NHL Grind Down: Saturday, November 7th - Page Two
Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens – 07:00 PM EST
|Boston Bruins||Montreal Canadiens|
|Tuukka Rask||Carey Price|
|Team Stats||3.58||3.33||35.00%||70.50%||Team Stats|
The Boston Bruins travel to Montreal tonight to take on the Canadiens in what should be both an entertaining and fantasy-relevant game. The Bruins are second in the league in goals scored per game (3.58) and first in the league in power-play percentage (35%). David Krejci has been extremely consistent (15 points in 12 games) playing alongside Loui Eriksson (11 points in 12 games). The second line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Brett Connolly has also been highly productive, combining for 27 points on the nascent season. The match-up against Montreal, however, is quite poor. The Canadiens only allow 1.80 goals against per game (3rd-best in the NHL) and are also extremely efficient on the penalty kill, holding off the opposition at an 89.8% rate (also 3rd-best in the NHL). The Bruins make for intriguing tournament plays tonight as the upside is definitely there, but I’m hesitant to recommend them for cash games as the match-up against Montreal is quite poor, especially on home ice.
Montreal hosts the Bruins tonight and will look to improve on their league-leading 12-2-1 record. The Canadiens are in an exceptional spot to light up the score sheet on home ice, as the Bruins are 3rd-to-last in the league in goals allowed per game (3.33) and have a putrid penalty kill percentage of 70.4%. The top line of Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, and Brendan Gallagher is firmly in play given their top unit power-play presence, despite the fact that Boston coach Claude Julien will try his best to shut them down at even strength with Patrice Bergeron. Montreal has received balanced scoring throughout the lineup of late, so look to the second and third lines as viable GPP options. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov both have extremely high upside in this game on the blueline and I would be surprised to not see them hit the score sheet.
St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators – 08:00 PM EST
|St. Louis Blues||Nashville Predators|
|Team Stats||2.77||2.38||11.40%||82.70%||Team Stats||2.75||2.25||21.10%||83.80%|
The St. Louis Blues travel to Nashville tonight to take on the Predators in a Central Division rivalry game. Both of these teams have been great to start the year and this should be a tight-fought battle. St. Louis is 7-2-1 over their last ten games and will see star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk return to the lineup after missing the past 10 games. Alexander Steen has been on fire with 3 goals in his last 3 games playing alongside Vladimir Tarasenko, who has 12 points in 12 games this season. This duo has one of the highest ceilings on the slate, but they do face a poor match-up against a defensively stern Nashville team. Nashville is only allowing 2.25 goals against per game and projected starter Pekka Rinne has been exceptional in net with a 1.98 GAA. Young defenseman Colton Parayko shined in Shattenkirk’s absence, but he has been bumped to the second power-play unit and will likely see fewer minutes tonight.
The Nashville Predators are 8-2-2 on the season including a 4-0-1 record on home ice, but face a tough task in division rival St. Louis tonight. Linemates Filip Forsberg and James Neal have been the most consistent Nashville forwards this year, notching 10 and 8 points respectively over 12 games. Also, Roman Josi and Shea Weber rack up a plethora of points from the blueline for this team both at even strength and on the power-play. The match-up against the Blues isn’t spectacular, as St. Louis only allows 2.38 goals against per game and is middle-of-the-road on the penalty-kill (82.7%). Neal and Forsberg present a high ceiling as tournament options, but this game has a low-scoring tough-fought feel to it and I would tread cautiously with your exposure.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Minnesota Wild – 08:00 PM EST
|Tampa Bay Lightning||Minnesota Wild|
|Ben Bishop||Devan Dubnyk|
|Team Stats||2.53||2.40||18.80%||79.50%||Team Stats||3.08||2.92||23.30%||76.90%|
The Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Minnesota tonight to take on the Wild, who will be without team Captain and elite scorer Zach Parise, who sprained his MCL earlier this week. The Lightning have won 2 of their last 3 games and will look to improve on their 7-6-2 record. Victor Hedman surprisingly leads this club with 11 points in 14 games, but Steven Stamkos is close behind with 10 points (7 goals) in 15 games. Stamkos was reunited with excellent distributor Valtteri Filppula on the Lightning’s top line last game and the change paid dividends as Filppula assisted on a first period goal by Stamkos. Tyler Johnson also scored on Thursday and has points in 3 straight games. The Minnesota Wild are traditionally a strong defensive team, particularly on home ice, but they are allowing 2.92 goals against per game played this season and possess a poor 76.9% penalty-kill. Tampa Bay could easily score more than 3 goals in this game as their offense appears to be rounding into form as of late and Minnesota may struggle without Parise, who is an offensive and defensive force that stabilizes their lineup.
The Minnesota Wild are 7-3-2 on the season, but have lost back-to-back games against the Blues and Predators. The Wild host the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in a game that should see a decent amount of scoring. While the Wild will be without franchise player Zach Parise for the foreseeable future, this team possesses a decent amount of scoring depth, headlined by Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, and Thomas Vanek. Koivu leads the club with 12 points in 12 games and will be joined by Pominville (who is still searching for his first goal of the season) on the top power-play unit. The Lightning are giving up 2.40 goals against per game, but are a more vulnerable team on the road. Tampa’s penalty-kill is a mediocre 79.6%. There are a lot of solid low-priced value plays on this Wild squad, that make exceptional GPP plays.
New York Rangers at Arizona Coyotes – 09:00 PM EST
|New York Rangers||Arizona Coyotes|
|Henrik Lundqvist||Mike Smith|
|Team Stats||2.92||1.77||16.10%||87.50%||Team Stats||2.83||2.83||10.20%||84.80%|
The New York Rangers will play a back-to-back on the road tonight as they travel to Arizona to face the Coyotes. Despite playing for the second time in two nights and enduring some travel, the Rangers are in a great spot to improve on their 9-2-2 record, as Arizona is simply a less-than-mediocre hockey club. Keith Yandle will be playing his first game back in the desert after being traded at the deadline last year, while Anthony Duclair will face the team that traded him away. Rick Nash is likely to remain out of the lineup tonight and it is unclear whether Emerson Etem will continue to fill the wing slot alongside Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello. All of the Rangers top three lines are in play in tournaments tonight, but I prefer the Derek Stepan – Chris Kreider combination as this pair looked stellar against the Avalanche last night and have a lot of upside. Backup goaltender Antti Raanta (0.50 GAA .978 SV% over 2 starts) should get the start in net for the Blueshirts and he makes an elite play at the goalie position.
The Arizona Coyotes, who also beat Colorado their last time out, face a tough task against the New York Rangers tonight. The Coyotes are a surprising 6-5-1 on the season and a large amount of their good fortune can be attributed to the stellar goaltending of Mike Smith, which is due to regress over time. Rookie Max Domi is undeniably the real deal and has to be the favorite to win the Calder Trophy in light of Connor McDavid ’s injury. The return of Martin Hanzal to the lineup (2 assists in his first game back) should help buoy this team, as he is a vastly underrated center-iceman. Mikkel Boedker and Anthony Duclair are always capable of finding the net as well. Despite all of those positives, I don’t expect the Coyotes to score many goals in this game against a more experienced and, frankly, superior Rangers team.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Calgary Flames – 10:00 PM EST
|Pittsburgh Penguins||Calgary Flames|
|Marc-Andre Fleury||Jonas Hiller|
|Team Stats||2.23||1.77||14.30%||90.20%||Team Stats||2.29||4.00||13.20%||77.30%|
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 yesterday and will face the Flames on the back-to-back tonight in Calgary. After starting the season with 3 straight losses, Pittsburgh is 9-1-0 over their past 10 games. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel lead the Pens in scoring, with Kessel notching 3 points over the last two games. Both Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang also have points in the past two games. Though the Penguins are only averaging 1.77 goals per game, their offense is beginning to show life and always has the potential to blow up the score sheet, given the level of talent on the roster. The match-up against Calgary is ideal for such an explosion, as the Flames are the worst defensive team in the league, allowing 4 goals against per game. Look for Pittsburgh to convert on the power-play, where Calgary only halts the opposition 77.3% of the time. You’ll need to pick and choose which Penguins you roster as they remain expensive across the industry, however Chris Kunitz and David Perron both make solid salary-saving value plays.
The Calgary Flames are 4-9-1 on the season, but did win their last time out against Philadelphia. The Flames hope the victory over Philadelphia was a sign of things to come, as they only allowed 1 goal in the game despite averaging 4 against on the year. Calgary is loaded with offensive talent both up front and on the blueline, but faces a tough match-up against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Johnny Gaudreau leads the club with 14 points in 14 games and it appears he will be reunited with Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler tonight. This line was incredible for the Flames last season and has a lot of upside as a contrarian GPP option despite the poor match-up. T.J. Brodie has 3 points in 3 games since returning from injury and will see time on the power-play. While Calgary has a lot of offensive weapons, I don’t think this is the best match-up to target them in.