By Chris Morgan
Since there is only one game Friday, Tampa Bay vs. Montreal, Friday’s contests include Saturday’s schedule as well. That means you’ve got 14 games worth of players to choose from. With that abundance of options, here are some players that you should target and others worth steering clear of in Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Hockey.
Kari Lehtonen, DAL vs. COL ($32): There’s no denying that Lehtonen has had a season to forget. This is not about having confidence in Lehtonen. It’s all about having no confidence in Colorado whatsoever. The Avalanche have scored a measly 1.99 goals per game, by far the worst in the league. They also have the worst power play. Oh by the way, Colorado has also allowed a league-high 3.37 goals per game, so Dallas should be able to give Lehtonen plenty of offensive support. The Stars are 21-12-6 at home, while the Avalanche are a miserable 9-29-1 on the road. All signs point to Lehtonen garnering the win, and that goes a long way in daily fantasy.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Steve Mason, PHI vs. CLM ($35): It feels strange to see Mason this pricey against his old team. After all, he only has a .908 save percentage on the season. Columbus, meanwhile, has averaged 3.01 goals and 31.0 shots on goal per game. With 28 teams in action, you have so many options to choose from. Why pay this price for a goalie who’s been below average this season, especially against a team that’s headed to the playoffs?
Eric Staal, MIN at ARI ($19): While the Wild have not been able to keep up their torrid pace all season, Staal has been just fine. He’s operating a point-per-game pace over his last 10, and he owns 27 goals on 205 shots this season. The Coyotes have given up 3.15 goals per game and 34.0 shots on net per contest, ranking second-worst in the NHL in both categories. That makes this quite the matchup for Staal and the Wild.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jonathan Toews, CHI at LOS ($24): The Kings aren’t going to the playoffs, but their defense is not to blame. Los Angeles has allowed a league-low 25.9 shots on goal and a mere 2.42 goals per tilt. The Blackhawks rested Toews on Thursday, and while they may not do that again, they have nothing to play for right now, so they might rest him some more or at least dial back his minutes. Additionally, the Kings have the third-ranked penalty kill, so don’t expect any power-play success for Toews in this one.
Conor Sheary, PIT at TOR ($22): Sheary has averaged 8.1 fantasy points per game. He probably owes that in part to starting 37.3 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone and playing on Sidney Crosby’s wing. In his last 17 games, Sheary has tallied 18 points and 52 shots on goal. His power-play minutes are up, too, as he’s played 2:13 per game with the extra man in those 17 contests. The Maple Leafs have given up 32.8 shots on goal per game, third-most in the NHL. If nothing else, Sheary should be able to put a few pucks on net.
Evander Kane, BUF at FLA ($21): James Reimer returned to action Thursday, but it did not go well for him, as he allowed five goals to the St. Louis Blues. The Panthers have also allowed 31.5 shots on goal per game, which is particularly notable when considering Kane. Kane has excelled at putting pucks on net this season, as he’s tallied a whopping 256 shots on goal in 68 games. If Kane keeps up his pace and Reimer doesn’t look good again, that could be a recipe for success.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jeff Skinner, CAR vs. STL ($24): The Blues have only allowed 28.1 shots on goal per game, and they’ve allowed a mere 1.76 goals per game since the All-Star break. St. Louis has also been stout on the penalty kill, ranking sixth. With almost every NHL team in action, there are much better matchups out there. Bearing that in mind, why spend this much money on Skinner when there are so many other choices?
Johnny Gaudreau, CGY at SAN ($21): Gaudreau has averaged 6.7 fantasy points per game, which is good, but short of the elite level he showed us last year. Now he’s facing a San Jose team that has only allowed 27.7 shots on goal per game, third-fewest in the league. The Sharks have also given up a mere 2.44 goals per contest. Once again, this is a matter of what else is out there for you. Why take Gaudreau going up against a team that has been strong defensively when many of the league’s worst defenses are in action?
Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF at FLA ($18): Ristolainen has been a do-everything player for the Sabres. He’s played a whopping 26:35 per game, including 3:14 with the extra man. On top of that, he’s tallied 45 points (25 on the power play), 183 shots on goal and 158 blocked shots. As previously noted, the Panthers have given up 31.5 shots on goal per game, and they’ve allowed 3.14 goals per tilt since the All-Star break.
Keith Yandle, FLA vs. BUF ($16): Let’s not overlook the flip side of that matchup. The Sabres have allowed a league-high 34.2 shots on goal per game, and that number is up to 35.7 since the All-Star break. Additionally, Buffalo has the 27th-ranked penalty kill. Yandle has tallied six points and 19 shots on goal in his last nine games, and he’s notched 18 power-play points overall.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Torey Krug, BOS vs. WAS ($19): Krug got banged up Thursday against Ottawa, which is in and of itself a good reason to avoid him. However, this is also a particularly difficult matchup. The Capitals have allowed a league-low 2.18 goals per game, and they’ve given up a mere 28.0 shots on net per contest. Washington also has the seventh-ranked penalty kill, which is foreboding, considering that 25 of Krug’s 51 points have come with the extra man.
Justin Faulk, CAR vs. STL ($19): Faulk is in the same boat as Skinner, going up against a Blues team that has posted sterling defensive stats. In addition to the aforementioned numbers, St. Louis has only given up 1.76 goals per game since the All-Star break, and that number was down to 1.53 in March. The Blues have been as stout defensively as anybody recently, and that doesn’t bode well for Faulk.
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