Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving are behind us and Tuesday welcomes us with an entertaining nine game NHL schedule so let’s get straight to the picks.
Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings – Quick has struggled out of the gates this season, but I like him to grab his first win of the season tonight. He’ll welcome a banged up Edmonton team into the Staples Center who he dominated in both meetings last season and who he owns an 11-1-4 record with a 1.53 GAA and .940 save percentage against in his career. He was terrific down the stretch last season, posting an 11-4-2 record with a 1.86 after the All-Star break and there isn’t any reason to believe he’ll disappoint this year.
Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators – If Quick’s shaky start to the 2014-15 season scares you off then Rinne is a fine alternative. He’s picked up wins in each of his first two starts this year and has a date with a mediocre Calgary team in the Music City. He was disappointing last season, but he’s strong bet to pick up his third straight win tonight and I expect a bounce-back season from the Fin.
Others: Cam Ward, Ben Bishop
Jeff Carter – Los Angeles Kings – Carter has found the back of the net in each of the last two games and is developing a nice rapport with youngsters Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson on the Kings second forward line. He lit up this Edmonton team last season for two goals, three assists and a +4 rating in their four meetings. The Oilers have allowed ten goals in their first two games and definitely aren’t known for their defensive exploits.
Joffrey Lupul – Toronto Maple Leafs – While most people targeting the Maple Leafs will focus on the JVR/Bozak/Kessel line (and for good reason), I’ll be looking at Lupul and his linemates (Kadri and Winnik) to produce this evening. Lupul is averaging over 17 minutes of ice-time per game so far this season with a healthy dose of those minutes coming on the wing of Toronto’s second power-play unit. He was terrific at the Air Canada Center last season where he scored 17 of his 22 goals, racked up over 68% of his points and has found the scoresheet already in both home games this season.
Alexander Semin – Carolina Hurricanes – Semin picked up a pair of assists in his last game, and while his best years may be behind him, I like his chances tonight against a tired Buffalo Sabres team. He amassed four goals and added an assist in their three meetings last season and will be asked to carry the offensive load for the Hurricanes now that both Staal brothers and Jeff Skinner will be watching from the press box. He’s a near lock to see roughly 20 minutes of ice-time tonight and will see plenty of action on the wing of the Hurricane’s top power-play unit.
Mike Ribeiro – Nashville Predators – Ribeiro has been held off the scoresheet in each of the Predator’s first two games, but he’s had plenty of near misses. With an asking price of only 4,000, he’ll likely be a highly owned player tonight against the Calgary Flames. He’s centering both the top forward line as well as the #1 power-play unit in Nashville and has the luxury of skating alongside the very dangerous James Neal. He’s proven to be a point-per-game type of player in the recent past and it won’t be at all surprising to see him reach that level again this season.
Anthony Duclair – New York Rangers – Alain Vigneault has awarded Duclair with some playing time alongside Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash on the Rangers top forward line, and the results have been promising. The 19 year old has been impressive, tallying a pair of assists and nearly scoring on multiple occasions. He’s also seeing time on the wing of the Rangers #1 power-play unit and is a terrific “punt” option ($2,600) against a somewhat defensively challenged New York Islanders team that owned a putrid 78.1% penalty kill last season.
Shea Weber – Nashville Predators – Ok, so I feel a little bit bad for picking on the Calgary Flames so much, but it’s likely going to be a profitable approach this season. While he certainly won’t come cheap (6,100) there are plenty of viable value plays to help fit him onto your roster. He’s lit the lamp in both games this season and is a lock to see nearly 25 minutes of ice-time tonight. He’s not shy to unleash his booming slapshot from the point of the Predator’s top power-play unit and he scored three goals and added an assist in his three meetings against this Calgary team last season.
Andrej Sekera – Carolina Hurricanes – Sekera broke out last season, posting a career high 11 goals and 33 assists in 74 games and got out of the gates nicely this season by picking up a pair of assists in the Hurricanes first game. He torched Buffalo last season, racking up one goal and four assists (+4) in their three meetings. He logged nearly 27 minutes of ice-time in their last game and saw a healthy dose of playing time on the point of the Canes’ second power-play unit. Both the matchup and the asking price (4,100) are appealing here.
Stuart Percy – Toronto Maple Leafs – Percy has tallied an assist in each of the Maple Leafs first three games this season and has also been trusted with 20+ minutes of ice-time in each game. He’s been aggressive offensively and shown a poise with the puck that you don’t see from too many 21 year old rookies thus far. While Cody Franson’s return to the team may put a slight dent into his playing time, he’s still set to see time on the Leafs second power-play unit, making his 3400 asking price quite the bargain.
Best of luck tonight,
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)