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 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. To help you prepare, here are the players that I think are primed to have a big night:
Yes, Kopitar got off to a brutal start, with just three points in his first 11 games. But after going 1-1-2 versus the Canucks last Saturday, and again against the Ducks on Wednesday, he seems to be back in the groove. He traditionally does well against Dallas (1-4-5 in three games last season), and with wingman Marian Gaborik starting to find his game after a long injury layoff, the L.A.'s top center could be on the verge of a breakthrough performance.
He's been overshadowed the Norris Trophy-caliber play of Mark Giordano and the goal-scoring streak of Dennis Wideman, but Brodie has proved to be a reliable supplier of offense for surprising Calgary. He had a six-game point streak snapped in the Flames' 4–1 loss to the Hurricanes last Monday, but still has five assists in five November games. His consistency makes him a smart play in this game against defensively porous Arizona (3.33 goals allowed per game, 27th in the league).
He may have been the subject of buyout rumors over the summer, but Ward is now the hottest keeper in hockey. The veteran is 5-0-0 in November, with a sizzling .946 save percentage and a 1.38 goals-against average. Last Monday, he Carolina to a 4–1 win over Calgary. Ward's teammates are doing a nice job keeping scoring chances against him to a minimum—holding the opposition to just 27.3 shots per game, seventh best in the league—but Ward is also making the big stops. His play has turned the Hurricanes' season around.