Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 46 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 11-game slate on this cool and drizzly Saturday morning in San Diego.
If you are a new subscriber to our NHL Core Plays, please make sure that you are playing all of the lineups that I post on any given day. NHL is such a highly-variant sport and there is truly no telling which lineup will go off. I do have my favorites each day, but even the lineups that I may not think have massive upside sometimes, in fact, have the upside you need to take down a tournament.
I’ll just say that you must have exposure to the Tampa Bay Lightning “second” line (Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov – Tyler Johnson) today on the road against the Rangers. There’s no need to analyze. Just play them.
Next, I think you have to keep going back to the Colorado Avalanche’s top line (Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen – Gabriel Landeskog) at home against the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s the thing though – the Avalanche disappointed us mightily leading up to the All-Star break. I rostered MacKinnon so many times in cash and he let us down. With the team rested and skating at home against a dismal Vancouver Canucks squad that has bad goaltending, we have to take a shot on the Avs again in GPPs. They have five goal upside anytime they lace up the skates. The Canucks own the fifth-worst high-danger scoring percentage against this season and Colorado should abuse the visiting team this evening.
The Leafs and Penguins may have an old-fashioned shootout tonight in Toronto and it is honestly impossible to predict which team is going to win the contest, but Vegas is giving a slight edge to the home team. The over/under is sitting at 6.5 as of the writing of this piece and Garret Sparks and Matt Murray should be minding the net for their respective team. I am less likely to look to the Penguins in cash, especially if Evgeni Malkin doesn’t suit up again. Without Malkin, the Leafs will key in on Sidney Crosby’s line (Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Dominik Simon). That said, in a GPP, go ahead and run out the Crosby line as he’ll probably see Nazem Kadri’s line, which shouldn’t be able to shut Crosby down all night, especially with Sparks between the pipes. On the Leafs side, this is the team that will garner more attention seeing as though they are at home and are facing a team playing on back-to-back nights. As great as the Penguins are offensively, the team still surrenders over three goals a game on the fifth-most shots against. This brings into play the top six forwards from Toronto and I am comfortable stacking both the Auston Matthews line and the John Tavares line. Just given the way the lines are structured (at least as of this writing), my focus will be on the Matthews line (with Mitch Marner) and then the Tavares line (with Kasperi Kapanen).
I think we are going to be surprised at how under-owned the skaters will be in the Detroit and Ottawa game. The game has an over/under of 6 and both teams are in the bottom 10 in goals against and the bottom 4 in shots against. In what should be a high-event contest, I think that you want to have a piece of Detroit’s first line (Dylan Larkin – Gustav Nyquist – Justin Abdelkader) and well as the Senator’s top line (Ryan Dzingel – Matt Duchene – Bobby Ryan, or Mark Stone with Thomas Chabot as a power play stack in place of Ryan). Neither team has a shutdown line and the only way that this game doesn’t hit the over if it the power goes off. If you only want one side of this game, consider that the Red Wings have the third-worst high danger scoring chances allowed percentage.
Other Notable Stacks
The stacks I wrote about above are the ones that I project to be highly-owned. When I write “highly-owned”, on a 11-game slate that typically means ownership of about 25% in GPPs. The stacks above also tend to be expensive. So, you will need to use some of the below mentioned stacks as fillers or as one-off individual plays to complement your high-priced stacks.
Other stacks that you should have exposure to tonight are: Blue Jackets 1 (Pierre-Luc Dubois – Cam Atkinson – Artemi Panarin), Sharks 1 (Logan Couture – Joe Pavelski – Timo Meier), Jets 1 (Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler – Kyle Connor).
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There were some questions in the Slack chat over the first month of the season 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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