Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 38 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 11-game slate on this cool, cloudy and crisp Saturday morning here in San Diego, California. As we finish out 2018, 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.
Whatever your daily habit is with respect to playing DFS NHL, the first thing you probably noticed today is that your clear, obvious and number one stack of the day is the Washington Capitals top line (Alexander Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie) and top power play unit against the worst defensive team in the league. As much as we like rostering the Senators offensively as cheap plays, they are still in at the bottom of the NHL is shots against and goals against and they have the third-worst penalty kill.
See under “Other Notable Stacks” for a discussion of another top stack that I refuse to mention in this space.
Your next focus should be the on the Florida Panthers first line (Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Evgenii Dadonov) and top power play unit (add in Keith Yandle and Mike Hoffman) that are skating on home ice tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers who have lost six of its last nine games and have not been able to find an identity. The visiting team does a decent job of limiting shots with its big defenders and its slow pace of game, but its goaltending is horrible. The Flyers are surrendering the third-most goals against per game. Meanwhile, the home team is averaging the fourth most goals per game on the third-most shots.
Other top plays that you should have exposure too are the Colorado Avalanche top line and top power play unit against a visiting Chicago Blackhawks team that is surrendering the second-most goals per game and the Calgary Flames first line against the Vancouver Canucks.
Other Notable Stacks
I initially named this article and my podcast the “Top Shelf Knucklepuck” after the Dallas Stars at the beginning of last season because the Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn trio could not be stopped. How did I get the name? I don’t actually recall, but I know I loved stacking the Stars. However, the team has fallen off this season and I now attack them regularly. If you read my work Thursday, I told you to stack the team the Stars are facing this evening as a differentiator. Well, we are going back to stack the Detroit Red Wings top line (Justin Abdelkader – Dylan Larkin – Gustav Nyquist) again opposite the Stars. Dallas is allowing over 31 shots against and the team has the third-worst puck control numbers in the NHL. The home team has also dropped six of its last nine. Will the Wings win this game? Probably not. However, you should have some exposure to Dylan Larkin as a one-off. You should also stack his line for a 5% play.
As a corollary, the Stars first line (Radulov – Seguin – Benn – John Klingberg) is a top stack, but I cannot bring myself to give it space above given the fact that the line has frustrated me this entire season. As much as I like Larkin as a one-off, the Wings are terrible in their own end as indicated by statistics that they allow the fourth-most shots against and seventh-most goals against per contest.
The Vancouver Canucks never get enough love and the focus in their game (as noted above) will be the home team and the scorching hot Calgary Flames top line. However, as a contrarian play, take a look at the road squad’s second line Nikolay Goldobin – Elias Pettersson – Brock Boeser with Alexander Edler as an add-on for a power play stack.
Do not make the mistake of overlooking the Buffalo Sabres top line (Jeff Skinner – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart) and the Boston Bruins top line (Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak).
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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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