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 three picks that I think are primed to have a big night. Here are today's best bets:
Forward: Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks (hosting Oilers, 10 p.m. EST; SNW, SNOL, FS-W)
Even without the injured Corey Perry on his wing, Getzlaf (0.3 G, 0.5 A, 0.1 +/-, 0.5 PIM, 2.4 SOG, 0.2 PPP) is the smart play tonight. The big center has 12 goals and 33 points in 30 career games against the Oilers and is likely to add to those totals while facing a largely ineffective defense.
Defense: Cody Franson, Maple Leafs (at Red Wings, 8 p.m. EST; NBCSN, TVA, SN)
Not many options on D with just two games on the docket tonight, so let's take a flyer on Franson (0.1 G, 0.4 A, 0.1 +/-, 0.4 PIM, 1.7 SOG, 0.2 PPP). He's scoreless in his last three, but he's getting tons of ice (averaging better than 23 minutes during his past six) including better than three minutes of power play time per game and he was a +3 in the Leafs' last meeting with Detroit. He's worth a shot.
Goalie: Jimmy Howard, Red Wings (hosting Maple Leafs, 8 p.m. EST; NBCSN, TVA, SN)
Betting against Toronto's blistering offense might not make a lot of sense on the surface, but I place a lot of value in Howard's recent track record against the Leafs. He's 3-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA in his last five against the Buds, and the way Detroit is dominating possession lately Toronto won't get as much time with the puck as it has during much of its 6-1-1 hot streak. Howard's projections (0.6 W, 2.5 GA, 23.4 S) are relatively soft, giving him a lot of room to rack up points.
No other games on the schedule.