Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 26 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 8-game slate on this (for once) rainy 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.
There is no doubt that the Winnipeg Jets first even strength line and top power play unit are the highest-rated stack of the day. The Chicago Blackhawks have dropped three of their last four games and the team has allowed an average of 5.33 goals against in those losses. Moreover, the visting team is allowing the fourth-most shots against per game and an obscene amount of high-danger scoring chances. Fire up Blake Wheeler – Mark Scheifele – Nikolaj Ehlers for an even strength stack and add Patrik Laine for the power play stack. Dustin Byfuglien is your blue liner addition.
The next two stacks rate highly in my model, but the ownership levels may not be nearly as high as they will on the Jets top line. The Buffalo Sabres 1s (Sam Reinhart – Jack Eichel – Jeff Skinner – Rasmus Ristolainen) have helped lead their team to 10 (yes, seriously) straight wins and they are looking for a club record 11th straight victory on the road against a vulnerable Tampa Bay Lightning. Yes, the Lightning offense could be deadly at times, but without their top netminder, the team has lost games they should not have lost. Eichel has averaged over four shots per game over his last ten, Skinner has averaged over three shots per game during that span and he is also averaging over a point per game, and Reinhart has nine points during that span. With the lightning lacking a shutdown defensive line, I envision the Sabres top unit going under-owned again.
As for the other stack that may not get as much ownership or love as it should (which is good news for us) is the Ottawa Senators second line at home. This trio consists of Brady Tkachuk, Colin White and Mark Stone. The line has been formed just recently, but in their short time as a trio, they have generated a total of six even strength goals. Consider that the New York Rangers are surrendering the fifth-most shots against per game and it makes this play clear.
Other Notable Stacks
While you can and you should have exposure to the Senators, an interesting play in the same game that gets overlooked each night (likely because the line does not have any superstar names) is the New York Rangers second line and top power play unit – Jimmy Vesey – Kevin Hayes – Filip Chytil.
The Columbus Blue Jackets top line is expensive but must be considered at home given their massive upside – Cam Atkinson – Pierre-Luc Dubuois – Artemi Panarin – Seth Jones.
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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!
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