If you haven't tried our 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 offer 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:
MaxPac has scored in two straight, so his hands are warming up, but it's the matchup against the Wild that makes him such an appealing play. Pacioretty has feasted on Minnesota, going 5-1-6 in their past three meetings, so this one—and the emotion of playing in the Canadiens' first game after Jean Béliveau's passing, should bring out his best. Add in that Minny is going with Darcy Kuemper tonight (four goals allowed in each of his past two starts) and Pacioretty (0.4 G, 0.3 A, 0.4 PIM, 3.5 SOG, 0.2 PPP) becomes the smart play.
After a painfully slow start, Pietrangelo is starting to look like the smart, puck-moving defender we know he can be. He has three multi-point efforts in his past five games, making him the hottest blueliner in action tonight. His projections are light (0.1 G, 0.4 A, 0.3 PIM, 2.1 SOG, 0.2 PPP) and he'll be up against Antti Raanta, Chicago's backup keeper. Hard not to like his chances.
Andersen's had his ups and downs this season, especially during the past couple weeks where he's sporting a 2.91 GAA and .911 save percentage. But he's finding a way to win games, and he's up against a Philadelphia team tonight that's been shutout twice in its past five games while scoring only five goals during that span. Given the options on the board tonight, his line (0.6 W, 1.9 GA, 23.8 SV, 0.1 SO) looks good.