Here in the breakdown we’re going to identify the games with the best fantasy scoring environments for everyday of the NHL season. To do this we’re going to look at teams’ scoring chances for (SCF), scoring chances against (SCA), high danger chances for (HDF), high danger chances against (HDA), power play opportunities (PPO) and power play opportunities against (PPOA). The reason for applying those stats to this particular exercise is because they are the best indicator of a team’s scoring opportunities and we want to identify games with teams that possess the best combination of quality and quantity of scoring opportunities. I’ll also offer some of my favorite individual plays from each game using average time on ice (ATOI), average power play time on ice (PPTOI) and team role. We’ll be looking for players on one of the top two scoring lines and players on one of a team’s power play units.
This is a healthy 11 game slate tonight for the NHL with plenty of options and opportunities for points with a wide selection of players. I have 3 games I’m targeting for my lineups tonight as I expect all 3 to exceed scoring expectations.
Dallas Stars @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Totals: Highest 6.5 DK 5.5 FD 5.5
Playing their third game in four nights the Dallas Stars travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. After opening their season with a 3-2 overtime win over the Rangers the Stars have dropped their last two games to the Bruins and Senators bringing their record to 1-2-0. The Penguins opened up the NHL season with a 6-2 beating on the defending champion Lightning, then dropped one in OT to the Panthers before picking up another win against the Blackhawks bringing them to 2-0-1. Through three games the Penguins rank 3rd in SCF (68), 7th in SCA (61), 2nd in HDF (26) and 9th in HDA (17). Their games are averaging 8 goals, 65 shots and 7.3 power play opportunities per game. The Stars currently rank 15th in SCF (47), 11th in SCA (59), 14th in HDF (14) and 20th in HDA (11) and their games feature 4.6 goals, 62.6 shots on goal and 6.6 power play opportunities per game. Both of these teams match up well with each other for optimum offensive output and neither team has played in a game with less than 4 goals, in fact none of the Penguins’ games have had less than 7 goals. The Stars haven’t been quite as efficient offensively but I expect the Penguins to drag it out of them in this one. Evan Rodrigues ($3,500 DK, $4,600 FD) scored a goal on 7 shots two games ago against the Panther showing his potential in any given game, given his role as a top six forward and a spot on the top power play unit he has great value on tonight’s slate at his price tag. His line mate Kasperi Kapanen ($4,700 DK, $4,500 FD) has a similar role and a cheap price tag like Rodrigues making them an excellent correlation play tonight. On the Dallas side of things Miro Heiskanen ($4,700 DK, $5,900 FD) plays in all situations including the top power play unit and penalty kill unit, he’s logged over 26 minutes of TOI in each of the first three games and has put at least 3 shots on goal in two of those three games, that kind of ice time and role always offers a great floor/ceiling combo.
Vancouver Canucks @ Buffalo Sabres
Totals: Highest 6.5 DK 6 FD 6
The surprisingly 2-0-0 Buffalo Sabres host the always fantasy friendly 1-1-1 Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks dropped their opener in overtime to the Oilers before nearly giving away the game to the Flyers and then losing to the Red Wings. Buffalo shocked everyone with a 5-1 beat down of the Canadiens and for an encore they eked out a 2-1 shootout victory over the Coyotes. Over their two games the Sabres rank 23rd in SCF (39), 29th in SCA (21), 29th in HDF (5) and last in HDA (2). Buffalo’s two games combined for 9 total goals, 121 total shots on goal and 14 power play opportunities. For the Canucks they check in at 8th in SCF (62), 10th in SCA (60), 11th in HDF (15) and 11th in HDA (16) with their games averaging 6 total goals, a mouth watering 69.3 shots on goal and 6.3 power play opportunities per game. The first Sabres game featured 6 goals and their second had only 2, so they’re a bit of a mystery coming into the game but the Canucks have been exactly what they were last year a great team to game stack with every single night. They’ve already had a game with 8 goals and each of their games featured over 60 shots on goal with two of them having over 70. Victor Olofsson ($4,100 DK, $5,100 FD) had a big game to start the season with 2 points and 5 shots on goal, he disappointed in the next game but logged over 20 minutes of ice time, he’s Buffalo’s trigger man on the power play and they love to feed him the puck. For Vancouver there’s so many options to choose from but defensemen like Quinn Hughes ($5,200 DK, $6,400 FD) rarely fail, averaging over 27 minutes of TOI playing on the top defense pair and the top power play unit Hughes has a point or 5 shots on goal in every game this season, his game log looks unspectacular but he’s primed for a huge game with his combination of talent and usage. Nils Hoglander ($4,000 DK, $4,600 FD) plays on the top line with Elias Pettersson and on the power play, he’s put 4 shots on goal in 2 out of 3 games this year and already has a multi point game this season, he has an excellent chance to pay off at his price tag.
New York Islanders @ Chicago Blackhawks
Totals: Highest 6.5 DK 6 FD 6
The winless New York Islanders head to the Second City to take on the winless Chicago Blackhawks in what should be a dirty but useful fantasy environment. New York lost 6-3 to the Hurricanes to open their season and followed it up by taking a 5-1 loss on the chin from the Panthers leaving them 0-2-0. The Blackhawks let the undermanned Avalanche beat them 4-2 to open the season and then dropped a 4-3 decision to the Devils in overtime before losing 5-2 to the Penguins putting their record at 0-2-1. In scoring chance categories Chicago ranks 18th in SCF (44), 5th in SCA (71), 26th in HDF (9) and leads the league in HDA (28). Their games average 6.6 total goals, 57.3 shots on goal and 6.3 power play opportunities per game. While the Islanders rank 22nd in SCF (40), 14th in SCA (52), 10th in HDF (16) and 13th in HDA (14) and their two games have combined for 15 total goals, 128 shots on goal and 13 power plays. Neither one of these teams has played in a game that has had any less than 6 goals and the Islanders played in a game that featured 9. It’s not going to be pretty but there will be plenty of fantasy points to go around in this contest. For the Islanders Anthony Beauvillier ($4,300 DK, $4,700 FD) has either a point or 5 shots on goal in both games this season, his top six spot and power play time offer ample opportunities to rack up shots on goal and potential for plenty of scoring. On the Chicago side Jonathan Toews ($5,200 DK, $5,400 FD) isn’t flashy and sometimes gets forgotten on a bad Chicago team but he plays a top six role, on the top power play unit and the top penalty kill unit giving him a safe floor with the potential to go off on any night. Alex DeBrincat ($6,800 DK, $7,300 FD) has gotten of to a decent start with 2 points in three games, however with him putting in time on the top line with Patrick Kane as well as working the top power play unit, he has a massive ceiling waiting to be reached.