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Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: December 17, 2015

All shot attempt numbers discussed are at even strength and score-adjusted unless otherwise noted.

And as always, make sure to check Twitter for any injury news, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies and line combos.

So we have two no-brainers on the slate for Thursday, and plenty of other good matchups to exploit as well. Let’s get right into it with our picks of the night.

TEAMS TO TARGET

Dallas Stars at home against Calgary

We love to focus on puck possession, and why not? It’s a great indicator for how a team is playing. But sometimes keeping it as simple as goals for and goals against will do the job. Dallas will come into this one with a 5% edge in home/road puck possession, but the +51 swing in goal differential is why they are the best pick tonight. Sure, Calgary is hot right now, they are…on fire if you will. But their defense is still a hot mess –allowing over 3.4 goals per game, and they are not very good on the road. They’ve won six in a row, but streaks end, and that one is in major jeopardy tonight because the Stars are one of the best teams in the league at home and haven’t been playing too bad as of late themselves.

Tyler Seguin has seven points in his last four games, and nobody would try to talk you out of selecting him or linemate Jamie Benn despite the high price tags, especially considering how bad Calgary’s penalty kill is performing. However the big value tonight from the Stars could come from their depth lines, particularly their third line. They should spend most of their night matched up against possession anchor Dennis Wideman and his partner Deryk Engelland.

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New York Islanders at Colorado

Looking strictly at puck possession, the biggest mismatch on the board tonight belongs to the Islanders as they visit the Avalanche. It isn’t so much what the Islanders are doing, they’re not a positive possession team while on the road, however it has more to do with just how bad Colorado is as a whole. As with Calgary, the Avalanche are a hot team right now, but they are so much worse at home while the Isles are 7-1-2 in their last ten and have been very consistent throughout much of the season. When these two teams met a little over two weeks ago, the Isles put up five goals, and probably should have had more. Expect the same effort tonight.

New York spent most of the last meeting matching their second line of Lee-Nielsen-Bailey against the only functioning line the Avs have; Landeskog-MacKinnon-Duchene. Colorado coach Patrick Roy doesn’t exactly make a valiant effort to get his top-line away from defensive matchups, so I would assume the same would hold true tonight. That should open things up for John Tavares and whoever he is paired with to have a big night (Isles coach Jack Capuano has been juggling lines in practice so double check Left Wing Lock for exact pairings). Also, keep in mind that Colorado gives up the most fantasy points to defensemen, so Johnny Boychuk and Marek Zidlicky should be in play from the back end.

Chicago Blackhawks at home against Edmonton

Edmonton is coming off a six-game winning streak, but they have been absolutely dreadful this season on the road. The Oilers possess the puck only 45.9% away from Rexall, while Chicago is a 53.7% possession team at home. While they have improved defensively as of late, the Oilers are still giving up 3.00 goals per game, and should be vulnerable against a Chicago offense that is putting a new emphasis on creating traffic in front –exactly what Edmonton struggles with handling.

Patrick Kane will be looking to start a new points streak, and should definitely be in play. Keep in mind that he will likely be matched away from Leon Draisaitl for much of the night, so he and linemates Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov could be in line for a huge night.

There isn’t a big difference in stats, and it’s more of a gut thing, but I just wanted to add that I love San Jose tonight in Toronto. The Leafs goaltending situation is a joke right now, and the Sharks love to put the puck on net. Could be a big night for them.

PLAYER RANKINGS

Remember, these are price sensitive.

Center

1.) John Tavares – $7,800 – New York Islanders

2.) Tyler Seguin – $8,800 – Dallas Stars

3.) Jason Spezza – $5,800 – Dallas Stars

4.) Joe Pavelski – $7,500 – San Jose Sharks

5.) Jonathan Toews – $5,900 – Chicago Blackhawks

6.) Matt Duchene – $6,100 – Colorado Avalanche

Winger

1.) Patrick Kane – $8,700 – Chicago Blackhawks

2.) Jamie Benn – $ 8,400 – Dallas Stars

3.) Patrick Sharp – $6,400 – Chicago Blackhawks

4.) Artemi Panarin – $5,700 – Chicago Blackhawks

5.) Patrick Marleau – $6,000 – San Jose Sharks

6.) Max Pacioretty – $7,600 – Montreal Canadiens

7.) Kyle Okposo – $5,900 – New York Islanders

8.) Marian Hossa – $5,200 – Chicago Blackhawks

Defense

1.) Roman Josi – $6,700 – Nashville Predators

2.) Brent Burns – $7,700 – San Jose Sharks

3.) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – $5,300 – Arizona Coyotes

4.) P.K. Subban – $6,000 – Montreal Canadiens

5.) Alex Pietrangelo – $5,200 – St. Louis Blues

6.) Johnny Boychuk – $5,300 – New York Islanders

Goalie

1.) Kari Lehtonen – $7,000 – Dallas Stars

2.) Corey Crawford – $8,000 – Chicago Blackhawks

3.) Chad Johnson – $6,600 – Buffalo Sabres

4.) Roberto Luongo – $7,800 – Florida Panthers

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