If you haven't tried our new daily Hockey Throwdown fantasy game, check it out. The link in the tile will take you to the game page where you can set up a head-to-head challenge with a friend, an enemy, the cable guy, the vicar, me ... basically anyone. Pick three players on three different NHL teams who you think will most surpass their projected totals in such categories as wins, saves and goals-against average for goalies; and goals, assists, plus-minus, PIM and shots on goal for forwards and defensemen. Your team earns points based on live game stats. Highest score wins. You can play for free or wager anywhere from $1 to $500.
Each day, I'll be offering up my three picks for that night's action. (Because there are only two games on Monday night's schedule, the next throwdown will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 11.) To help you prepare, here are the players I think are primed to have a big night:
You can't ignore the hottest hands in the league. Tarasenko, whom the NHL just named its Third Star of the Week, has 12 points in his last seven games and has at least one point in five straight. The Predators did a nice job defending against him on Saturday, holding him to one shot (a season-low), but he's likely to match (or exceed) his season average of four shots against a Buffalo team that's allowing a league-high 37.4 per game. And with the flashy winger scoring at 16.1% clip, every one of his shots is a legitimate scoring opportunity.
Burns had an up-and-down weekend, scoring a pair of third period goals to lead San Jose to a victory over Dallas on Saturday before going –3 in a dismal 5–2 loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday. Which Burns will show up against Florida on Tuesday? Bet on the former. He will be going up against a defense that's sprung a leak of late, having allowed 10 goals in its last two games. The Panthers are also a club that Burns has had some success against—a team-high four points (one goal, three assists) in two meetings last season.
I have a theory that usually pays off: When in doubt, go with Rinne. The big Finn has been sharp this season, allowing two goals or fewer in nine of his 12 appearances, and has stopped 87 of 91 shots (a .956 save percentage) in his last three starts, all wins. Granted, Edmonton lit him up last season, but that's when he was still trying to work his way back into shape after losing most of the season to a hip injury.