NHL Daily Plays: Sunday, April 5th
Happy Easter and Happy Passover, and Happy Sunday to everyone not celebrating either holiday. With just four games, I figured it would be best if I went game-by-game and discussed which lines and players I could see doing well, along with goaltenders.
Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings
Coach Barry Trotz will announce the starting goalie at three, but we can assume it’s Braden Holtby. The Capitals’ power play was clicking once again last night, however, it’s very hard for me to load up on them for a few reasons. The Wings may not have great goaltending, but they slow the game down, and limit scoring chances for the opposition at even strength. When Nicklas Backstrom was skating with Alex Ovechkin, it was very easy to get exposure to Washington without having to pay for the “Great 8”. However, Backstrom’s wowy numbers are extremely bad without Ovechkin, compared to with him. With a 47% Corsi, and under 2 GF/60 for the Capitals when he’s on without Ovechkin, Backstrom is not a safe play. If you want exposure to the Capitals power play, you can always pay for Ovechkin, or you can take a look at John Carlson, who sits fourth in NHL defensemen in power-play points per 60 minutes. I am not high on the even strength matchup for Washington, so this could be the best path.
On the flip side, the Wings welcome back Pavel Datsyuk back to the lineup with open arms. Zetterberg and Nyqvist make for a nice cash game combo, but Datsyuk being back makes Detroit’s lines harder to peg. I think the Datsyuk-Tatar, or Zetterberg-Nyqvist combo make the most sense to use. I would not load up on both. Niklas Kronwall is in play, but he does not shoot enough for my liking, and is risky on +/- sites, as he will be dealing with Ovechkin all night. This should be a hard fought game. I am off both goalies.
Plays – Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyqvist, Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson
Montreal Canadiens at Florida Panthers
This is one of those games which will resemble a home game for the Canadiens. Anytime they travel to Florida, they get a sea of red piling in. With the Panthers having their playoff dreams officially shattered, I can no longer use the narrative of them being the more desperate team here. Facing Carey Price likely would have scared me anyways.
I am actually liking Montreal a little bit here, as they are still motivated to clinch the top seed, and will have way more fan support than usual, for a road game. The top line is absolutely stacked for the Habs, as they have Plekanec, Gallagher and Pacioretty all up there, and you can argue that those are their three best scoring options. Florida has no real shut down line, and I expect this line to really click well.
On the flip side, there is some merit to using Florida. The Barkov, Huberdeau, Jagr line has really clicked, combining for a 55% Corsi rating, and 63 Corsi Pace/60. They have really clicked, and if there is anyone to use on Florida, it’s these guys, however I would not load up. Some defensemen I like in this game are Aaron Ekblad and Andrei Markov. I would not spend up on P.K Subban, as his price is inflated for his name value. This is another tough game to predict, but I’ll give Montreal the edge, making Price a risky, but nice, option for the win.
Plays – Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Huberdeau, Andrei Markov, Aaron Ekblad, Carey Price
St Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks
This is the game that features two of the top teams in the NHL going head to head, however, both teams are going to be shorthanded. We all know about the injury to Patrick Kane, and his loss has really made an impact on the rolling Corsi charts for Chicago. Their possession has gradually gotten worse and worse without him. The Blues are likely going to be without Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen, but they showed last game that they do not need these guys to dominate possession. Players like Patrick Berglund, Dmitri Jaskin, and Paul Stastny all stepped up and played big roles. Jaden Schwartz was the big guy stepping up, as he recorded a hat trick in his last outing. As always, Kevin Shattenkirk is in play on defense.
A tough matchup in Chicago, with two teams missing some key pieces leaves this game wide open for pickings to me. While St. Louis is still going to compete, the big edge in this game is going to be decided with goaltending. Jake Allen is a mediocre goalie, with a sub .910 sv percentage, and his wins are a product of his team. However, without Tarasenko and Steen, and playing in Chicago, the win is obviously not safe. Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp, are all great goal scorers, and should be able to get some Grade A chances, against a weak goalie. I really like Corey Crawford, as he is at home, and on the healthier, and better team in this affair, and he is also the better goalie here. I do expect St. Louis to score some, but I expect Chicago to get the win in the end.
Plays – Jaden Schwartz, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Corey Crawford
Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators
Well, this has to be the easiest game to forecast of the night. The Leafs allowed 50 shots on net to Boston last night, so don’t confuse their 2-1 loss, with a close, hard-fought game. The Leafs are done, and are giving up way too many shots for their own good. Factor that in with a trip to Ottawa, who are 3 points out of the last playoff spot, and have their home fans behind them, and we can expect the Senators to light them up. Kyle Turris, Mark Stone, and Clarke Macarthur are a phenomenal trio of late, and I like them a bit more than the top line because of Mike Hoffman being demoted for Zach Smith. I have no idea why Ottawa would do that, as both Zibanajed and Ryan are much better players with Hoffman, but I still like those two regardless. Erik Karlsson and Patrick Wiercioch are both in play on defense.
The Leafs don’t have much to excite me, and Andrew Hammond will be the highest owned goalie of the day. There is something about Leafs and Senators games where we can expect the unexpected, but these teams are too lopsided. If you like the Leafs, you should stack them in a GPP, because of Hammond’s ownership percentage, and because it’s fun to see a player with a ~5% ownership percentage. Other than that, there is no reason to use Leafs tonight. If you choose to use them, the Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk line is the play, but proceed at your own risk.
Plays – Kyle Turris, Mark Stone, Clarke Macarthur, Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan, Andrew Hammond, Patrick Wiercioch, Phil Kessel