NHL Friday: Daily fantasy hockey picks for four-game playoff slate
Four Game 6s on a Friday? This has been quite the first round to the NHL playoffs. We could see four series end, four Game 7s scheduled, or land somewhere in between. Here are the players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineups.
Jake Oettinger, DAL at MIN ($35): As was the case last year, Oettinger has come up huge when the stakes are raised. He's only allowed two goals over his last two games, and he had a 2.37 GAA and .919 save percentage during the regular season. Sure, Oettinger and the Stars are on the road, but this season the netminder has a 2.23 GAA and .926 save percentage in away games, and that includes the playoffs.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Alexandar Georgiev, COL at SEA ($34): The Kraken are surprisingly up in this series, but if you look at Georgiev's numbers, maybe that isn't surprising. He's allowed at least three goals in four of the five games in this series. Hey, Seattle did finish fourth in goals per contest this season. Even if Colorado staves off elimination, it doesn't seem likely that it will be because Georgiev stood on his head.
Brock Nelson, NYI vs. CAR ($21): Nelson has come up big for the Islanders in this series. He's tallied five points in five games, including two games in which he has racked up a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes finished first in shots on net allowed per contest, but Nelson has still managed 13 shots on goal so far. Antti Raanta looked strong in Game 1, but since then he has an .894 save percentage.
CENTER TO AVOID
Aleksander Barkov, FLA vs. BOS ($28): Barkov has three assists in this series, but at this salary you are kind of looking for more than the occasional assist and a few shots on goal. Of course, the matchup has played a role. The Bruins finished first in GAA and penalty-kill percentage. I know Linus Ullmark was the goat in Game 5, but he's going to win the Vezina on the strength of his 1.89 GAA and .938 save percentage. He should rebound.
Tyler Bertuzzi, BOS at FLA ($19): Bertuzzi's eight-game point streak ended with Game 5, but he still put two shots on net, and he also still played 5:34 on the power play. His time with the extra man could be key, as the Panthers had the 23rd-ranked penalty kill. Bertuzzi could be back on the score sheet in Game 6.
Evan Rodrigues, COL at SEA ($17): Here's something I did not anticipate saying prior to this series, much less this season: At least Evan Rodrigues is doing his part for the Avalanche. He's got a four-game point streak (though that Game 5 goal was not exactly skill based), and in Game 1 he had six shots on net. Philipp Grubauer had an .895 save percentage this season, so if you get pucks on him, it can pay off.
WINGS TO AVOID
Kirill Kaprizov, MIN vs. DAL ($32): Kaprizov has not been up to his lofty standards in his series, and given how he was injured leading up to the postseason, I wonder if maybe something is still holding him back. The Russian has been held without a point in his last four games. Oettinger had a 2.37 GAA and .919 save percentage this year, and in the playoffs he's been able to deliver in a way Kaprizov has not.
Artturi Lehkonen, COL at SEA ($19): I've said it previously in writing these postseason articles, but sometimes it's just about who sees to be off their game when it comes to recommending who to avoid. Lehkonen has been held not just without a point, but without a shot on net in his last two contests. The Kraken only allowed 27.0 shots on goal per game, so they could certainly blank Lehkonen again if he's not firing on all cylinders.
Miro Heiskanen, DAL at MIN ($24): Heiskanen averaged 25:29 per game in ice time this season, but in the playoffs the Stars have clearly decided that the Finn is going to be on the ice until the wheels fall off. Even excluding the overtime-laden Game 1, Heiskanen has averaged 26:02 per contest over his last four games, and he's been over 27 minutes in each of his last two outings. Also, he has six points, 12 shots on net, and 12 blocked shots in this series. That much activity is highly encouraging.
Dmitry Orlov, BOS at FLA ($17): Like Bertuzzi, Orlov has a point streak – five in this case – end in Game 5. However, the Russian defenseman had a shot on goal, two blocked shots, and four hits in that one, so at least he was engaged. Sergei Bobrovsky may have come up big by making 44 saves on 47 shots in Game 5, but he had a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage during the regular season. He may have played the hero last time out, but the game prior he allowed five goals.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Aaron Ekblad, FLA vs. BOS ($17): Ekblad returned for Game 5, and he played 27:29, but he also didn't have a point or a shot on net. Perhaps he's not at full strength, or maybe it's just the matchup. Again, the Bruins were first in GAA and penalty-kill percentage. There is no tougher opponent possible.
Brady Skjei, CAR at NYI ($12): Skjei had 18 goals this season, but with a 9.6 shooting percentage. Regression has visited the defenseman in the playoffs, as his only point is an assist. Ilya Sorokin had a .924 save percentage this year, so you tend to need a bit of luck to beat him.