Friday is going to be the most exciting day during the bubble so far. Not only are there six games (for the last time this postseason), but every contest is a Game 4. Every series could end or move to a Game 5. We're never seen anything like this in playoff history. That's pretty cool. You know what else is cool? Winning at DFS hockey. To try and help with that, here are some players to target, and to avoid, for Friday's busy slate.
Darcy Kuemper, ARI vs. NAS ($32): During the regular season, Kuemper posted a 2.22 GAA and .928 save percentage. While his GAA is up to 2.69 in the playoffs, his save percentage is still an impressive .928. This is right in line with Kuemper's numbers the last three seasons. He's been able to perform well against the Predators so far, and I trust that to continue.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Matt Murray, PIT at MON ($31): Murray got the nod for the Penguins in the playoffs, mostly because he has played for a couple Cup-winning teams. He didn't perform particularly well this season with a 2.87 GAA and .899 save percentage. Though the Canadiens only scored 2.93 goals per game this season, they put 34.1 shots on net per contest. That was second most in the NHL, so the Habs can clearly keep a goalie busy.
Mathew Barzal, NYI at FLA ($22): Barzal took on an even bigger role this season, as he averaged over 20 minutes per game in ice time. This helped him notch 60 points in only 68 games, 41 of those being assists. Sergei Bobrovsky struggled under the weight of his massive new contract with the Panthers and struggled to a 3.23 GAA and .900 save percentage. He hasn't found his old form in the bubble either, with a .905 save percentage over three starts.
CENTER TO AVOID
John Tavares, TOR at CLM ($26): While I am all for Barzal, I am down on his former teammate Tavares on Friday. These teams are on the second day of a back-to-back, but the Blue Jackets provide the goaltending to stand up to that. Based on how Game 3 went, I expect the Blue Jackets to turn to Elvis Merzlikins, who impressed with a 2.35 GAA and .923 save percentage and came up big spelling Joonas Korpisalo on Thursday.
Alex DeBrincat, CHI vs. EDM ($18): If you like offense, this series has been the one for you. In Game 3, the Oilers and Blackhawks combined for seven goals, and that was their lowest total in this series. DeBrincat has been a part of that by producing three assists. He's also a prolific shooter, as he put 207 shots on net in 70 games this year.
Clayton Keller, ARI vs. NAS ($17): Keller has registered a point in every bubble game, but there's more to like about him in this matchup. He started 62.5 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest on the Coyotes. Keller also averaged 2:42 per game on the power play with 15 power-play points. The Predators managed the 29th-ranked penalty kill this season, so I won't be surprised if Keller keeps the point streak alive.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA vs. NYI ($23): Huberdeau had to leave his last game in the third period, though the expectation is that he will be able to play. But how will he look on the ice? Beyond that, the Islanders looked solid on the season with a 2.79 GAA. More specifically, Semyon Varlamov had a 2.62 GAA and .914 save percentage, and he's looked impressive in this series.
William Nylander, TOR at CLM ($23): Nylander notched over 30 goals for the first time in his career this season, albeit with a 15.7 shooting percentage that is well above his career average. It's harder to score against a team like the Blue Jackets, who produced a 2.61 GAA and allowed 29.9 shots on net per contest. Nylander may have notched his first point of the series Thursday, but I still am not too high on him.
Oscar Klefbom, EDM at CHI ($21): Klefbom didn't shoot the puck as much this season, but he still directed 159 shots on goal over 62 games. He also notched 34 points, including 18 with the extra man. It's not hard to register shots against the Blackhawks, as they allowed an NHL-high 35.1 shots on net per contest.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI vs. NAS ($17): You may have noticed there have been a ton of penalties called this postseason. Indeed, Ekman-Larsson has averaged 3:54 per game with the extra man. As I noted, the Predators had the 29th-ranked penalty kill this year. All the power plays will concern Nashville, but will prove as encouragement for Ekman-Larsson.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Roman Josi, NAS at ARI ($27): Josi has earned this lofty price, but this is not a matchup where he is likely to live up to that. As I previously mentioned, Darcy Kuemper starred with a 2.22 GAA and .928 save percentage. The Coyotes also offer the fifth-ranked penalty kill. Even with extra time with the extra man, that doesn't bode well for Josi.
Aaron Ekblad, FLA vs. NYI ($17): Ekblad has been active in this series by firing nine shots on goal, but he's yet to register a point. It's also worth noting he actually doesn't play that much on the power play. That means Ekblad has to get it done at even strength against an Islanders team that had a 2.79 GAA, which ranked in the NHL's top-10.