Friday December 19th, 2014

Play our new daily fantasy hockey game!

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:

Forward: Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks (at Senators, 7:30 p.m. EST; FS-W, RDS, TSN5)

Getzlaf has been killing it lately, with points in nine of his last 10 games (4-9-16). He's using his size to great effect, winning puck battles and venturing into the heavy areas where the bunnies are plentiful but come at a great price. He'll be up against a Senators team that shut out the struggling Devils on Wednesday, but hasn't strung together consecutive wins in more than a month. His projections are steep (0.4 G, 0.8 A, 0.4 +/-, 0.4 PIM, 2.4 SOG, 0.3 PPP) but you have to like his chances to stay hot.

NHL
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Defense: Dustin Byfuglien, Jets (hosting Bruins, 8 p.m. EST; NESN, TSN3)

With points in three of his past five games (1-3-4), Byfuglien is on as good a roll as any defender in action tonight. He's doing a nice job of getting pucks to the net, averaging four per game over this stretch, which is critical to his success. He might be in tough to hit the penalty mark (just two minors in his past 11), but his projections still provide a solid bargain (0.2 G, 0.3 A, 1.2 PIM, 3.1 SOG, 0.1 PPP).

Goalie: Jimmy Howard, Red Wings (hosting Islanders, 7:30 p.m. EST; MSG+, FS-D)

Howard picked up his second shutout of the season in his last start, turning aside all 29 Columbus shots before taking the loss in the shootout. It was just his latest strong start. He's gone 2-1-3 with a 1.78 GAA and a .930 save percentage in December. Facing fairly minimal projections (0.6 W, 2.2 GA, 23.5 SV, 0.1 SO) he's a good bet tonight against the Isles.

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