Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 39 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 7-game slate on this cool and crisp Thursday morning here in San Diego, California.
As we start out 2019, I just wanted to thank you all very much for being loyal readers and subscribers of my work. It is an honor to have you spend your precious time reading my work every day. Keep an eye out for my book coming out soon in a store near you!
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.
This is a smaller than normal Thursday slate in the NHL and we will have to take projected ownership levels into account while building our lineups. The first stack of the night that will have the highest ownership in all formats is the Tampa Bay Lightning line of Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. The team skates into the Staples Center averaging the most goals per game (the only team over four) while averaging the fifth-most shots per contest. The Kings may only allow the thirteenth-most shots against per game, but the team is not nearly as quick or talented as the Lightning. For what it’s worth, Vegas also has the Lightning as scoring the second-most goals this evening.
The Chicago Blackhawks are having an awful season. For a team that has fairly recent won a Cup with a unit that is fairly in fact, the Hawks should be embarrassed. Patrick Kane continues to be an awful defensive forward and your better believe the New York Islanders are aware of this if I am aware of it. If you’re on the Islanders tonight, and you should, your focus should be on the team’s second line featuring Mathew Barzal – Anthony Beauvillier – Josh Bailey (with an add-on of Ryan Pulock). The home team has dropped just one contest in its last eight games and should easily dominate a team that is allowing the third-most shots against per game this season.
I feel like the Vancouver Canucks 2nd line (Elias Pettersson – Sven Baertschi – Brock Boeser) will come with high-ownership tonight even though they played last night in Ottawa. With three wins in their last four and Pettersson continuing to carry the team, I like the fact that this trio is so cheap and can be stacked with a more expensive stack for massive upside.
Other Notable Stacks
The Minnesota Wild are struggling right now with just one victory in their last seven contests. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs and their 12-6-1 home record have lost just one of their last six contests. I am typically not keen on stacking opposite the Wild and Devan Dubnyk as the team can shut down high-powered offenses, but the visiting team’s penalty kill is the target tonight. With power play goals against in three straight games, you will be able to roster the Maple Leafs topunit on the man advantage at a lower ownership level than normal tonight. Take advantage. Yes, they are expensive, but I will have a lineup with Auston Matthews – John Tavares – Mitchell Marner – Morgan Rielly.
I have a feeling that the Boston Bruins are also going to go overlooked tonight on home ice as they are facing a Calgary Flames team that has won three of its last four and has totaled 17 goals during those wins. The home team has won five of its last seven and, with the return of Patrice Bergeron, the offense looks rejuvenated. With home ice advantage, Boston will be able to avoid the Mikael Backlund line (a good thing) so look to roster Bergeron – David Pastrnak – Brad Marchand at even strength or with Torey Krug or Jake DeBrusk for a power play stack.
Other lines to look at: Montreal Canadiens 1 and Los Angeles Kings 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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