Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 49 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 6-game main slate on this cool and sunny 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.
The main slate is actually one game smaller than the early slate, which is disappointing. However, what the slate lacks in size, it should make up for in goals. Of the six games of action, five are carrying an over/under of 6.5 while the sixth carries an over/under of 6.
The top stack is rated the highest in the Nils Model and should be the highest-owned on this six game main slate is the Washington Capital top line (Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin – T.J. Oshie) and top power play unit (adding in John Carlson). The reasons that the Caps first line is the top stack for the second large slate in a row can pretty much be repeated from my article on Thursday. Washington is at home as is hosting a Florida Panthers team that is allowing the third-most goals against and over 30 shots against per contest. Moreover, the Panthers are in the bottom four in high-danger scoring chances percentage.
Next up, you have to take a strong look at the Columbus Blue Jackets top line (Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson – Artemi Panarin) with Seth Jones as a possible add-on. Everyone is going to be on the home team in this contest as they have been hot (and I do love the Golden Knights first line, especially the cheap, Valentin Zykov), but the Blue Jackets (read: Panarin) have something to prove over the last part of the season. Season-long statistics are not necessarily in the favor of this play, but recent performance and Columbus shot volume since the All-Star Break support this as a GPP play.
Lastly, of the top three stacks that should be highly-owned, this stack is one that probably will be lower owned than it should be. This always happens to the San Jose Sharks as West Coast teams never have the ownership that they should. This is a lesson that you may know by now, but maybe you don’t. If you see a West Coast team is a solid spot where they should rack up goals, go ahead and get exposure. This is a sharp DFS GPP play. The Oilers may be at home, but their goaltending has been shaky at best and the team is allowing the eighth-most goals against on over 31 shots against per game. If you are on the Sharks, you can either roster Evander Kane as a one-off or stack the visiting team’s top line (Logan Couture – Joe Pavelski – Timo Meier – Brent Burns) in a game where San Jose should dominate the puck control battle.
I am torn on the Penguins. The offense misses Evgeni Malkin as opposing teams can key on Sidney Crosby. The team is in Tampa Bay and Andrei Vasilevskiy should be between the pipes. Again, I am torn here, but Vasilevskiy, as great as he has been this season, can implode and we know that the Lightning have surrendered the sixth-most high-danger scoring chances this season. So, you should have exposure to the Pens today as a leverage play.
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 6-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: Oilers 1 (Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl – Ty Rattie), Flames 1 (Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Elias Lindholm), Lightning 1 (Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov – Tyler Johnson).
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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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