NHL Grind Down: Saturday, March 10th

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The RotoGrinders NHL Grind Down article will give you an in-depth analysis into the NHL schedule. This article will break down the numbers for every single game and give you analysis on which trends you can exploit. While matchups are a major factor in daily fantasy hockey there are plenty of other factors to consider such as injuries, salaries, and more.

The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. Hockey is an extremely high variance sport. The best choice is not always the right choice but following the trends will win you money over time.

Remember, these writeups are done prior to lineups being released, so make sure to check our Starting Lineups page to ensure the recommended options are playing.

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Winnipeg Jets at Philadelphia Flyers

Winnipeg Jets Philadelphia Flyers
Connor Hellebuyck Petr Mrazek
Record Record
41-17-9 34-23-11
Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK% Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK%
Team Stats 3.34 2.61 24.44 82.74 Team Stats 2.93 2.87 20.18 75.52

Backed by a nice 8-2 record over the last few weeks the Winnipeg Jets have been able to skate right into second place in the Central Division and basically guarantee themselves a ticket to the end of the season dance. Patrik Laine has had a huge role in the Jets recent success as he has lit the lamp at least 39 times this season with 11 of those goals coming over the last seven games. Laine skates with Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers on what has become the team’s top line while Blake Wheeler has been skating with Bryan Little and Kyle Connor. Mark Scheifele will sit out yet another game so sticking with Laine or Wheeler would be the thing to do as Wheeler’s 75 points is tops on the team. Joel Armia looks to be a punt play here as he joins Wheeler, Laine and Ehlers on the team’s top power play unit. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien looks to be back on top of his game as he has grabbed seven of his 37 points over the last seven games. Tyler Myers has been quiet of late but has still managed to post 34 points this season which isn’t bad as secondary defenseman scoring goes. Winnipeg catches the Flyers without a bona fide goaltender and could come away with the victory this afternoon.

The Flyers have hit a rough spot of late and that is mostly due to having their top two goalies not available to them. They have lost their last five games which has thwarted their plans of taking over the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. They remain in third place with 79 points and will need to get things back on track if they don’t want to lose their hold on the playoff spot that they have eraned so far. Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny skate on the top line while Jakub Voracek, Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom skate on the second line. Patrick has seen a bump in ice time as he joins Voracek, Giroux and Couturier on the top power play unit. Giroux leads the team with 80 points while Couturier’s 29 goals is tops on the team. Wayne Simmonds has returned to the line-up and I am not sure why he isn’t back on the second line with Voracek and Patrick. This is how the Flyers were playing better hockey so it wouldn’t surprise me if that move happens if the Flyers were to get off to a bad start this afternoon. Shayne Gostisbehere is the safest option on the blue line as he has recorded half of his 50 points while quarterbacking the team’s top power play unit. Ivan Provorov continues to be a cheaper option as he has grabbed four of his 32 points over the last eight games. The Flyers need to turn things around so a good effort is needed here.

Top Plays

WIN: Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler
PHL: Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek

Secondary Plays

WIN: Nikolaj Ehlers, Dustin Byfuglien, Paul Stastny, Kyle Connor
PHL: Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere, Wayne Simmonds, Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick

Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning

Montreal Canadiens Tampa Bay Lightning
Antti Niemi Andrei Vasilevskiy
Record Record
25-31-11 47-17-4
Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK% Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK%
Team Stats 2.52 3.07 19.90 76.28 Team Stats 3.60 2.75 23.81 77.68

The Montreal Canadiens are a team that certainly would like a do-over if there was such a thing in professional sports. They were 10 points away from the Florida Panthers for the third spot in the Atlantic Division going into Thursday night’s action and barring a miracle, will not be part of this year’s end of the season tournament. Losing Shea Weber after 26 games surely didn’t help matters but now Max Pacioretty is out with a more than likely season ending injury while Phillip Danault has been experiencing a vertigo and headache problem. This leaves Montreal no choice but to have Jonathan Drouin skate with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk on the top line while Artturi Lehkonen, Paul Byron and Jacob De La Rose skate on the second line. Montreal has been changing up their lines quite frequently over the past few games so look for that to continue tonight. Gallagher is the easy one-off here as he leads the team with 24 goals and was the only Montreal player to tally more than 40 points going into Thursday night’s action. Defenseman Jeff Petry is the play on the back line as he has been enjoying a decent season while quarterbacking the team’s top power play unit. He has seen 17 of his 32 points come with the extra attacker while Weber’s 16 points is second on the team in scoring where the defensemen are concerned. Look for the Canadiens to have quite a bit of trouble here this afternoon against one of the best teams in the league.

Tampa Bay should have a field day this afternoon against a Montreal team that comes in limping and wounded. The Lightning lead the Atlantic Division so taking care of business in front of the home fans against a weak team should’t be a problem. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson have been skating on the top line and should be heavily owned in cash game play this afternoon. Kucherov led the league with 86 points going into Thursday’s action while Stamkos has been in the top five in points for most of the season. Both had registered 31 power play points through the first 67 games so pairing them up is the best bet here, if you can afford it. Yanni Gourde, J.T. Miller and Brayden Point skate on the team’s second line and should be looked at as a GPP play if you want to deviate from the top line. Point and Gourde have each tallied over 23 goals so far this season while each have already eclipsed the 50 point mark for the season. Victor Hedman is the chalk play on the blue line as he has recorded 20 of his 49 points while quarterbacking the team’s top power play in the first 67 games. Mikhail Sergachev was a decent punt play but has been cold of late as evidence of not finding the score sheet in seven of the last eight games.

Top Plays

MTL: None
TB: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos

Secondary Plays

MTL: Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, Jonathan Drouin, Jeff Petry, Artturi Lehkonen
TB: Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point

Vegas Golden Knights at Buffalo Sabres

Vegas Golden Knights Buffalo Sabres
Marc-Andre Fleury Robin Lehner
Record Record
43-19-5 22-35-11
Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK% Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK%
Team Stats 3.39 2.72 20.98 80.31 Team Stats 2.40 3.25 16.99 79.00

The Vegas Golden Knights have been the talk of the NHL season and now look to see what they can do without a few of their key players. Defenseman Nate Schmidt has missed three games due to an injury and may be back tonight while both James Neal and Reilly Smith have each missed games with hand injuries. Luckily the team is in first place by more than eight points in the Pacific Division so a loss here and there won’t affect them as much as it would other teams that are fighting for playoff spots. Newcomer Tomas Tatar is helping to fill one of those voids as he has been skating with Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson on the top line while David Perron and Erik Haula has been joined by Tomas Hyka on the team’s second line. Marchessault leads the team with over 64 points while Karlsson has added 35 goals which is tops on the team. This is more than enough reason to pair them up in tournament play as the Golden Knights are playing a Buffalo team that has played two games over the last three days. Alex Tuch is the one-off here as he skates on the third line but gets to play on the team’s top power play line next with the team’s top scoring leaders. Schmidt would appear to be the chalk play from the back line as he usually gets a few extra minutes of power play time thrown his way but maybe Colin Miller is the safer play here. Miller had 35 points going into Thursday night’s game which was the best of all Vegas defensemen so far this season.

Buffalo is a team that is looking towards next year as they sit in last place in the Atlantic Division. Jack Eichel leads the team with 22 goals and 31 assists but the problem here is that he is hurt and there is no timetable for his return. Another problem arises when you realize that Evander Kane, who now plays for San Jose, is the team’s third best scorer while Ryan O’Reilly is sandwiched in between them. This had forced the Sabres to have Sam Reinhart and Zemgus Girgensons skate with O’Reilly on the top line while Kyle Okposo skates with Jordan Nolan and Jacob Josefson on the team’s second line. Now with Okposo out with a concussion it’s anyone’s guess as to what the lines will look like this afternoon as there is really not much left to choose from. Jason Pominville has been productive of late from the third line as he had racked up seven of his paltry 27 points over the last eight games. It’s O’Reilly or bust here if you want to make money this afternoon. Rasmus Ristolainen is the choice from the back line as he has grabbed 17 of his 33 points while quarterbacking the team’s top power play unit. Marco Scandella is the second best defensemen the Sabres have in terms of scoring but he hasn’t hit 20 points so far this season so looking elsewhere is the order of the day here. Buffalo is a bad team in the midst of rebuilding as they look for their 11th win in front of the home crowd this afternoon.

Top Plays

VGS: Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson
BUF: Ryan O’Reilly

Secondary Plays

VGS: David Perron, Erik Haula, Colin Miller
BUF: Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen

Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks Boston Bruins
Jean-Francois Berube Tuukka Rask
Record Record
29-31-8 42-15-8
Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK% Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK%
Team Stats 2.81 2.91 15.55 81.82 Team Stats 3.31 2.51 20.77 82.83

The Blackhawks have been one of the biggest disappointments of the season as they more than likely will not finish any higher than last place in the Central Division. There are a plethora of reasons for the fall of the Blackhawks this season with scoring goals being one of them. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been re-united to try to jump start the team but even that move has been met with mixed reviews. Kane is the chalk play here as he leads the team in goals and assists while Nick Schmaltz, Alex Debrincat and Toews have all reached them 40 point plateau but are still at least 15 points away from Kane in the scoring department. Kane is also in them top five in the league with over 240 shots on goal. Schmaltz and Debrincat skate with Vinnie Hinostroza on the team’s second line while Artem Anisimov skates with the top line when Chicago draws a penalty but normally skates on the third line in the 5×5 situations. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are the safest choices on the back line but as you can imagine, their production has been down this season so in all reality, you are just paying for the name and not the quality. Keith is registering well under a half point a game while Seabrook hadn’t cracked the 20 point plateau going into Thursday night’s game. Stick with Kane and any other players that get exposure to him this evening as Chicago has managed just one road win in their last nine tries.

Boston has run into a few personnel problems as Patrice Bergeron is still nursing his fractured foot while David Backes is in the middle of serving a three game suspension. Boston is comfortably in second place in the Atlantic Division and should easily slide into the playoffs regardless of what happens over the next few weeks. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have been joined by Riley Nash in Bergeron’s absence on the top line and should be looked at as a line to target for your cash game plays this afternoon. Marchand leads the team in goals and assists as he has collected well over a point a game while receiving a good chunk of extra ice time when the team draws a penalty. Pastrnak joins him along with Rick Nash and Danton Heinen on the top power play unit. Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci skate with Rick Nash on the second line while Heinen makes for a decent punt play here based on his third line status. Torey Krug is the chalk play from the blue line as he soaks up over 20 minutes a game and is the quarterback on Boston’s top power play unit. Matt Grzelcyk can be a punt play here as he will fill in for the injured Charlie McAvoy who is out a few weeks with a sprained left MCL. Look for the Bruins to be scrappy and tested as they play without a few key parts.

Top Plays

CHI: Patrick Kane
BOS: Brad Marchand

Secondary Plays

CHI: Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, Brandon Saad, Alex Debrincat, Duncan Keith
BOS: David Pastrnak, Torey Krug, Riley Nash, Rick Nash, David Krejci

Arizona Coyotes at Colorado Avalanche

Arizona Coyotes Colorado Avalanche
Antti Raanta Jonathan Bernier
Record Record
21-34-11 35-24-8
Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK% Stats GF/GP GA/GP PP% PK%
Team Stats 2.41 3.17 16.92 79.55 Team Stats 3.12 2.97 20.48 83.19

If you’ve been tracking the Arizona Coyotes of late you know that they have won eight of their last 11 games while only scoring more than three goals in just two of those games. While this is good if you are picking on their goalies on a nightly basis it doesn’t have the same effect for their skaters. Clayton Keller, Derek Stepan and Brendan Perlini skate on the top which means that Christian Dvorak, Max Domi and Christian Fischer are left to patrol things on the second line. Arizona has gone to using their best six players on the top two lines which could be a reason why they have been playing more consistent hockey of late. Unfortunately all the wins in the world won’t help the team make the playoffs this season as their 53 points have the then 24 points out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Keller leads the team with 18 goals and 48 points while Stepan and his six points over the last two weeks has helped him take the team lead with 31 assists so far this season. All three serve on the top power play unit that has been sporadic at best as they have notched just three goals over the last eight games. Dvorak has a GPP punt play to him here skating on the second line as he has grabbed 25 shots on goal over the last seven games while scoring twice and adding an assists to his two week total. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the play on the back line as he soaks up the majority of then ice time on the back line. His four points over the last seven games has put him third on the team in scoring with 33 points. As you can see all of these totals are low which is what you would expect from a team that doesn’t score many goals, even when they are winning.

Colorado has re-united the top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog just in time for their home date against the visiting Arizona Coyotes. You can even use MacKinnon as a one-off here as he has grabbed 32 goals and 47 assists in the 59 games he has appeared in while Rantanen is second on the team with 66 points. Meanwhile Tyson Jost will skate with J.T. Compher and Sven Andrighetto on the second line while Alexander Kerfoot has been demoted to the fourth line in light of his early season success. Look for the top line to stay together on the team’s top power play unit and be joined by defenseman Tyson Barrie who has notched 44 points so far this season. Hopefully all of the shuffling around has a positive effect as the team was just one point away from the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. That is a far cry from where the team was a year ago today. Colorado is 23-8-2 on home ice so look for the top line to do the damage this afternoon.

Top Plays

ARZ: Derek Stepan
COL: Nathan MacKinnon

Secondary Plays

ARZ: Clayton Keller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Christian Fischer, Brendan Perlini, Max Domi
COL: Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie

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About the Author

  • Tom Woollam (elctrceye)

  • Tom Woollam is a freelance DFS writer and has been a member here at RotoGrinders.com since December 2011. He has played Fantasy Sports for the last 30 years and has been in the daily fantasy sports game for the last four. You can find him on twitter @elctrceye.

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