NHL Playoffs: Friday DFS picks and fades

·5 min read

Friday night's NHL playoff start is a little later than usual, with the first puck drop at 8 p.m. ET. That gives you an extra hour to get your DFS lineup in. That doesn't make it any easier to make your picks, but hopefully these recommendations do.

GOALIE

Antti Raanta, CAR vs. NYR ($29): I've been up on Raanta because he's behind the defense that ranked first in shots on net allowed per game and first in penalty-kill percentage. However, he's also been playing well in the playoffs, posting a 2.13 GAA and .933 save percentage. With three top-nine offenses (in terms of goals per game) in action Friday, the Rangers' 17th-ranked offense sticks out.

GOALIE TO AVOID

Mike Smith, EDM at CAR ($35): When a 40-year-old goalie is playing at a peak level, as much as you may want it to continue you have to wonder about regression setting in. Now, that isn't to say that the fact he was pulled after six minutes in Game 1 is the new normal. I'm just saying let's not forget that during the regular season he had a 2.81 GAA and .915 save percentage.

CENTER

Mikael Backlund, CGY vs. EDM ($18): Picking up an assist when your team drops nine goals won't exactly get people doing back flips, but Backlund does have five points over his last five games. He also put 214 shots on net this season, and if not for a 5.6 shooting percentage would have had better numbers. The Oilers allowed 32.3 shots on goal per game, so the ability to be active offensively is there for Backlund.

Mikael Backlund is an intriguing DFS option on Friday's NHL playoff DFS slate. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Mikael Backlund is an intriguing DFS option on Friday's NHL playoff DFS slate. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

CENTER TO AVOID

Ryan Strome, NYR at CAR ($18): Strome had a point in six out of seven games in the first round, but let's not forget that Louis Domingue was prominently involved in that. Plus, Strome had a single point in all of those games, and only one goal. The Hurricanes had a 2.44 GAA and allowed 28.2 shots on net per contest this year, so this is a different scenario than facing the Penguins and their third-string goalie.

WING

Seth Jarvis, CAR vs. NYR ($17): Jarvis gets to ride alongside Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov on the first line. He started the highest percentage of his shifts in the offensive zone on the team in the regular season, and that's held true in the playoffs. The rookie picked up an assist in Game 1, and over his last 10 games Vezina favorite Igor Shesterkin has a 3.47 GAA and .909 save percentage.

Blake Coleman, CGY vs. EDM ($17): Coleman picked up two goals in Game 1, and I'm not saying that will be easily replicable. However, over his last five games he's put 21 shots on net. Coleman is getting active out there on Calgary's second line, and the Oilers did just allow nine goals in a game.

WINGS TO AVOID

Evander Kane, EDM at CGY ($27): Kane has spent a lot of this season in advantageous positioning. Right now, though, he's not sharing a line with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, and he's not on the top power-play unit with those two either. He's usually so active offensively, but he put zero shots on net in Game 1. I know Jacob Markstrom didn't have his best game, but he had a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage this season.

Frank Vatrano, NYR at CAR ($15): The fact Vatrano doesn't play on the power play means less in this matchup against the league's best penalty kill, but it's one of the things working against him. Though he plays on New York's top line, he only has one point, an assist, over his last five games. When your options are so slim, a few days without production holds more value.

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DEFENSE

Evan Bouchard, EDM at CGY ($18): With only four teams in action, and with the Flames having allowed six goals, I think it's wise to diversify your portfolio, so to speak. Bouchard has started 65.6 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, second highest on the Oilers and first among defensemen. During the regular season he also had 43 points and 205 shots on net. Opportunity abounds for the young defenseman, and I like his upside.

Noah Hanifin, CGY vs. EDM ($17): Hanifin has grabbed a spot on Calgary's top power-play unit. He's averaged 2:37 per game with the extra man in the playoffs, and while it hasn't yielded fruit yet, the Oilers had the 17th-ranked penalty kill this year. Hanifin has been quite active in the postseason as well, as he's tallied 29 shots on net.

DEFENSE TO AVOID

Adam Fox, NYR at CAR ($25): The salary outlay for Fox is high, and that makes sense. He won the Norris last season and had 74 points this season. That being said, it's hard to live up to a salary like this when you are on the road against a team like the Hurricanes. Carolina did have the league's best penalty kill, after all, and 33 of Fox's points have come with the extra man.

Tony DeAngelo, CAR vs. NYR ($24): DeAngelo has been held without a point in his last three games, and he's only put three shots on net in that time. If the Rangers remain disciplined, that also hurts DeAngelo's upside. Twenty of DeAngelo's 51 points came with the extra man, but he only got to play 23 seconds on the power play in Game 1.