If you haven't tried our daily Hockey 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 tonight's best bets:
Versteeg has cooled down since his romp through the month of November, counting for just one assist in his past five games. So why take him? His projections (0.3 G, 0.4 A, 0.5 PIM, 2.3 SOG, 0.1 PPP) are low, he's still playing with Patrick Kane and Brad Richards, and he's still getting pucks to the net (seven shots in Sunday's 2-1 win over Calgary). He's due for a big game.
Lindholm has gotten past his slow start and rediscovered his offensive touch during the past three weeks, finding his way onto the score sheet in seven of his past nine games. Lucky for us, that success appears to have been completely overlooked in his projections (0.1 G, 0.2 A, 0.5 PIM, 1.8 SOG). There's high risk in the penalty minutes category (he has just one minor in his past 10 games), but he's still the best play.
This one's a battle of the miserly against the miserable. The Preds, led by Rinne, are allowing a league-low 1.93 goals per game. Meanwhile the 22nd ranked Bruins, who are still missing top center David Krejci, are averaging just 2.47 goals per game. Add that to Rinne's strong play of late—he's allowed two or fewer in eight of his past nine—and his projections (0.6 W, 2.2 GA, 24.5 SV, 0.1 SO) are a steal compared to what's expected of most of his peers. He's the hottest goalie in hockey. No reason not to stick with him here.
Other games on the schedule: Kings at Blues (8 p.m. EST; SN1, SNO, SNP, FS-W, FS-MW); Lightning at Flyers (7 p.m. EST; SUN, CSN-PH); Hurricanes at Canadiens (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-CR, RDS, SNE); Blue Jackets at Red Wings (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-O, FS-D); Capitals at Panthers (7:30 p.m. EST; CSN-DC+, FS-F); Sabres at Jets (8:30 p.m. EST; MSG-B, BELL TV, TSN3); Rangers at Flames (9 p.m. EST; MSG+, SNF); Oilers at Coyotes (9 p.m. EST; SNW, FS-A)