As we ease into the second half of the NHL season, there are eight games on the schedule Saturday night. With the first pucks dropping at 7 p.m. EST, here are my players, to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineups.
Charlie Lindgren, WAS at STL ($32): Lindgren has surprisingly posted a 2.22 GAA and .927 save percentage. Though he missed time with injury, since returning he has a 2.02 GAA and .923 save percentage in three starts. The Blues have averaged 2.79 goals per game, which ranks 26th in the NHL, so Lindgren could stay in form against his former (short-lived) team.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Thatcher Demko, VAN vs. TOR ($39): Demko has a 2.42 GAA and .919 save percentage, but this battle of two high-scoring squads won't be easy on either starting goalie. The Maple Leafs, powered by the scorching-hot Auston Matthews, have averaged 3.49 goals and 33.1 shots on net per game.
Charlie Coyle, BOS vs. MON ($21): Coyle has been lucky in ways, as he has 34 points in 44 games in part due to 16.5 percent shooting that is high for him, though sustainable. However, right now he is currently lucky in a way that is sustainable as long as the Bruins coaching staff makes it happen. Coyle is centering Boston's top line between David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, and now that trio faces a Canadiens team with a 3.38 GAA.
CENTER TO AVOID
Elias Lindholm, CGY vs. EDM ($21): Lindholm has been dishing out assists recently, but it's the only way in which he is contributing offensively. Thanks in part to 6.6 percent shooting, the Swede has all of eight goals this year. The Oilers have turned things around in many ways, but the most surprising way is the play of Stuart Skinner in net. Over his last nine starts, all wins, Skinner has an 1.54 GAA and .946 save percentage.
Frank Vatrano, ANA at SAN ($20): Vatrano is having a career year, a major silver lining for the Ducks, with 21 goals already. That's on 144 shots on target, and his 14.6 percent shooting is fully sustainable. He should have plenty of opportunity Saturday, as the Sharks have allowed 35.4 shots on net per contest. One need not pick the corners when chances to shoot abound, and Vatrano has shown his proficiency at shooting.
Kaapo Kakko, NYR at LOS ($10): Kakko has not lived up to the expectations of a second overall pick, and he's fallen behind Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil in terms of development, but he did have 18 goals and 20 assists last season. Back from injury, Kakko is now skating on the first line next to Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Cam Talbot's overall numbers may not be telling an accurate story, as he has a 3.22 GAA and .893 save percentage over his last 13 starts.
WINGS TO AVOID
Cole Caufield, MON at BOS ($21): Sure, Caufield's been scoring with gusto recently, but four of his last seven goals have come on the power play. The Bruins have a top-five penalty kill, so the matchup is not ideal. Plus, while Linus Ullmark has not been as good as when he won the Vezina last year, he still has a .915 save percentage.
Timo Meier, NJD vs. DAL ($20): Meier is back, but Jack Hughes is not, leaving the Swiss wing playing next to Michael McLeod. The Devils are also the one team on the second leg of a back-to-back Saturday. Jake Oettinger has been spotty all season, but his career .914 save percentage gives me hope he'll turn it around now that he's healthy.
Charlie McAvoy, BOS vs. MON ($23): Abundant minutes on the power play the last few years have turned McAvoy into a point producer from the blue line. This year he's averaged 3:18 per contest with the extra man and has 11 power-play points in 36 games. The Canadiens have a bottom-five penalty kill, making Saturday a bright opportunity for McAvoy.
Cam Fowler, ANA at SAN ($13): Taking two shots at the Sharks makes sense. Their 3.98 GAA is comfortably last in the NHL, and the Sharks also are in the bottom two of shots on net allowed per game and penalty-kill percentage. Fowler has 20 points in 44 games, and that includes nine with the extra man.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Kris Letang, PIT at VGK ($22): Letang has 29 points in 42 games, and that's without his role on the power play he's had in the past. However, that means he won't see much time against Vegas' middling penalty kill, and recently Logan Thompson has picked his play back up in goal. Over his last five starts he has an 1.61 GAA and .948 save percentage.
Luke Hughes, NJD vs. DAL ($15): Like his older brother Quinn, Luke has a knack for power-play success. He's tallied 12 of his 24 points with the extra man. The Devils, as I noted, are on the second leg of a back-to-back, and even with Oettinger's injury and iffy goaltending, the Stars have a top-five penalty kill.