The Shot Dude: Five for Friday
One of my favorite hockey phrases is five for fighting.
It means you just saw a great scrap between two skaters, and they're off to the naughty box.
You know your favorite Shot Dude is a lover, not a fighter, so I'll keep the great fantasy hockey advice coming and avoid mixing it up with huge guys missing some teeth.
The Bovada data tool on our Home page is the best way to learn about today's fantastic five NHL matchups:
The crack staff at FanDuel has done it again. Another great selection of fantasy games await you on their site. Gander at their choices and don't be shy about including some of these studs:
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh ($9700) ... had many of us worried that this would be a lost season when he'd only scored three times and dished out eight helpers 20 games in. Dude's potted 25 goals and added 30 helpers in the 45 games since to push his average over a point per game. The Penguins would not be in playoff contention without his heavy contribution and will be on the road in Columbus tonight. With just an assist in two games against the Blue Jackets this season, I see Crosby having a big game tonight. After all, Crosby has used Columbus as a whipping post with 6 goals and 15 assists in 16 career games against them.
Artemi Panarin, Chicago ($7000) ... is the front-runner in my book for the Calder Trophy for the year he's put together. All this dude has done is average almost a point per game, take 155 shots, and get close to 19 minutes of ice time each contest. It won't be easy, but I think Goal No 26 comes tonight in Dallas for Panarin. In two games against the Stars this season, dude's taken six shots and registered two assists. Chicago and Dallas both have 88 points in the Central Division standings. With the Stars' best defender, John Klingberg, injured and not due to play tonight, Chicago has a great chance to grab first place with a win.
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay ($6800) ... has a smaller sample size against his opponent tonight than Crosby, but Johnson has tallied 11 points in 9 career games against Philadelphia. Dude's battled through adversity this season, but has turned it up a notch recently with 16 points -- 7 goals, 9 assists -- in his last 18 games. Tampa had won eight straight before dropping their last two but will enjoy the comforts of home and their incredible 21-10-3 mark in Amalie Arena this season. The Flyers are the first team out of the playoff picture in the East but have won 7 of their last 10 contests.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia ($5300) ... scored two goals on three shots the only other time he faced Tampa Bay. Dude's one of the biggest reasons why the Flyers still have a glimmer of hope for the playoffs this season. Gostisbehere has netted 4 game-winning goals and 14 snipes total on 111 shots. I like the Lightning to take this game but don't think they have anyone to completely stop the strength and speed of Gostisbehere. That is why this very young d-man gets almost 20 minutes a game and has registered 37 points since being called up 47 games ago.
Kevin Shattenkirk, St Louis ($4800) ... is the steadiest of workhorses the Blues have in their stable of blueliners. Averaging over 22 minutes every night, this dude never stops scrapping for loose pucks and going after opponents. Offensively, Shattenkirk has accounted for 139 shots and 35 points in 58 games, while spending 48 minutes in the penalty box. I see tonight's home game with Anaheim as another gritfest that could see Shattenkirk's fantasy value benefit greatly. An assist, some penalty minutes, or even a fight are not out of the question in this one.
Joni Ortio, Calgary ($6500) ... interests me mostly because of his rock-bottom price tag tonight at home against Arizona. Neither the Flames nor the Coyotes are very good, and both have no shot at the playoffs this year. The 'Yotes have just been dreadful on the road, only winning 11 times in 33 games. Ortio's chance at a win tonight is further fortified by the fact that Calgary has played their best hockey at home, with 18 wins that includes a 3-2 overtime victory against Nashville two nights ago. I think Ortio will do his part; after all, dude's only allowed more than two goals once in his last eight games.
Your favorite Shot Dude feels confident that you will be a winner even on this short 5-game slate.
Take in a deep breath of fresh air, exhale slowly, and always give it your best shot!
You can follow me on twitter@fsofia8.