By Chris Morgan
It’s been an exciting postseason in the NHL so far, although members of certain fan bases (shout-out to Calgary) may disagree. However, Friday is a little less intense, as there are only two games on the slate. We’ve got to get used to that, though, especially from a daily fantasy perspective. On that front, here are some players to target and avoid in Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Hockey from Friday’s four teams in action.
Braden Holtby, WAS vs. TOR ($29): This series hasn’t gone great for Holtby, but he had a 2.07 GAA and a .925 save percentage during the regular season, and he’s always been known as a big-game goalie. The reigning Vezina winner plays behind a Capitals club that allowed a league-low 2.16 goals per game this year. They were even better at home, where they gave up a minuscule 1.63 goals per game. It’s not hard to believe that Holtby will have at least one great game this series, and this is certainly the time for it.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Tuukka Rask, BOS at OTT ($31): Obviously, Frederik Andersen is the least-enticing goalie in a vacuum, but he only costs $24, which basically makes him a cheap flyer. Rask is a slightly different story. It’s been an up-and-down series for Rask, who’s allowed just one goal twice, but four goals in each of the other two games. Boston has lost three straight and is now on the road facing elimination. Rask isn’t a terrible option with his back to the wall, but with only four goalies in action, somebody has to be the one to avoid.
Mitch Marner, TOR at WAS ($17): Alright, so while I already noted Holtby had a great regular season, the Capitals have allowed 14 goals in four games in this series, so he certainly hasn’t been immortal. With only four teams in action, you can play both sides. Marner, who has averaged 6.7 fantasy points per game, has tallied four points to go with nine shots on net in the series thus far. He also started 39.8 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone in addition to racking up 21 power-play points in 77 regular-season contests.
CENTER TO AVOID
Auston Matthews, TOR at WAS ($28): Matthews played well in Toronto’s two home games, but he had zero points in the two games played in Washington. Now the series returns to America’s capital, where the Caps only allowed 1.63 goals per game during the regular season. So why target Marner but avoid Matthews? Well, besides Marner having a better series, he’ll cost you $11 less, which is considerable. Matthews is tied for being the most expensive center, which makes it much harder for him to earn his salary.
Mike Hoffman, OTT vs. BOS ($22): Hoffman has averaged 8.1 fantasy points per game, thanks in part to the fact that he scored 26 goals on 224 shots in 74 contests this season. While he only has two points (both goals) in this series, he’s taken 14 shots on goal. Hoffman started 36.9 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone and averaged 3:20 per game on the power play this season. Meanwhile, the Bruins gave up 2.68 goals per game on the road, and while that’s not bad by league standards, it’s a decidedly worse average than what they did at home (2.41).
Andre Burakovsky, WAS vs. TOR ($14): The Maple Leafs allowed 32.6 shots on goal this season, which was third-most in the NHL, and their defense hasn’t been any better in the playoffs — they’ve allowed 14 goals and 147 shots on goal (36.8 per game!). Toronto ceded 33.6 shots on net per road contest to go with 2.98 goals per game during the regular season, so there’s no reason that shouldn’t persist. Burakovsky started 36.7 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, third among Washington forwards, and he has two points and nine shots on net. Washington has a lot of talented and high-priced players, but Burakovsky is a cheaper option that could provide more bang for your buck.
WINGS TO AVOID
David Pastrnak, BOS at OTT ($27): Pastrnak does have three points in this series, but he also only has two shots on goal. Craig Anderson had a 2.28 GAA and a .926 save percentage, and the Senators gave up 2.32 goals per contest at home this year. Pastrnak is the third-most-expensive forward on the slate, and it can be hard to have a real fantasy impact when you’re averaging less than one shot on net per game.
Mark Stone, OTT vs. BOS ($17): Stone has yet to light the lamp in this series, and he hasn’t scored a goal in 19 games. He also has zero power-play points in that time, and that’s not likely to change in this series. The Bruins had the top-ranked penalty kill in the league, and they also only allowed 26.8 shots on net per contest.
Morgan Rielly, TOR at WAS ($17): Rielly tallied 171 shots and 120 blocked shots in 76 games this year, establishing a fine floor to go with his point-gathering upside. The Capitals didn’t give up a ton of shots this season, but Rielly has ripped 11 shots on goal in the series thus far, and he’s blocked 12 as well. He also has four points in his last three games, including three on the power play.
Dmitry Orlov, WAS vs. TOR ($15): The Maple Leafs ranked third in shot attempts per 60 minutes (60.5), and Orlov has blocked 11 shots in this series. With how much Toronto shoots, Orlov should have plenty of chances to get in front of the puck. He’s picked up two assists and put 10 shots on net so far, so he’s been involved, and Toronto’s defensive shortcomings have already been mentioned.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Zdeno Chara, BOS at OTT ($17): Chara doesn’t make much of an offensive impact anymore. He only averaged 29 seconds per game on the power play this season, and he took 136 shots on goal in 75 games. He does have one point (an assist) in this series, but he’s also only taken one shot on goal in his last three games. Add in the fact that Ottawa allowed 2.56 goals per game, and it seems unlikely that Chara’s going to have a breakout game offensively.
Taylor Chorney, WAS vs. TOR ($15): The defensive options Friday are scarce in questionable players, especially because the prices are relatively low. Chorney is tied for being the 10th-most-expensive defenseman, for example. He also hasn’t played in a single game in this series. You don’t need an argument beyond that, do you?
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