Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 35 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 12-game slate on this sunny and clear Thursday morning here in San Diego, California.
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 first thing I saw when I woke up this morning was an uber “high event” hockey game featuring the Florida Panthers at the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game opened with an over/under of 7, which is something we have seen once or twice this season, and although the figure has dropped to 6.5, you can be sure that this game will feature shots, shots, and more shots, LMFAO and Lil Jon style. The road team is allowing the fifth-most goals against per game (3.50) this season and they are averaging the tenth-most goals per game (3.28). Meanwhile, the home team is averaging the second-most goals per game (3.65) and the sixth-most shots against (33.1). The top two lines (aka the Auston Matthews line and John Tavares line) from the home team are in play and the top six from Floriday are also in play. While both teams have decent penalty kill units, the Leafs have surrendered five power play goals against over their last five contests, which brings into play the Panthers power play. I expect this game to be a treat to watch and you must have exposure in cash games and GPPs alike. One item to note is that Frederik Andersen remains a superb GPP play as he should see 35+ shots and always comes with shutout upside.
Not to be overlooked in the hype that that the Panthers/Leafs game is carrying, but the Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins game also has an over/under of 6.5. The Wild definitely fly under the radar every night so if you’re rostering the Eric Staal – Mikael Granlund – Jordan Greenway line on the road, you will get them at under 7.5% owned on a 12-game slate. On the road, if your thought is that the Pens (eighth-most shots against and 3.15 GA/GP) might try to shut down that Wild top unit, a lower-owned with just as much upside play is the Charlie Coyle line with Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter. With the Wild on the road and their team shaking up the lines, the Wild second unit is a sneaky play. On the other side of the coin, you have the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that can be maddening. On home ice, I generally target the Sidney Crosby line (with Jake Guentzel and Byran Rust) and let the other lines try to play defensive hockey. Kris Letang remains a top defender each night as his floor is high (good for cash) and his ceiling is high (good for GPPs).
The Carolina Hurricanes are in a wonderful spot tonight on home ice against a flailing Detroit Red Wings squad. Yes, I like rostering the Dylan Larkin line when I’m on the Wings, but the Canes are affordable and you have to consider the Sebastian Aho line at home against a Detroit team that has lost four in a row and are allowing the third-most shots against per game and the eighth-most shots against per game. The Hurricanes also have the best, yes, the best, CorsiFor% in the league and host a Wings team that owns the fifth-worst CF%. This means that the Canes should control the puck and have room to fire the puck on whichever netminder Detroit starts between the pipes.
Other Notable Stacks
As with any massive slate, there is a lot to like so here are a few other stacks that I will have exposure to in my Core Plays here at DFS Karma.
I want the Boston Bruins top line, especially David Krejci, in my LUs. Krejci has a seven-game point streak and should continue that streak tonight against an Anaheim Ducks team that gives up buckets of high-danger scoring chances and is consistently bailed out by John Gibson.
As much as I touted the Carolina Hurricanes above, I still want exposure to the Dylan Larkin line as I don’t think the Canes can stop him, Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader.
Other lines that I will have exposure to are the Calgary Flames 1, Dallas Stars 1 and Columbus Blue Jackets 1.
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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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