This has been a great postseason for the NHL, but the conference finals are in danger of being a bit lackluster. That's because if the Hurricanes lose Thursday they will be swept by the Bruins. If you are an impartial fan who just wants to watch hockey, fingers crossed Carolina extends the series. Today's fantasy contests are a combination of Thursday and Friday's respective games. Here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your lineup.
Curtis McElhinney, CAR vs. BOS ($25): In the games that McElhinney has played in this postseason, he's been great. The veteran has a 1.70 GAA and .943 save percentage in four outings. Carolina needs to win this game, which could push it over the edge to victory. If you want a more tangible argument, the Hurricanes only allowed 28.4 shots on net per contest at home this year.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jordan Binnington, STL vs. SAN ($30): Binnington is a Calder finalist, and he earned it, but the playoffs have been a different beast. He's allowed five goals in two of the three games of this series, and his save percentage is hovering just above .900. The Sharks scored 3.52 goals per game, so it's not getting any easier for the rookie netminder.
David Krejci, BOS at CAR ($20): Krejci has a point in every game of this series, and in fact has a point in each of his last five contests. If you expand the scope a bit more, he has a point in 12 of his last 14 outings. Maybe Curtis McElhinney will stay hot, but it's not a given, and Krejci has of course been hot in his own right.
CENTER TO AVOID
Tomas Hertl, SAN at STL ($26): Hertl was having a stellar postseason, but he's cooled off against the Blues. He's yet to notch a point in this series. Sure, that's only three games, but the Czech center is quite expensive. That's enough to make me leery.
David Perron, STL vs. SAN ($17): With two goals in Game 3, Perron now has a point in every game of this series. That comes after he managed 23 goals and 23 assists in 57 contests. People briefly got excited about Martin Jones turning his play around, but he's regressed to the mean. Let's not forget, he had an .896 save percentage this season.
Kevin Labanc, SAN at STL ($14): Labanc started 58.5 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest among San Jose forwards. In the post season, he's had some rough patches, but he did just get two assists in the Sharks' last outing. Jordan Binnington had a .909 save percentage prior to giving up five goals on 32 shots Wednesday. It may be hard for the Blues rookie to turn things around in this matchup.
WINGS TO AVOID
David Pastrnak, BOS at CAR ($31): Pastrnak has been up-and-down in the postseason, and he has only one point, an assist, in his last five games. It's hard to find many players on the Sharks or Blues to avoid, given how the two goalies in that series are playing. If Curtis McElhinney keeps up his play, Pastrnak will have a hard time living up to his price.
Teuvo Teravainen, CAR vs. BOS ($19): It's hard to recommend anybody on the Hurricanes. That's largely because of the stellar play of Tuukka Rask in net. He has a 1.96 GAA and .939 save percentage in the playoffs. The Finn is a Conn Smythe favorite, and that bodes poorly for anybody trying to score for Carolina.
Erik Karlsson, SAN at STL ($25): Finally, Karlsson got some puck luck in Game 3. He scored two goals, his first of the playoffs. Not that he was struggling offensively, as he had 13 assists prior to those two goals.
Joel Edmundson, STL vs. SAN ($16): Edmundson isn't normally a scorer, but suddenly he's picked it up. He's notched five points in his last five games, including a point in every game of this series. Vince Dunn got banged up in Game 3, and if he can't play in Game 4, that could mean more ice time for Edmundson.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Torey Krug, BOS at CAR ($22): Krug has scored exactly one goal in his last 31 contests. He's also a guy who gets most of his points with the extra man. Thirty of his 53 regular-season points came on the power play. The Hurricanes had the eighth-ranked penalty kill, and with Curtis McElhinney playing well they should be at the top of their penalty-killing game.
Dougie Hamilton, CAR vs. BOS ($19): Hamilton doesn't have a point in this series, which isn't surprising with how well Tuukka Rask has been playing. However, he wasn't doing much offensively before that. The 25-year-old only has one point, an assist, in his last eight games.