Good evening everyone and welcome to volume 45 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 7-game slate on this cold as heck and rainy Thursday evening here in Amsterdam.
I am writing this article at about the usual time that I write during the week from San Diego, but I will have limited ability to keep up to date on late breaking news because I will be asleep before lock. As such, I do suggest playing LIGHT today, unless you trust yourself to monitor news.
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 am bumping the Boston Bruins top line (Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak) down a bit in my ratings from where my model initially rated them. The reason that I am coming off of them in my exposure a bit is because the Vegas moneyline dropped 21 points away from the home team to the St. Louis Blues. Given the fact that the Bruins trio is expensive, I had to take them out of my top four stacks, but they are still in play against a Blues team that is allowing the eleventh-most goals against per game. You should be able to get the Bruins at a sub 10% ownership level tonight, but the thing that makes me nervous as I dig into the numbers is that St. Louis is allowing the second-fewest high danger scoring chances against and the fewest HDCA on the road. Lastly, for those statisticians, the Bruins have much better high danger scoring chances on the road than they do at home.
In a game that should be a high-event hockey contest (actually, the highest-event contest of the night per my Nils Model), the Tampa Bay Lightning are at home hosting a visiting Toronto Maple Leafs team that has been off for the last couple of weeks. These two teams average a total of 7.58 goals per game between them and 75 shots per game. They also both own top 10 CorsiFor% figures. Tampa Bay’s offense, well, the line featuring Bradyen Point – Nikita Kucherov – Tyler Johnson, has been sensational as two of the three linemates are averaging at least 1.4 points per game over their last 10 contests while Johnson has 7 points during that span. The stat that causes me to rank the Lightning top unit ahead of the Leafs lines is that the home team has sured up its defense as the season has played out while Andrei Vasilevskiy has been the best netminder in the league. As a side note, the Lightning and Leafs are ranked 4 and 6, respectively, in terms of high danger scoring chances. I just don’t see the Leafs doing much damage tonight, at least not enough to pay their salaries in GPPs.
The Manhattan Rangers are coming hot off a 6-2 drubbing of the Carolina Hurricanes two nights ago and get to face a Chicago Blackhawks team (at Madison Square Garden) that has lost four in a row. The visiting team is also allowing the second-most goals against per game on the second-most shots against. Chicago has also allowed the most high danger scoring chances against, and it is not even close. The second worst team has allowed 46 fewer HDCA. If you’re on the Rangers, and you should be, you are stacking its first line featuring Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello with Kevin Shattenkirk as an add-on. On the other side of the ice, you can freely stack the Chicago Blackhawks line of Dylan Strome, Patrick Kane, Alex Debrincat, Erik Gustafsson and Jonathan Toews. Aside from his last contest out, Gustafsson has been seeing roughly 25 minutes of ice time per game and is cash playable. The reason you want to target this group of visiting skaters is that they makeup the Hawks power play that gets to attack a Rangers’ penalty kill that has allowed 10 power play goals against in their last 10 contests.
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: Stars 1 (Tyler Seguin – Alexander Radulov – Jamie Benn), Wild 1 (Mikko Koivu – Jason Zucker – Mikael Granlund – Ryan Suter), possibly Wild 3 (Charlie Coyle – Zach Parise – Luke Kunin), 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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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!