss to Florida, the Flyers had won a couple in a row too. Two teams finding a bit of momentum at the moment could lead to some good hockey and a nice opportunity for some goals to be scored.
Puck Play #1 – It’s all about Jordan and Eric Staal here for the Hurricanes. Not only are they putting up a healthy amount of points right now, they combined for 3 when they faced Philly earlier in the season. I expect more of the same.
Puck Play #2 – Although Claude Giroux is still supremely talented, the fantasy numbers aren’t there right now. No one is consistently putting up numbers for the orange and black. If you’re going to pick one, I think the ultra-quick and diminutive Danny Briere could sneak in to provide the offense for the Flyers.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New Jersey Devils
While the Devils are still their annual strong and steady selves, the Penguins have turned a corner and look downright scary at the moment, winning five straight and all in convincing fashion. After their 5-1 win against the Devils just a week ago, I would not want to play them right now.
Puck Play#1 – The big guns are all putting it together for Pittsburgh, but Chris Kunitz is absolutely on fire. 5 goals, 5 assists, and a +/- of 6 over his last 4, including a goal and two assists against NJ. Ride the hot hand.
Puck Play #2 – Patrik Elias is still getting it done, but I really like the emergence of defenseman Andy Greene. You can probably get him for cheap and he’s playing outstanding two-way hockey at the moment.
Winnipeg Jets @ Ottawa Senators
Neither team is playing great at the moment, but the Senators aren’t as cold as the Jets, and they’re just more talented in general. I see that talent holding court with semi-ease in this one.
Puck Play #1 – Can’t go wrong with Erik Karlsson on your blueline in this one, but I love Craig Anderson as a goalie play here. Hot net-minder right now, and if he lets up more than 1, I’d be surprised.
Puck Play #2 – I don’t like many Jets here, but the lone, consistent bright spot has been D-man Tobias Enstrom, who has had his hand in any offense Winnipeg has been able to produce.
Edmonton Oilers @ Detroit Red Wings
The Oilers have been hard-luck losers of late, with three of their last four losses coming after regulation. The kids have fight, but they can’t seem to get it done late. With an extra day of rest over middle-of-the-road Detroit though, I think the youthful legs and energy actually give them a positive result in this one. A win in Detroit is a win the Oilers can build on going forward.
Puck Play #1 – I see Henrik Zetterberg’s production coming down as the season goes on, but the talented vet is someone I simply trust right now.
Puck Play #2 – Sam Gagner. He doesn’t have the popularity of Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov, but the former high pick has a point in every single game this year and really looks like he’s coming into his own right now.
Phoenix Coyotes @ San Jose Sharks
San Jose has come back down to earth after their blazing start. I still see them getting back to their winning ways in this one, but the dominance of their first seven games has waned.
Puck Play #1 – Radim Vrbata is still the point leader in the desert, but Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker are cheaper options starting to turn some heads. If you don’t pick one of them up today, keep an eye on them going forward.
Puck Play #2 – As I mentioned above, the Sharks have hit a bit of a wall, but it’s still hard not look the way of Joe Thornton in this one. I like defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic as well, currently leading the team in +/-.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens
A nice little Canadian rivalry taking place in this one, with the Leafs playing better as of late. The building will be packed and play will be equal parts physical and flowing. This is the kind of game true hockey fans will want to watch.
Puck Play #1 – Still tough to get anything past Carey Price, but Matt Frattin is the hottest scorer Toronto has going right now. He’s cheap, and if anyone’s going to break through, I think it’s him.
Puck Play #2 – Star P.K. Subban has been great since he came back a few games ago, and as a cheaper option at center I like Tomas Plekanec as a source for a goal and/or an assist.
Buffalo Sabres @ New York Islanders
Both teams are playing pretty mediocre hockey these days, which isn’t a huge surprise to most. I think the Isles are looking forward to not playing a division rival for the first time in five games and take advantage here.
Puck Play #1 –Still all about Thomas Vanek for Buffalo. He’s having a truly magnificent season and I see no reason why he wouldn’t be someone you’d like to play here.
Puck Play #2 – Even though he’s well known among puckheads, I really like John Tavares not only finding his way onto the scoreboard, but also as a leader in this one, which could propel his numbers as the season progresses. Also, blueliner Lubomir Visnovsky makes his season debut, and I think he’ll be a boon not only as a fantasy player, but for the whole team going forward as well.
Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals
Anytime a general manager has to dispel rumors of a fire sale, you know a team is not doing well. That’s the current state of the once powerful Capitals. I think the freefall continues here, and I really don’t like what’s happening at all right now in D.C.
Puck Play #1 – I like Tomas Fleischman here to provide either a goal or an assist from the wing for the Panthers, and after scoring in four straight games but none in the last two, I like center Peter Mueller lighting the lamp again too.
Puck Play #2 – Ugh, do I really have to pick anyone from the Caps here? Center Mike Ribeiro is the only saving grace on this team right now, and for his price, he’s actually still a really nice play.
Anaheim Ducks @ St. Louis Blues
St. Louis is too good to continue their recent losing ways, and with Anaheim having a game last night as well, I think the Blues get back in the W column and outwork the Ducks and their tired legs.
Puck Play #1 – Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk gets the love for St. Louis, and for good reason, but I’m looking at Alex Pietrangelo in this one. He’s playing great lately and providing offense from the blue line, while he comes at a cheaper price than Shattenkirk.
Puck Play #2 – No Ducks on the menu for me.
Nashville Predators @ Minnesota Wild
Two teams going in opposite directions, with four wins in a row for the Preds and three losses in a row for Minnesota. I expect both trends to continue.
Puck Play #1 – I’m targeting two Predators in this one in particular. Center Colin Wilson is filling up the stat sheet in his last three and going against a Wild team that can’t score, I love goalie Pekka Rinne who has been sizzling in his last 4.
Puck Play #2 – Not looking at any Wild here either, there’s no one to trust right now.
Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks
Even when they don’t win, the Flames are still finding a way to score. The problem is, they’re traveling to Vancouver to play a better team that’s holding opposing offenses in check lately. I think the Canucks bend, but don’t break.
Puck Play #1 – I like winger Jiri Hudler a lot right now. In the prime of his career, building off his 50 points last year, he currently has 7 points in his 5 games this season, and it’s hard to argue against that kind of production.
Puck Play #2 – The Sedin twins are more famous, but defenseman Alexander Edler is continuing his trend of the last few years of being a consistent source of offense, currently tied for the team lead in points. Like him here and love him going forward.