Welcome to this week’s NHL Daily Fantasy Strategy BOMB featuring the hottest night in hockey.
Each week I will be breaking down one of the biggest nights in the NHL, Saturday. With 11 games on the card for Hockey Night in Canada, my NHL Daily Fantasy Strategy BOMB has everything you need to draft the perfect lineup!
New Jersey Devils @ Pittsburgh Penguins
The Devils have taken at least one point from every game so far, playing a brand of hockey that promotes few goals given up but only slightly more goals scored. I loathe the Penguins this year because they continually beat strong teams and lose to the crap ones. That makes my job harder and anyone who makes my job harder deserves a Johnny Lawrence leg sweep.
Puck Play #1 – David Clarkson is proving that his 30-goal breakout last year was no fluke, registering at least one point in every game this year and totaling 8 in 6 games. Kovalchuk might have more talent, and Elias more experience, but Clarkson is cheaper and playing better than both.
Puck Play #2 – Stupid Penguins. No one stands out on the team right now, yet they have a roster of guys that can explode when they feel like it. Crosby and Malkin are still all-world talents and the only two I’d look at until someone shows more consistency, but even they make me a bit nervous in this matchup.
Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo had been struggling record-wise aside from their most recent win over the Bruins, but their total goals have gone up in each of the last three games. I like the momentum they’re showing, especially with Thomas Vanek in such scorching form. Montreal had been playing well but just got manhandled by Ottawa 5-1. There’s potential for a decently high-scoring game.
Puck Play #1 – His price will be higher now, but Thomas Vanek is in serious danger of melting the very ice he skates on these days. His hat-trick, 5-point night gave him the league lead in points, but even without his last game, he’d still be tied for fifth in that category- easily the hottest player in the league not wearing a Sharks or Lightning uniform.
Puck Play #2 – PK Subban has resigned, but even if he plays he’s not someone who has his legs yet. I’m still loving Raphael Diaz on the blueline- the guy seems like he’s guaranteed and couple of shots and 1-2 assists a night.
Edmonton Oilers @ Colorado Avalanche
The Oilers are a young team full of former high picks who are starting to display all that talent. They play fun hockey and are producing results, with their only loss recently coming in overtime to the current best team in the land, San Jose. And besides their recent win at lowly Calgary, the Avs have struggled lately and lost to this same Edmonton team on Monday. I like the Oilers winning in similar fashion, finding the net a bunch and doing well in net themselves too.
Puck Play #1 – Wunderkind Taylor Hall is putting it together right now all across the stat sheet like a hockey swiss army knife. Goalie Devan Dubnyk has shaken his slow start and is now at ease in between the pipes- really like both of them in this one.
Puck Play #2 – Former Islander P.A. Parenteau is showing his offensive talent wasn’t a geographical fluke or system result, but his consistency, or rather lack thereof, leaves something to be desired. Still, he seems like the most explosive player on the team at the moment. A risk, but there are worse plays.
Detroit Red Wings @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit wins and scores a bunch, then loses and puts up 1. Detroit wins again and scores a bunch, then loses again and puts up 1. Detroit wins again… you get the picture. Not the same Detroit team of years past, they’re a headache to figure out. Lucky for them, they’re playing Columbus who looks downright awful right now. I like goalie Jimmy Howard and Mr. Datsyuk in this one, but my first pick is…
Puck Play #1 – Henrik Zetterberg. He’s playing really strong lately and added another couple goals last night. I could see him duplicating that performance in this one.
Puck Play #2 – Screw it, no Blue Jackets here. Stick to the above mentioned Red Wings. C’mon, Columbus, get it together!
Carolina Hurricanes @ Philadelphia Flyers
Philly is straight up shaken right now. They’re missing the scoring and toughness of Scott Hartnell, and Danny Briere isn’t showing up when they need him most. Carolina has been playing some nice hockey and even in their loss to Boston on Monday put up some goals and a decent fight for a while. Youngster Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal are two nice Carolina plays to look at in this one.
Puck Play #1 – I like older brother Eric Staal the most though in this one. The Flyers might come out swinging, and he has the size and tenacity to go along with some hot play as of late to take care of business.
Puck Play #2 – Claude Giroux is still on the ice all game long and is a supreme talent; with the Flyers as a whole on the cheap, you could possibly get some production out of him for a cheaper price tag than normal.
New York Rangers @ Tampa Bay Lightning
The Blueshirts are another team showing unpredictable and inconsistent play, especially compared to how they fared last year and what they were predicted to do this season. Tampa Bay on the other hand is a man’s team in a boy’s world at the moment, dropping 4, 5, 6 and 7 goals on teams at will over their past five games. Truly impressive to watch. Although it will be Coach Torts’ homecoming, his Rangers have yet to win on the road this year, while the Lightning are undefeated at home.
Puck Play #1 – You just don’t mess with a team this hot. I don’t see another 6 getting dropped, but it’s likely 3-4 goals from Tampa and guys like Stamkos, Lecavalier and St. Louis should get your attention as pricier options, with Conacher and Purcell coming in at more of a discount. Don’t be afraid to look in goalie Anders Lindback’s direction too. Yeah, that’s more than one pick, who cares!? I’m helping you out!
Puck Play #2 – For the Rangers, Del Zotto might be a nice find for his price in this one, but the only guy I’m really giving a solid look at is Rick Nash, who might be able to muscle his way into a positive stat line.
Boston Bruins @ Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs have played well the last couple of games but not against the stiffest of competition. Boston is one of the more complete teams in the league minus a hiccup here and there. I think Boston sends the Leafs back down to Earth.
Puck Play #1 – I’m putting money on goalie Tuukka Rask bouncing back from last game and getting a shutout. I feel like it’s a classic situation of him, and his team, forgetting about the last loss like it never happened, with Rask getting between the pipes and looking Tim Thomas-esque.
Puck Play #2 – If I’m predicting a shutout for Rask, then you wouldn’t think I’d suggest any Leafs, correct? Yes, you’re right. Just like the Blue Jackets, not taking anyone here.
Dallas Stars @ Phoenix Coyotes
Two teams playing sloppy hockey. Two teams at the bottom of their division. Two teams coming off the first match-up of a home-and-home between each other just the night before. I see more of the same sloppy play but with a little more rivalry-like spirit, which means that a couple of guys at different points in their careers could take advantage.
Puck Play #1 – Radim Vrbata had a very strong season last year, has continued on an even better pace this year, and was a really nice play last night as well. Look for him to feel even more comfortable in the quick turnaround.
Puck Play #2 –
Old-timer Ray Whitney might have been in the league when some of his teammates were just being born, but I like him in this game. He gets time on the power-play, and his veteran smarts against a team he played for and knows well could come in handy at a cheap price. (UPDATE 11:45AM: Whitney will not play tonight due to injury. Look to Mikkel Boedker instead.)
Los Angeles Kings @ Anaheim Ducks
Throw out any home ice advantage because Anaheim is basically another backyard of the defending champion Kings. Both teams are playing at about the same level right now, scoring a decent amount but not able to string together enough wins. A toss-up for the outcome of the game, but I give the Kings the edge in this one.
Puck Play #1 – Even though I think he could give up a goal or two in this one, Conn Smythe-winner Jonathan Quick is seeing the puck better lately, so I still like him to get the W and gather a nice save percentage as well.
Puck Play #2 – Bobby Ryan apparently forgot he’s a really good young hockey player, and Corey Perry is off to a slow start. Daniel Winnik is finding the net for the first time in his life, and he’s a guy I like to get another one here for a very cheap price. I also think that by next week his production will be maxed out for the year.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Calgary Flames
Owners of possibly my favorite uniform in all of professional sports (the red sweater ensemble is perfection, although I probably deserve a head kick for calling it an ensemble), the Blackhawks are pure class this year with four wins already coming on the road. The Flames are lames, even lamer than that pun you just had to read, with only one win on the season.
Puck Play #1 – Look at the Blackhawks at all positions to fill out your roster. Whether you need goals, assists, +/-, or a goalie, Chicago’s top liners will help you out here…
Puck Play #2 – …while Calgary is another team to avoid like the plague.
Nashville Predators @ San Jose Sharks
Along with the Lightning and Chicago, the Sharks are playing magnificent hockey of late, on both ends of the ice, and that will not stop against the lowly Predators. Even defensive stalwart Shea Weber looks like a shell of his former self now that Ryan Suter has left his side on the blue line.
Puck Play #1 – See that strategy above for the Blackhawks? Follow closely for the Sharks.
Puck Play #2 – See that strategy above for the Flames? Follow closely for the Predators.