Each week, Daily Fantasy Radio breaks down the Saturday NHL matchups with top picks, sleepers, and everything you need to draft the perfect daily fantasy hockey lineup. DFR takes a look at all the games on tap to help you crush the competition!
Where to Play:
DraftKings has their usual daily freeroll, along with a number of double-ups and GPPs, but make sure to get your lineups in early because their contests include all of the games. DraftDay has a number of GPPs and double-up formats, however most of their contests just include the later games. FanThrowdown also has a number of double-ups and GPP matches, but they also just include the late games.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Boston Bruins
The high-scoring Flyers have their work cut out for them as Boston boasts one of the league’s finest defensive teams. While Giroux, Voracek and Simmonds have been hot of late, I’m not touching them with so many other options out there today, especially where their prices have risen. If I were to take one Flyer, it would be Simmonds though only because I’m sure he’ll pick up some penalty minutes getting into a fight with someone, probably Milan Lucic. The Flyers have been one of the league’s worst defensive teams, and they give up even more goals on the road, so I’d much rather have a few Bruins on my team.
Puck Play #1 – The B’s line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin has been on fire of late, and I really don’t think you can go wrong picking any one, or even all three, of these guys. Dougie “Fresh” Hamilton has replaced Zdeno Chara on the Bruins top power-play unit as he has started to showcase his offensive skills from the blue line.
Puck Play #2 – Tuuka Rask has just been outstanding this year and continues to make the Bruins forget all about Tim Thomas. While the Flyers can put up some goals, they also put a ton of shots on goal, which means Rask can really rack up the saves.
Washington Capitals @ New York Islanders
Perhaps the Islanders just hate playing at home in Nassau Coliseum because they give up a league worst 3.5 goals per game on home ice. To make matters worse, they don’t do much scoring themselves at home either. Geez, they must really not like Long Island! Conversely, the Capitals have really gotten it going lately by playing some stingy defense behind the much-improved Braden Holtby and by scoring a lot more goals.
Puck Play #1 – Alex Ovechkin has really started to turn it on of late along with linemate Mike Ribeiro. If you’re looking for a discount however, Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer have been productive, and Matt Hendricks is now skating on the top line with Ovechkin, which is kind of a nice place to be.
Puck Play #2 – I’m not very high on the Islanders as you may have noticed. The improved Capitals defensive play combined with the general disinterest in playing well at home make me scared to pay top dollar for budding superstar John Tavares. If you must take an Islander, I’d take Brad Boyes, who rides shotgun with Tavares and comes very cheap on most sites.
Detroit Red Wings @ Columbus Blue Jackets
While the casual hockey fan might look at this matchup and think the Red Wings will just crush the Blue Jackets, this game might be more competitive than you think. Not only have the Blue Jackets taken two out of three from the Red Wings this year, but Detroit’s only win came in a shootout. Columbus is on a three-game winning streak to boot and playing some inspired defense, but so are the Red Wings, who have surrendered just 1.8 goals per game over their last ten. I’d still rather have my money on the Wings, but I wouldn’t go crazy and stack your team with them.
Puck Play #1 – Damien Brunner has been a really nice addition to a Red Wings team that has dealt with a lot of injuries this year, not to mention the young Swiss rookie already has two goals in three games against Columbus this year. Niklas Kronwall has also been great for the Wings on the power-play and always chips in with a few blocked shots too. If you want some value plays, Daniel Cleary and Justin Abdelkader have been skating on a line with the amazing Pavel Datsyuk, and Justin finally broke the seal by potting his first goal in his last game out.
Puck Play #2 – While I don’t recommend taking any Blue Jackets given the stingy defensive play from the Wings of late, Fedor Tyutin is a talented defenseman that almost always produces at home, and he’s already notched three assists versus the Wings this year. Gotta thank @Golabattblue for this tip!
Saint Louis Blues @ San Jose Sharks
A Blues team that led the league in defense last year finds itself one of the leakiest teams this season. Fortunately, they face a San Jose team that has had trouble scoring more than one goal per game since… well, ever since Patrick Marleau stopped finding the back of the net. San Jose is due to get back on track at some point, but until we see some consistency from them, it’s hard to recommend many Sharks, even in a nice matchup. While the Blues do score more goals on the road, and they’ve been hot of late, the Sharks are really stingy at home, giving up just 1.6 goals per game on home ice.
Puck Play #1 – Jake Allen has already been confirmed in net for the Blues, and while the St. Louis defense has been suspect on the year, Jake has been fairly solid, picking up four wins in five starts. Oh, and did I mention the Sharks have been allergic to scoring? Jake might have a tough time picking up the win, but for his bare minimum price on most sites, you really don’t need the win.
Puck Play #2 – The Sharks have quite a few talented scorers, but they just all seem to be in a prolonged slump at the same time. The only guy I’d consider is Joe Thornton as he seems to find himself part of any goals that get scored and because he is simply the most consistent option. Antti Niemi is also a fine play as he’s been fantastic this year, especially on home ice.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Now this is the game that DFS players really like. Two teams that can score a lot of goals but aren’t terribly good at preventing them, at least not lately. Definitely avoid any goalies from this one as I expect both teams to score in bunches.
Puck Play #1 – Sidney Crosby is simply the best forward skating today, and if you can fit him on your team, go for it. His linemates Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis are also good options as Sid the Kid is a prolific passer. Kris Letang is also a great option at defense as he is a stud on the power-play and at setting his teammates up for goals.
Puck Play #2 – Phil Kessel has finally starting scoring goals at home, and he will have to pot a few to keep up with the Penguins. Nazem Kadri is having a breakout year, and he’s as hot as anyone in the league right now while his price hasn’t risen too high on some sites. Cody Franson represents a cheap option at defenceman as he has really been solid at the blue line for the Leafs. Clarke MacArthur and Jay McClement come at a discount and have also begun to find their groove.
New Jersey Devils @ Carolina Hurricanes
Again we find a team in the Devils that have had trouble scoring goals lately up against a Carolina team that can’t keep the puck out of the net. On the flipside, the typically stingy Devils have had trouble on defense as they continue to miss future HOF goaltender Martin Brodeur. The Canes have been pretty hot of late, and they’re a good bet to score a few in this one.
Puck Play #1 – While the Devils have been rather cold, Adam Henrique has found the back of the net recently, as well as Patrik Elias. Both come at a discount, and they’re the best bets for NJ until Ilya Kovalchuk gets going again.
Puck Play #2 – The Canes line of Alexander Semin, Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty have been one of the most productive in the league, coming only second to Crosby’s line. For a cheaper option, Jordan Staal has also been more productive of late as he tries to fit in on his new team and impress his older brother. Justin Faulk is also a nice cheap option on defense as he sees lots of power play time.
Montreal Canadiens @ Tampa Bay Lightning
This is an interesting matchup as Montreal has been a lot stingier on the road, while Tampa Bay has scored more goals on home ice than any team in the league. That being said, Montreal has been a bit more generous of late, and if any team can bust out with some goals, it’s the Lightning.
Puck Play #1 – P.K. Subban has been a lot more involved on offense of late, registering a lot of his points on the power-play, an area the Lightning are merely average at defending. David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty have been held pointless the last two games, but I expect them to find some success against Tampa’s questionable defense.
Puck Play #2 – Steven Stamkos is the best pure goal-scorer skating today, and well pretty much any day the Lightning are playing. Carey Price should be in net for Montreal, and he’s been a little shaky lately, so if anyone is going to score for the Lightning it will be Stamkos. If you want a nice cheap value play though, Alex Killorn has been productive lately and is skating on a line with Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis while even seeing some power play time.
Minnesota Wild @ Nashville Predators
Yaaaaawn, two of the lowest scoring, defensive-minded teams in the league. You won’t find any skaters from either teams on any of my rosters.
Puck Play #1 – I’m passing on the Wild. Sure they’ve scored a few more goals lately, but that’s not saying much. Pekka Rinne and Nashville just posted a shutout, and if Rinne is back on his game, I want no part of the Wild forwards.
Puck Play #2 – I’d consider Rinne on some sites where his price has dropped dramatically, like on DraftDay, but I’m not too fond of taking a goalie on a back-to-back. Minnesota doesn’t fire a lot of pucks on net, so a high save outing is not likely. Nashville has been getting its scoring from all over the place, and Colin Wilson is coming off a huge game, but most likely they go back to their low scoring ways versus the Wild. I’ll need more than one six-goal outburst versus Edmonton to buy into any Predator not named Shea Weber.
Dallas Stars @ Phoenix Coyotes
Now this is another game that has the makings of a high-scoring matchup, although it could be more of a boom/bust affair. Dallas finally got their top goalie back in Lehtonen, and other than his first game back, he’s been really solid for two straight games, limiting the Kings and the Blues to a combined three goals. If he’s back on his game, he can really limit the Phoenix offense. On the flipside, if Mike Smith is playing for the Coyotes, he could shut down Dallas completely like the last time he played them. Then again, he could also give up four goals to them, like he did on Opening Day. My money is on Smith giving up a few goals though, as he’s allowed 18 in his last four starts.
Puck Play #1 – Jaromir Jagr continues to amaze, even at 41 years old, as he leads the Stars in points and goals. He’s got four of them in his last three games, and four points on the season against Phoenix, all in one game obviously. Loui Eriksson has also been scoring some goals lately after a quiet start to the season, and he’s skating with Jagr too, so that doesn’t hurt. There are some nice cheap value plays on the Stars in Cody Eakin and Antoine Roussel. Roussel is skating on the better line with Erik Cole and Derek Roy, while Eakin is seeing time on the power play, so pick your poison. They have both had five points in their last four games.
Puck Play #2 – Coyotes have scored quite a few goals lately, mostly in that series with the Ducks. The only two guys I really trust are Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the blue line though. I’m a bit wary of the strong play from Stars net-minder Kari Lehtonen though and the relatively disjointed scoring from the Coyotes. Until Radim Vrbata comes back or Mikkel Boedker gets going again, I’m just staying away from the Yotes forwards.
Calgary Flames @ Los Angeles Kings
The defending Stanley Cup champions have gotten over their “cup hangover” for the most part and have been playing some better defense while scoring a lot more goals. They’re rested and get to face a Calgary team that got beat badly last night by the Ducks and who have been defensively weak all season. Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Stars at home last time out, they should come out with some fire and might prove to be too much to contain for the Flames.
Puck Play #1 – Despite the better overall defense, the Kings have given up at least four goals in three of their last four games, so it’s doubtful they shut the Flames out. Jarome Iginla is the most likely Flame to score, but Michael Cammalleri on the other hand might come a little cheaper, as he always seems to have a little extra jump in his legs when he skates against his former team. However if Jonathan Bernier is in net, I’d probably steer clear as Bernier has been the better of the Kings goalies this season and he already held the Flames to just one goal, in Calgary to boot.
Puck Play #2 – Kings coach Daryl Sutter just calls Jeff Carter “money” now, because the guy has just been ridiculous and has been scoring goals at a pace that would make Stamkos jealous. Maybe Sutter is simply plugging Carter into his DFS lineups and reaping the rewards, but at this point there seems to be no reason not to ride the train as Carter has now scored ten goals in his last nine games. But while everyone is taking Carter, you could zig and take Anze Kopitar, who is really the Kings most talented forward and has racked up ten points in his last seven games. On the blue line, I like Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin who are on the top power-play, with Muzzin coming at a significant discount on most sites. Also, if Bernier is confirmed, I would not hesitate to plug him in as the Kings play much better at home, and Calgary fires a lot of pucks on goals, so a high save effort is in the making.