Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 6 of the @NotTonyM Top Shelf Knucklepuck! We have a cash-playable 9-game slate on this crisp Thursday. While we have had success in cash games through the first week and a half of the season, please continue to play lighter than you want to or typically would play. It is still early! Once again, it is still very early in the season and some teams are playing their second game today. If you skipped my article from Friday, October 5, 2018 or simply glazed over my sage advice on how to balance your DFS budget early in the NHL, please go back and read or revisit the piece.
As of the writing of this piece at 6:58am Pacific, the largest line movement on the slate involves the game featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Candiens in the Bell Centre. The moneyline has swung 30 points away from Pittsburgh in favor of the home team. The Canadiens have one win in three tries thus far and that one win came against these same Penguins that are in town. Casey Desmith should be between the pipes for the Pens and it should be Carey Price for the Habs. The visiting team goalie is a great play on his own and the Pens offense rates as a top stack and you will be able to get them at relatively low ownership on the six game slate given their high price tags and given that folks may be scared off by the line movement. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel (PIT2) make a fine mini-stack, but if I am rostering the Pens on DK, I want a full power play stack of Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Phil Kessel.
The chalk stacks of the night will be the Panthers top line and top power play unit. The other team from Florida is skating on home ice as the heaviest Vegas favorite and also carries the highest implied goal total. They may have lost to the Blue Jackets on Thursday, but the offense looked spectacular in registering 41 shots. The Canucks did shock the DFS world by holding the Tampa Bay Lightning to just one goal on 34 shots, but the Panthers offense looked more in sync. Your target here is the team’s first line of Evgenii Dadonov, Aleksander Barkov, and Nick Bjugstad or the top power play unit featuring Dadonov, Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Keith Yandle and Mike Hoffman. With most of the ownership focusing on the top 3 skaters, you may find that the Trocheck second line (Jonathan Huberdeau, Trocheck, Denis Malgin) is a play with just as much upside but has slightly lower ownership.
The next few highly-rated stacks are the St. Louis Blues and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both top lines have underwhelmed early in the season and both teams have had the second lines do the scoring. Nevertheless, I am going back to the Lightning well and will have exposure to TB1 (Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov) against a Blue Jackets team that allowed four goals to the Panthers two nights ago. I will chalk the Lightning disappointment up to the fact that they were maybe “too well” rested. That said, I will have exposure to TB2 and Brayden Point who was a focal point for us in cash on Thursday. As for the Blues, I want to roster STL1 (Pat Maroon, Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko) against the Blackhawks in Chicago. Through four games this season, the home team has allowed 18 goals against, including three power play goals against so there is room to roster the Blues at 5%.
There were some questions in the Slack chat over the past few days about how to find the lines that I list as my top stacks on the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Cheat Sheet. Head over to either DailyFaceoff.com or LeftWingLock.com to see which skaters are on each of a team’s lines and then build your line stacks. For example, if you see that my top stack of the day is “PIT PP1 / 1”, look at one of the two sites listed above and you will see that the top power play unit of the Pittsburgh Penguins consists of Patric Hornqvist – Evgeni Malkin – Sidney Crosby – Kris Letang – Phil Kessel. The team’s top line features Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist. I decided to leave off the players’ names from the line stacks because of the fact that they may change before the game or after the team’s morning skate (if applicable). Both sites I mentioned are updated regularly and typically accurate. If you’re ever lost, just ask questions in our Slack chat.
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