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 today's best bets:
The Panthers have done a nice job of tightening up their defensive coverage this season, but Datsyuk is in the zone right now. The Magic Man has seven goals and 11 points in eight games since returning from a groin injury, and 19 points in 14 career games against Florida. His projections (0.3 G, 0.6 A, 0.2 +/-, 0.4 PIM, 2.6 SOG, 0.3 PPP) are aggressive, but the way he's going Datsyuk is worth the risk.Defense: Dennis Wideman, Flames (at Penguins, 7 p.m. EST; TVA2, SNW, ROOT)
He gets overlooked playing behind Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie, but Wideman's been a consistent point producer for the Flames this season. He's put up two goals, five points and 15 shots during his past five games, so he's getting pucks to the net effectively and consistently. Saddled with the softest projections of any defenseman on the board tonight (0.1 G, 0.3 A, -0.2 +/-, 0.4 PIM, 1.7 SOG, 0.2 PPP), he's a solid bet to top out.
Picking a goalie against the Oilers this days is like putting money on the Globetrotters to beat the Washington Generals: It's not a sure thing, but pretty darn close. Edmonton is scoring just 2.17 goals per game, 28th in the league, and 29th in goals-against. Put those two together and you've got a team that's lost 12 of its last 13 and showing no real signs of changing course any time soon. Even playing behind a battered defense, Ducks keeper Andersen (0.6 W, 2.4 GA, 24.5 SV) is a safe play.