By Chris Morgan
Amidst all the March Madness and the arrival of spring, the NHL keeps going strong. Friday brings us four games on the slate, and here are my players to target and avoid from those eight teams taking the ice.
Jonathan Bernier, ANA vs. WPG ($29): The Jets have been good offensively, but Bernier has been enjoying a nice run in his own right. Over his last 15 games, he’s posted an excellent 2.06 GAA and .934 save percentage. However, the reason for his inclusion here is that Anaheim has an excellent chance of getting Bernier a win; the Jets have allowed 3.16 goals per game and will be on the second night of a back-to-back. A win is always big for a goalie in daily fantasy, and Bernier’s as good a bet to win as any goalie on this slate.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Petr Mrazek, DET vs. TAM ($29): Mrazek will also be facing a team playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but he’s a very different story than Bernier. For starters, Mrazek has a 3.01 GAA and a .900 save percentage. Detroit has also been one of the worst teams in the league this season, averaging only 2.39 goals per game. You can do better elsewhere, especially considering that Bernier is the same price.
Logan Couture, SAN at DAL ($22): The Stars have allowed 3.22 goals per game will be on the second night of a back-to-back, setting the Sharks up for offense. Indeed, the Stars’ two Finnish goalies have a collective .893 save percentage, so Couture should be happy regardless of which one he faces. Couture has notched 25 goals on 172 shots in 71 games, and he’s tallied 14 points in his last 15 games. Additionally, Couture has averaged 3:03 per game on the power play, and he’s notched 15 points in that time (including 11 goals). The Stars have the league’s worst penalty kill, so Couture will likely be salivating at the potential to get a chance with the man advantage.
CENTER TO AVOID
Bryan Little, WPG at ANA ($18): Little has notched 20 goals in 50 games, but that’s thanks in part to a career-high 18.9 shooting percentage. He also only has 19 assists, so he’s averaging 6.6 Yahoo fantasy points per game. Anaheim has only allowed 2.44 goals per game, fourth-fewest in the NHL, on 29.7 shots on net per contest. Little has registered one shot or fewer in six of his last eight games as well.
Patrick Eaves, ANA vs. WPG ($18): Eaves has acclimated to the Ducks well, as he’s notched four goals, two assists and 33 shots on goal in 11 games with Anaheim. While he hasn’t notched a power-play point yet, he had 16 with Dallas, so he should eventually get back to his scoring ways with the extra man. As previously noted, the Jets have allowed 3.16 goals per game; their penalty kill also ranks 28th in the NHL. Michael Hutchinson (3.11 GAA, .897 save percentage) may be in net for this one, too.
Anders Lee, NYI at PIT ($17): Since Pittsburgh will be on the second night of a back-to-back, that could mean Marc-Andre Fleury (2.94 GAA, .911 save percentage) in net rather than Matt Murray. Obviously, that improves Lee’s fantasy potential. Considering the Penguins have allowed 32.3 shots on net per contest, having Fleury between the pipes certainly could lead to more goals. Lee has started 35.2 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, as the Islanders’ top line with him, John Tavares and Josh Bailey gets a lot of offensive opportunities. Lee has notched 27 goals this season, leading to an average of 6.3 fantasy points per game on Yahoo.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jamie Benn, DAL vs. SAN ($27): Benn only has one point, an assist, in his last six games, a span in which he’s uncharacteristically taken only also only 10 shots on goal. Now he has to face a Sharks team that enters with averages of 2.30 goals and 27.5 shots allowed per contest. San Jose’s given up the second-lowest per-game goal total in the NHL, so it will be tough for Benn to find the back of the net again. The fact that Dallas will be on the second night of a back-to-back doesn’t help either.
Nikolaj Ehlers, WPG at ANA ($19): Since there are only eight teams in action — including teams like the Red Wings, Stars and Islanders — Winnipeg’s matchup with Anaheim looks even worse relative to the other options. As previously mentioned, Bernier has been great recently, and Anaheim has only allowed 2.44 goals and 29.7 shots on net per game. The Ducks also have the fifth-ranked penalty kill, so Ehlers is unlikely to find much luck there. He has 12 points with the extra man, so being shut down on the power play would definitely hinder Ehlers’ potential.
Calvin de Haan, NYI at PIT ($16): The facts that Fleury may be in net and that the Penguins have allowed 32.3 shots per game are both positives from de Haan’s perspective. However, the reason to be excited about de Haan is on of the other end of the ice. The Penguins have attempted 59.8 shots per 60 minutes, which is fifth in the NHL. For his part, De Haan has blocked a whopping 170 shots in 72 games, meaning he should be in line to get in front of a few pucks in this game. That alone could justify this price point.
Mark Streit, PIT vs. NYI ($16): In his 11 games since becoming a Penguin, Streit has found immediate success on the man advantage, tallying five points in those situations; he’s even skated some with Pittsburgh’s top power-play unit. The Islanders have the 16th-ranked penalty kill, but they’ve also given up 3.00 goals and 32.1 shots on net per contest. That all bodes well for Streit, who has started 36.9 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone with the Penguins.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Jacob Trouba, WPG at ANA ($19): Trouba has been day-to-day with an upper-body injury, but the scuttlebutt is that he could be playing in this game. However, even if he does play, you may want to steer clear anyway. As previously noted, Bernier has a 2.06 GAA in his last 14 games, while the Ducks have only given up 2.44 goals per contest. Trouba also only has two power-play points, so he won’t find any fantasy boost there.
John Klingberg, DAL vs. SAN ($17): The Sharks rank second in goals allowed per game and third in shots allowed per contest — two good reasons to avoid Klingberg in this matchup. Additionally, he hasn’t been all that involved on offense lately, notching either one or no shots in seven of his last nine games. It seems unlikely that he’ll break out of that funk against the Sharks.
MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS