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Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: December 30, 2015

A mere five games to choose from as we head into the New Year. Let’s take a look at the matchups for this evening…

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.


Washington Capitals at home against Buffalo

The Caps are on fire right now. Winners of eight straight and owners of a 14-3-1 record at home, they’ll get a Buffalo team that has struggled on the road for the majority of the season (1.86 GF/60) and just 4-5-1 in their last ten. Though the Caps have been winning games primarily on the back of goaltender Braden Holtby–and this was the case when the Caps topped the Sabres 2-0 Monday–tonight’s schedule doesn’t offer much for favorable offensive matchups, and the Caps are averaging 3.80 goals per game over their last five games. Washington has also won the last three games in this series and has picked up points in nine of the last 10 meetings, so to say they’ve had Buffalo’s number is quite the understatement.

Stick to the big guns in this one. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Evgeni Kuznetsov should all be in play, with Backstrom and Kuznetsov being a great stack option at center. Buffalo doesn’t give up a lot of power play opportunities (only 2.44 per game), so even if John Carlson plays, the price tag won’t match the value. With that, it is important to add that Kuznetsov and Ovechkin lead the Caps in even strength points, with 22 and 21 respectively.

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Pittsburgh Penguins at home against Toronto

The Penguins have really struggled to find offense this year, that’s no secret. They have, however, been taking steps in the right direction since new head coach Mike Sullivan took over two weeks ago.

Here is a look at their rolling shot-attempt chart since Sullivan took over compared to where Johnston left off…


Tonight the Pens will face a Toronto team whom they have won seven straight against and beaten twice this season by a combined score of 6-1. Also, the Leafs will come to CONSOL on short rest as they gave up six goals last night to the Islanders. The lone bright spot for the Leafs is James Reimer, who hasn’t started since Dec. 3 because of a lower-body injury, should be back in net.

Sidney Crosby typically draws the attention of Dion Phaneuf when these two teams meet, so give the bump in value to Evgeni Malkin who leads the Penguins in scoring and has 51 points in 29 career games against Toronto. He’ll be paired with Patric Hornqvist and David Perron, however Hornqvist gets a lot of ice time on the power play, so consider him the better stack option. Kris Letang should be back in the lineup for Pittsburgh, so consider him an option from the blue line as well, though there is a chance Trevor Daley – who has played very well – could remain in his spot on the PP for the time being.


Philadelphia at San Jose

The Sharks would be the favorite here, however they’ve lost four in a row, Joe Pavelski did not practice Tuesday because he has the flu, they’re only 4-10 this season at home, and have lost seven of their last eight at home. All of this is bound to turn around at some point, but I need to see it happen before I put my money on the line. For this reason, I will be fading the Sharks tonight. For Philly, Jakub Voracek has a six-game point streak (three goals, six assists) and is a good option at wing, however Center Claude Giroux has been held without a point in the past five games.

New York Rangers at Tampa

Tampa won the previous meeting 2-1 back in November, and another low-scoring game should be the expectation as these two square off. Neither has played particularly well as of late, so this will be another matchup I would stay away from if you are looking for goals.

New Jersey at Ottawa

I love this game for no other reason than both teams are terrible and their last matchup yielded nine goals. Both teams played last night –Ottawa gave up a season-high seven goals on 37 shots in a loss to Boston, while New Jersey beat Carolina at home. The Sens are a better team at home, and will have backup Andrew Hammond and his .925 save percentage in net, so we will give the edge to them coming off that tough loss despite the Devils being a decent road team.

For the Sens, their second line of Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan has by far been their best line and is an affordable stack option with pricey defenseman Erik Karlsson.

For New Jersey, Mike Cammalleri and Kyle Palmieri have been carrying the load and wouldn’t be a bad stack with Lee Stempniak and Adam Henrique if you can make it work.

Player Rankings

Rankings are price sensitive


1.) Evgeni Kuznetsov – $5,700 – Washington Capitals

2.) Nicklas Backstrom – $6,200 – Washington Capitals

3.) Evgeni Malkin – $7,500 – Pittsburgh Penguins

4.) Kyle Turris – $6,100 – Ottawa Senators

5.) Sidney Crosby – $7,000 – Pittsburgh Penguins

6.) Joe Thornton – $4,800 – San Jose Sharks


1.) Alex Ovechkin – $8,800 – Washington Capitals

2.) Bobby Ryan – $ 5,500 – Ottawa Senators

3.) T.J. Oshie – $5,800 – Washington Capitals

4.) Patric Hornqvist – $5,800 – Pittsburgh Penguins

5.) Mike Cammalleri – $5,500 – New Jersey Devils

6.) Mike Hoffman – $5,900 – Ottawa Senators

7.) Jakub Voracek – $6,000 – Philadelphia Flyers

8.) Mark Stone – $5,400 – Ottawa Senators


1.) Erik Karlsson – $7,600 – Ottawa Senators

2.) Brent Burns – $8,000 – San Jose Sharks

3.) Trevor Daley – $3,600 – Pittsburgh Penguins

4.) Matt Niskanen – $4,300 – Washington Capitals

5.) Olli Maatta – $3,400 – Pittsburgh Penguins

6.) Keith Yandle – $4,600 – New York Rangers


1.) Braden Holtby – $8,400 – Washington Capitals

2.) Ben Bishop – $7,600 – Tampa Bay Lightning

3.) Henrik Lundqvist – $7,700 – New York Rangers

4.) Matt Murray – $6,300 – Pittsburgh Penguins


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