Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 48 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 14-game slate on this cool and (finally) sunny rainy Thursday 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.
On this absolutely massive slate, there many high-powered and up-tempo offenses that are in play, but the one stack that is going to be highly-owned, even on a 14-game slate is the Washington Capitals top line (Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – TJ Oshie) and top power play unit (Evgeny Kuznetsov – Backstrom – Oshie – Ovechkin – John Carlson). The defending Stanley Cup champions are skating at home against a visiting Colorado Avalanche team that has dropped three in a row and has allowed 14 goals during that span. The Avs have also surrendered a dismal three power play goas against over its last two contests. Considering that Colorado has allowed the ninth-most goals against this season and also owns the fourth-worst penalty kill percentage, it should be no mystery as to why the Caps will be a highly-owned stack.
Another team that I expect to be highly-owned on this 14-game slate is the Chicago Blackhawks top line (Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane – Drake Caggiula) as they are on home ice and will skate against a Vancouver Canucks team that is allowing over three goals against and over 31 shots against per game. Kane has tallied 24 points in his last 10 games to go along with 45 shots. Those are insane numbers and are arguably driven by the fact that management spoke poorly of him and now he is trying to show them up. Caggiula is a prime beneficiary of Kane’s production as the cheap winger has two goals and two assists in his last three contests. Vegas has this as an over/under of 6.5 and the home team has an implied goal total of 3.5.
The Ottawa Senators have been a fun team to watch all season. If we aren’t watching them for their offense (yes, I wrote that), then we are watching them for their atrocious defensive. Tonight, the Senators are at home and are hosting an awful Anaheim Ducks squad that has lost five in a row and given up four power play goals against in its last three goals. Yes, that is a terrible statistic. Your focus here can be on the second (Brady Tkachuk – Colin White – Mark Stone) and third lines (Zack Smith – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Magnus Paajarvi) as those are the lines that have been granted the best matchups by their coach.
Another top stack is the Columbus Blue Jackets first line (Pierre-Luc Dubois – Cam Atkinson – Artemoi Panarin) that will be on the road, but they have the fortune of shooting against a banged up Arizona Coyotes team.
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 14-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: Lightning 2 (Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov – Tyler Johnson), Oilers 2 (Leon Draisaitl – Alex Chiasson – Tobias Reider), Sharks 1 (Logan Couture – Joe Pavelski – Timo Meier – Brent Burns), NSH 1 (Viktor Arvidsson – Ryan Johansen – Filip Forsberg).
* * *
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.
* * *
Feel free to comment here or post a screenshot or photo on Instagram and remember to tag me @NotTonyM. I am always open to feedback and critique. Just remember, I respond to respect and love in whatever the message is that you want to share. Good luck!