Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 37 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 13-game slate on this cool, cloudy and crisp Thursday morning here in San Diego, California. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration and break from NHL DFS action.
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.
In the NHL’s return from its Christmas break, we have 13 games of action this evening. Even with a massive slate, the top stacks are fairly obvious, so you want to sprinkle in some value plays or some of the lower-owned stacks that I’ll cover below.
As for the heavily-owned stacks, your eyes should immediately go to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2s (Tyler Johnson – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov with Victor Hedman). The home team owns the best offense in the NHL and Vegas currently has the team’s implied goal total set at 4. The Philadelphia Flyer head to Florida and the team comes limping in as they have allowed the third-most goals against per game. Kucherov is averaging nearly 2 points per game over his last 10 while Point is averaging 1.3 and Johnson just under a point. Despite the expensive price tag of the stack, it will be relatively highly-owned on the large slate.
Taylor Hall is out for the New Jersey Devils and Mackenzie Blackwood will between the pipes for his team tonight, but the road team finds itself skating into the Boston Garden to face a rejuvenated Bruins squad. Yes, Patrice Bergeron is back centering the top line (with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak) and in his two games back in action, Bergeron tallied four points and six shots on goal. Marchand and Pastrnak also put up five and three points, respectively. The visiting team has allowed over 31 shots against and the fourth-most goals against and its netminder has yet to notch a victory in three appearances this season. Don’t overlook Torey Krug as part of a Bruins power play stack, which is in play versus the Devils, who struggle in killing off penalties on the road against top puck control teams.
The Igloo serves as host for the Penguins and Red Wings tilt this evening. I’ll get this out of the way and write that I like Dylan Larkin as a one-off (and possibly with his linemates as an uber-contrarian stack against Matt Murray who can implode at any time), but the focus on this write-up is the Penguins top line (Sidney Crosby – Jake Guentzel – Bryan Rust with Kris Letang). Crosby is a cash game lock and his linemates are a fantastic GPP stack (rated second in my model) against a visiting Wings team that has surrendered over 3 goals against per contest this season.
Other Notable Stacks
The Buffalo Sabres top line has been outstanding of the past few weeks as Jack Eichel consistently produces from a DFS perspective. With the team on the road in St. Louis, where the Blues have historically played great hockey, you will not find many DFS players on the Sabres 1 (Eichel – Jeff Skinner – Sam Reinhart) and I think they are a sneaky play and you can get them at 5% owned or less. Grab Rasmus Dahlin or Rasmus Ristolainen as a power play stack opposite the Blues, who have allowed six power play goals against in the last few weeks.
Another obvious stack that could have been mentioned above is the Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid line (with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujarvi) at home against the Vancouver Canucks. As much as I like rostering the Canucks second line, the fact remains that the team is allowing the tenth-most goals against per game on over 31 shots against. Darnell Nurse is a cash game lock for me on FD.
Other notable stacks: Wild 1 (Zucker – Staal – Granlund with Ryan Suter), Capitals 1 (Oshie – Backstrom – Ovechkin with John Carlson), Sharks 2 (Hertl – Couture – Meier), and Jets PP1 (Wheeler – Scheifele – Laine/Connor).
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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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