Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 29 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 11-game slate on this rainy Thursday morning here in San Diego, California. Yes, it is raining and it has been raining since yesterday afternoon. Our environment needs this rain badly and I believe we are still in a “drought” for 2018.
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.
The easy top stack today is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Honestly, if you’ve been playing NHL DFS all season, you should be able to take a quick glance at the slate and see the fact that the home team is the heaviest Vegas moneyline favorite by far (-310) against the visiting Detroit Red Wings and know to stack the heck out of both top lines. The Leafs top line consists of Patrick Marleau – Auston Matthews – William Nylander. The Leafs second line consists of Zach Hyman – John Tavares – Mitch Marner. The top six forwards along with Morgan Rielly are in play this evening against a Red Wings team that is allowing the third-most shots against and also has bottom six puck control numbers. Fire up the Leafs and enjoy a high-event contest.
The defending second-place Vegas Golden Knights are back at home in the income tax free state of Nevada and are hosting a Chicago Blackhawks team that has struggled mightily in the city of sin. The Blackhawks are 0-4 against the Knights in their last four meetings while the home team is 6-1 in their most recent seven games. Despite this recent success, the Golden Knights offense will go overlooked as they burned the DFS world for the first few months of the season. Your top stack from the game is the team’s first line is Jonathan Marchessault – William Karlsson – Reilly Smith with Nate Schmidt. You can add Alex Tuch as part of a power play stack. Keep in mind that the Blackhawks have allowed the second-most goals against per game (3.69) and the sixth-most shots against per game (33.6).
It will be hard to ignore the Calgary Flames tonight as they are coming off a game in which they poured in nine goals on the road in superb fashion against a strong team in the Columbus Blue Jackets. The home squad has now won three in a row and are hosting a Minnesota Wild team that has won just one of their four most recent games. Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Elias Lindholm/Matthew Tkachuk with Mark Giordano is your primary stack as you have to have exposure to an offense that has averaged 5.33 goals per game over their last three.
Other Notable Stacks
With 11 games, there is a lot to like from an offensive perspective and, unless you are mass entering lineups into GPPs, it is tough to get exposure to every line that you like. For today, some of the other lines that I will have exposure to in my Core Plays are the Columbus Blue Jackets power play unit in Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh Penguins top line, the New Jersey Devils top line on the road in Los Angeles, and the Montreal Canadiens second line in Ottawa.
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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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