Welcome back for another edition of our NHL Breakdown. Tonight, we get a 5 game slate, which is a little small for my liking, but I’ll tell ya what, I’ll take what I can get if it means I can play cash games.
On to the picks!
Johnny Gaudreau – I love targeting Gaudreau on home ice, and on top of that, he gets a plus opportunity against the Coyotes tonight. I expect Johnny Hockey to be relatively high owned tonight on a short slate, so fading him in this situation could be very risky.
Scott Hartnell – This pick certainly carries some risk. If the Penguins come out swinging and really put it on the Blue Jackets tonight, Hartnell could very seriously end up with a negative next to his name. I don’t see it going that way. This team is playing better in the second half of the year, and I expect them to be able to give it out tonight, and Hartnell should be a part of the fun.
Robby Fabbri – Again, this is another somewhat risky pick, but the rookie has been playing well in recent time. He is really settling in to his role on this team, and being involved on the second line and power play is giving him plenty of chances to score. Anaheim is a tough team, but I still expect the Blues to score and Fabbri can be a great low cost access to points.
Patrick Kane – There is a lot to like for Kane today going against a Stars team with a sub 80% penalty kill that is allowing 2.85 goals this year, only getting worse after the break. Kane is the NHL’s point leader, and while he is definitely expensive, is a guy I wouldn’t mind building around tonight.
Nikita Kucherov – The first line hasn’t been overly impressive lately, but the same really can’t be said about the Lightning’s number two line. I like the spot for them against Philly, who is another team that is poor on the penalty kill. I don’t mind doing a triple stack of Kucherov/Palat/Johnson at all.
Patrick Eaves – If you are looking for a cheap play tonight, I would strongly suggest Eaves. It looks like the Dallas lines will be shaken up if yesterday’s practice is any indication. Eaves skated with Benn and Eakin on the top line, but also gets time on the top power play line. The Hawks are only killing 78.6% of penalties this year, and the Stars are a potent scoring team. I really like when I can get guys at a discount, and Eaves is one I want to consider tonight.
Evgeni Malkin – I really thought against the Islanders that Malkin would have a field day and that just didn’t happen. Tonight, I am going back to the well and playing Malkin in the hopes that he will have a big game. While Columbus is an improving team, I think they are still likely to give up several goals.
Sean Monahan – To me, if you are playing Gaudreau at home, you might as well just toss Monahan in there as well. They are both going to cost you tonight, but I believe they are worth it. In addition to being a poor overall team, they are a bottom five power play team. I shouldn’t have to sell you on playing against the Coyotes, who are the Lakers of hockey.
Antoine Vermette – It wouldn’t be fair to just beat up on the Coyotes, because honestly, Calgary is a pretty poor defensive team in their own right, and actually own the league’s worst penalty kill. This is one of those nights I am probably going to risk it and run two stacks from both of these teams in my cash games.
Mark Giordano – Keeping with the ARI/CGY theme, Giordano has lit this Coyotes team up in previous meetings. The is the chief of the power play, and I think either way, he is the most likely to be involved on the scoring today. Johnn/Sean/Giordano is going to cost you, but it is certainly a high upside core tonight.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson/Michael Stone – Right now Ekman-Larsson is day to day, but if he plays, he is going to be certain to be in my cash game lineups tonight. He has burned Calgary this year, and I would expect it to continue tonight. If he doesn’t play, Michael Stone is basically a free play at his meager price.
Alex Goligoski –If you want to go a different route, I think Goligoski is in a good spot against a poor penalty killing Blackhawk team. Dallas is going to score tonight, and, especially if it is on the power play, I like Goligoski to be involved.
Ben Bishop – There is nothing that really stands out with my at the goalie position tonight, so I am going to go one of two routes. The first route would be taking the goalie for the most heavily favored team tonight, which would be Bishop. Philly is firing off the 9th most show on the year, so he should see a lot of opportunities for saves tonight.
Joni Ortio – The inverse of Bishop would be the guy seeing the lowest amount of shots tonight and also the cheapest goalie. I believe there is a 1% chance he can shut Arizona down, but I do think there is a good shot that he could get a win. He has played well as of late, and if you want a bunch of studs in your lineup, he could be the way to go.