Game two in San Jose tonight. Here are my rules for building optimal NHL showdown lineups, followed by some analysis on tonight’s options.
RYAN’S RULES FOR BUILDING OPTIMAL NHL SHOWDOWN LINEUPS
RULE #1: Set minimum salary to $42,000, maximum to $50,000
RULE #2: Use at least 4 players for one team
RULE #3: Don’t play both team’s goaltenders
RULE #4:Play no more than 2 defensemen
RULE #5: Do not full-stack any lines
RULE #6: No more than 1 mini-stack
RULE #7: Use only lines 1 & 2 when mini-stacking
RULE #8: Multi-enter whenever possible
ST. LOUIS BLUES @ SAN JOSE SHARKS (9:05pm Faceoff)
Game Two (San Jose leads 1-0)
Implied Odds: San Jose 53% | Total: 5.5
The Sharks won 6-3 on Saturday, jumping out to a 1-0 series lead. We saw a pretty strong match for San Jose, putting Couture v. Schenn, Hertl v. O’Reilly, and Thornton v. Bozak. The Sharks controlled 63.6% of the Corsi share with their top line on the ice, generating a healthy amount of shot attempts, which resulted in two even-strength goals. I definitely wouldn’t leave Logan Couture off a SJ1 mini-stack, but I will likely have lineups with both Couture/Meier and Couture/Nyquist. Meier has 5 goals and 8 assists in 15 playoff games, while Nyquist has just 1 goal and 9 assists, so I’ll probably have more exposure to the Couture/Meier duo.
STL1 was outworked, but they did have a number of good scoring chances, and the Schwartz/Tarasenko mini-stack provides a really nice floor – and a ceiling to match if Tarasenko can start getting the puck in the net again. He’s scored just once on his last 22 shots on goal – if that doesn’t scream positive regression…
In the battle of line-two’s, neither trio really stood out. This was extremely low-event hockey with SJ2/STL2 on the ice together. I do really like Pavelski as a one-off, but I’m not sure I’ll be stacking this line too much. Evander Kane hasn’t scored since game two of the Colorado series – and has just 2 goals through 15 playoff games. Hertl, on the other hand, has 9 goals and 5 assists in 15 games this playoff season, so I’ll have a bit of mini-stack exposure to Hertl/Pavelski – both of them also give you PP1 exposure.
The Bozak line really shined in game one for St. Louis. We don’t stack third-liners, but either of the three (Bozak/Thomas/Maroon) should be in serious contention for a one-off spot in your lineup. Bozak (3G 4A) would be my preference for GPP’s, as he has produced more, gets you bonus faceoff points, and gets significantly more ice time than both Maroon (3G 2A) and Thomas (1G 4A).
Favorite Mini-Stacks: STL – Tarasenko/Schwartz; SJ – Couture/Meier; Couture/Nyquist; Hertl/Pavelski
One-Off Player Pool: STL – Binnington, Pietrangelo, Parayko, Dunn, Edmundson, O’Reilly, Bozak, Tarasenko, Schwartz, Perron, Blais, Thomas, Maroon; SJ – Jones, Burns, Karlsson, Vlasic, Couture, Hertl, Meier, Kane, Pavelski, Nyquist, Donskoi