The Bruins are on to the Stanley Cup Finals, and tonight, they’ll have a look at their potential opponent, as St. Louis hosts San Jose in game four of the Western Conference Final. Here’s who I’ll be targeting for Showdown contests tonight…and why.
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
SAN JOSE SHARKS @ ST. LOUIS BLUES (8:05pm Faceoff)
Game Four (San Jose leads 2-1)
Implied Odds: St. Louis 54% | Total: 5.5
The Blues are likely to come out angry tonight, looking to even up the series at home, after another controversial Sharks win. The top line for St. Louis wasn’t super impressive in game three, although we did see Tarasenko finally break out of his funk. I’ll have some exposure to STL1 – namely Tarasenko and Schwartz – but the O’Reilly/Perron/Blais line is probably my favorite target in tonight’s game. With the second line together at 5v5, the Blues controlled 76.9% of the Corsi share on Wednesday night – piling up 20 attempts, 8 scoring chances and a goal in just over 13 minutes. This line will continue to garner lower ownership than the top line, yet Schwartz is the only St. Louis forward to outscore O’Reilly or Perron in 16 Blues playoff games. Blais has been decent, but I’d rather load up O’Reilly and Perron for my STL2 mini-stacks.
I’ll use Sharks sporadically tonight, but I’m not stacking any of the forwards. St. Louis slows things down so much on home ice. Sure, they wound up with 5 goals in game three, but two of the goals came from the Sharks third-line, one was a random Karlsson shot from the point, one came in the final minutes playing 6-on-5, etc. – there was nothing in that game that suggested to me that Sharks forwards will be wrecking too much havoc in St. Louis.
A few more notes – the Sharks third-liners played a really nice game, matching up well against the Blues depth. Joe Thornton will generally be the point-getter when that line overachieves, so he’s the only one I’ll consider as a one-off. Also, the Blues fourth-line has looked good, too. Alex Steen is the cheap one-off I want from that line. Lastly, Vince Dunn won’t play tonight, so make sure not to have him in any lineups.
Favorite Mini-Stacks: STL – Tarasenko/Schwartz; O’Reilly/Perron; SJ – None
One-Off Player Pool: SJ – Jones, Burns, E. Karlsson, Vlasic, Couture, Hertl, Thornton, Meier, Pavelski, Nyquist; STL – Binnington, Pietrangelo, Parayko, Edmundson, O’Reilly, Bozak, Steen, Tarasenko, Schwartz, Perron, Maroon