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:
You have to dig pretty far down the list of today's eligible forwards to find Hudler's name, which tells you all you need to know about his projections (0.3 G, 0.4 A, -0.1 +/-, 0.3 PIM, 1.7 SOG, 0.2 PPP). Those look pretty soft compared to how well he's played of late. Over his past four games, Hudler has posted five goals, three assists, a +3, three power play points and an average of 3.5 shots per game. Looking to extend his hot streak against a Colorado defense that ranks 27th in the league, he is clearly your best play.
Niskanen's been a disappointment on the ice and in fantasy this season, but he's starting to look a bit more comfortable rocking that Washington red. The puck-moving defenseman has a goal, five points and eight shots in his past four games, with three of his points coming on the power play. Carolina's defense has been much better of late, but with keeper Cam Ward unable to go tonight (lower-body injury) Niskanen has a solid chance to beat his projections (0.1 G, 0.5 A, 0.3 +/-, 0.4 PIM, 1.7 SOG, 0.2 PPP).
I'll admit it—all indications are this pick could blow up big time. Still, sometimes you have to go with your gut in fantasy and this is one of those times. Brodeur will be highly motivated tonight to prove that he deserves this chance he's being given, and the Blues should be highly engaged after last night's embarrassing loss in Chicago. Add in that Marty shut out the Predators the last time he faced them and he might just surprise us all (0.5 W, 2.3 GA, 24.1 SV, 0.1 SO).
Other games on the schedule: Islanders at Senators (7:30 p.m. EST; MSG+, RDS, TSN5); Bruins at Sharks (10:30 p.m. EST; SN360, NESN, CSN-CA); Canucks at Penguins (7 p.m. EST; SN360, ROOT); Devils at Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. EST; MSG, TSN4); Stars at Red Wings (7:30 p.m. EST; NHLN-US, FS-SW, FS-D); Sabres at Lightning (7:30 p.m. EST; MSG-B, BELL TV, SUN); Blue Jackets at Panthers (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-O, FS-F); Kings at Coyotes (9 p.m. EST; FS-W, FS-A)