On the eve of New Year's Eve, we have only four NHL games on the slate. That includes a 5 p.m. ET start, so perhaps the NHL is expecting you will be off work Friday. It's not such an early start that it is terribly detrimental to getting your DFS lineups in. Here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your rosters.
Juuse Saros, NAS at ANA ($36): This is the 5 p.m. start, and it is a matchup that is quite conducive to DFS players, as the Ducks are involved. Saros has a .914 save percentage on the year, but a .932 save percentage over his last eight starts. Anaheim, meanwhile, has managed a paltry 2.31 goals per game.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Vitek Vanecek, NJD at PIT ($31): With Vanecek, it's been all about the defense in front of him. He has a 2.39 GAA, which is impressive to be sure, but that is paired with a .910 save percentage. The Penguins have averaged 3.37 goals and 32.4 shots on net per contest, so I don't expect the Devils defense to shut the Pens down in their home arena, which doesn't bode well for Vanecek.
Paul Stastny, CAR vs. FLA ($12): Stastny was recently moved to being the second-line center for the Hurricanes between Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas. He also has an assist in each of his last two games. The Panthers are the only team on the second leg of a back-to-back Friday, and Spencer Knight has a .909 save percentage.
CENTER TO AVOID
Aleksander Barkov, FLA at CAR ($28): Barkov had been out of action, so he got a bit of a break, and the Finn returned with gusto Thursday. However, he's still on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back. The Hurricanes have only allowed 26.4 shots on net per contest, and Pyotr Kochetkov has an 1.94 GAA and .928 save percentage.
Zach Hyman, EDM at SEA ($27): Hyman is not just on Connor McDavid's wing. He's also averaged 3:27 per game with the extra man and has 12 power-play points. As for the Kraken, they rank 31st on the penalty kill, so this is a favorable matchup for Hyman and company.
Nino Niederreiter, NAS at ANA ($14): The Predators have been kind of a mess, but Niederreiter has four points in his last five games, plus 11 goals in 33 contests this season. The Ducks have a 4.06 GAA, but also have allowed a whopping 38.4 shots on net per contest.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jesper Bratt, NJD at PIT ($22): Bratt started the season hot, but he has been held without a goal in eight of his last nine games. Meanwhile, Tristan Jarry has a 2.31 GAA and .931 save percentage over his last 12 starts. He also has a .930 save percentage at home this year, compared to a .903 save percentage on the road.
Jason Zucker, PIT vs. NJD ($17): Zucker has 23 points in 31 games, but he puts relatively few shots on net compared to his compatriots on the Penguins. He's put 78 shots on net in total. I mentioned the Devils have been stingy, and indeed they've allowed a mere 26.6 shots on goal per game.
Brent Burns, CAR vs. FLA ($24): In his first season as a Hurricane, Burns has 24 points and 111 shots on net in 35 games. He's also averaged 3:31 per contest with the extra man and has 11 power-play points. The Panthers has a middling penalty kill, and they are also on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back.
Tyson Barrie, EDM at SEA ($21): Barrie has been excelling at the power play even by his standards. He has 19 points with the extra man in only 36 games. Facing the 31st-ranked penalty kill should keep him scorching on that front.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Aaron Ekblad, FLA at CAR ($19): Ekblad was hot after returning from injury, but while he has six assists over his last 14 games, he has zero goals. Now he's on the second leg of a back-to-back facing a defense that suppresses shots and perhaps a goalie with an 1.94 GAA and .928 save percentage.
Cam Fowler, ANA vs. NAS ($15): Fowler has been a bright spot on the Anaheim blue line, with 17 points in 36 games. As I noted, though, Saros has a .932 save percentage over his last eight starts. Also, eight of Fowler's points have come on the power play, and the Predators have an average penalty kill.