By Chris Morgan
Friday is the final day of March. The season has just flown by, huh? It’s not over yet, though, and we’ve got seven more games Friday. Here are some players to target and avoid on Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Hockey as we close out the month.
Jonathan Quick, LOS at VAN ($35): Quick’s been limited this year due to injury, but he’s posted a 2.19 GAA and .922 save percentage when he’s played. He’s also been helped by the fact that the Kings have allowed a league-low 25.9 shots on net per contest. The Canucks, meanwhile, are second from the bottom in both goals (2.22) and shots on net (27.6) per game. It seems likely Quick won’t be challenged too much by Vancouver.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Matt Murray, PIT at NYR ($34): Murray has had an impressive season, but he’s let in at least four goals in four of his last seven starts. Now he has to face off with a Rangers team that’s fourth in the league in goals per game (3.11). The Pens have lost four in a row and are 17-13-7 on the road, so in this matchup, at this price, Murray feels a little too risky.
Tyler Toffoli, LOS at VAN ($17): Toffoli has started 39.2 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, fifth on the Kings. He’s also averaged 2:17 per game on the power play, and while he only has six power-play points in 57 games, he might just have some more success against Vancouver’s 26th-ranked penalty kill. Toffoli’s been active on offense, after all, notching 27 shots on goal in his last nine games. The Canucks have allowed 31.9 shots on net per contest, and they have also given up 2.91 goals per game, so he’s in a good spot here.
CENTER TO AVOID
Joe Pavelski, SAN at CGY ($26): Pavelski is having a fine year, but he only has two points (both assists) and nine shots in his last seven games. The Flames, meanwhile, have only allowed 28.7 shots on net per game, and they have the 13th-ranked penalty kill since the All-Star break. On top of that, Brian Elliott has a 1.97 GAA and .933 save percentage in his last 17 contests.
Alexander Steen, STL at COL ($21): Due to injuries, Steen now finds himself as the top center for the Blues. That should lead to more ice time, which is a good thing heading into a matchup with the Avalanche. Colorado has allowed a staggering 3.38 goals per game, and their goalies have an .894 save percentage collectively. The Avalanche also have the 29th-ranked penalty kill. Steen, for his part, has averaged 2:48 per game with the extra man, and he’s tallied 15 power-play points in 70 games.
Kyle Palmieri, NJD at NYI ($17): Palmieri has really seen an uptick in output recently; in his last 18 contests, he’s posted 10 goals, seven assists and 62 shots on net. He’s also tallied 19 power-play points in 74 games. The Islanders have ceded 2.99 goals and 32.0 shots on goal per game. However, New York will also be on the second night of a back-to-back. Thomas Greiss got pulled after letting in three goals on eight shots Thursday, so he may get another start, or Jaroslav Halak could be in net. Either way, it looks good for Palmieri.
WINGS TO AVOID
Artemi Panarin, CHI vs. CLM ($25): Panarin’s had a solid year, averaging a respectable 7.5 fantasy points per game, but now he’s facing an incredibly tough matchup. The Blue Jackets are second in the league in goals allowed per game (2.27), but they’re even better with Sergei Bobrovsky in net. Bobrovsky leads the league in both GAA (1.97) and save percentage (.935). Even more impressively, in his last 12 games, Bob has a 1.07 GAA and .968 save percentage. That’s certainly daunting for Panarin.
Brandon Saad, CLM at CHI ($21): Saad’s performance has been up and down recently. While he has 28 shots on goal in his last 12 games, he’s been held to one shot or fewer in six of those contests. He’ll be playing on the road on the second night of a back-to-back, which likely will hinder Saad’s performance to some degree. The team that drafted Saad in the second round back in 2011, Chicago has allowed 2.56 goals per game, which ranks in the top 10 in the league. Additionally, while the Blackhawks only have the 25th-ranked penalty kill, Saad has just three power-play points in 75 games.
Kevin Shattenkirk, WAS at ARI ($20): Shattenkirk has been outstanding, especially on the power play, since becoming a Capital. In his 13 games with Washington, he’s averaged 3:55 per game with the extra man, which is why six of the 11 assists he’s collected are of the power-play variety. However, he’s yet to score a goal in his new sweater despite putting 34 shots on net. Shattenkirk will have a fine opportunity to do so in this game, though, as the Coyotes have allowed 3.18 goals and 33.8 shots on net per game, and their penalty kills ranks 24th. Shattenkirk’s good times with the Capitals should continue in this matchup.
Johnny Boychuk, NYI vs. NJD ($15): Boychuk, who has averaged 6.5 fantasy points per game, returned to action after an absence Thursday. The blueliner has started 34.7 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, and he’s racked up 145 shots on goal and 127 blocked shots in 60 games. His matchup against New Jersey is a solid one, as his opponents have given up 2.91 goals and 31.3 shots on net per game, so they should help ease Boychuk back into action while also helping your daily fantasy lineup.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Duncan Keith, CHI vs. CLM ($22): Keith only has one goal in his last 21 games, but the main reason he’s included here is because of the matchup. As previously noted, Bobrovsky leads the league in GAA and save percentage. Columbus also has the eighth-ranked penalty kill, which hurts Keith’s chances of finding success with the extra man. At this price and with 14 teams in action, Keith doesn’t feel like a sound investment in such a difficult matchup.
Jay Bouwmeester, STL at COL ($18): Yes, Colorado is terrible. However, that doesn’t mean every player going up against the Avalanche is in line for a great fantasy game. Take Bouwmeester for example. He’s only averaged 3.6 fantasy points per game — a rather low number, especially for $18 of cap space. The veteran blueliner has just one goal and 14 assists in 75 games, and he’s only averaged nine seconds per game on the power play. His only real fantasy value has come from his 102 blocked shots, but Colorado has only averaged 52.4 shot attempts per 60 minutes, fourth-fewest in the NHL.
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