By Chris Morgan
It’s Friday, and what better way to kick off the first weekend in May than with some playoff hockey? There are two Western Conference games to choose from; here are some players to target and avoid in Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Hockey among the four teams in action Friday.
Jake Allen, STL vs. NAS ($36): Pekka Rinne has been outstanding, but Allen has been quite impressive in his own right. He’s posted a 2.05 GAA and a .936 save percentage in the playoffs, and the Blues gave up a league-low 1.88 goals per game after the All-Star break. Additionally, the Blues were 24-12-5 at home in the regular season, while the Predators were 17-20-4 on the road. If Allen can get any offensive support in this elimination game, he’ll likely get the win, and that would be huge for fantasy purposes.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Cam Talbot, EDM at ANA ($30): Talbot has allowed 10 goals over his last two games, and he’s posted a 3.36 GAA and .898 save percentage in his last seven outings. With how well Rinne and Allen have played, it’s hard to bet against either of those goalies. Talbot is the one on the road in this game, and he’ll also cost you $4 more than John Gibson.
Rickard Rakell, ANA vs. EDM ($16): Rakell has averaged 7.5 fantasy points per game, and he’s tallied a goal in each of his last two games. All told, he’s notched seven points and 21 shots on goal in these playoffs, following a regular season in which he tallied 33 goals in 71 games. Rakell started 36.4 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, fifth-most of any Duck. As was just noted, Talbot has an .898 save percentage in his last seven games, and he had a .919 save percentage in the regular season, which is solid but unspectacular.
CENTER TO AVOID
Paul Stastny, STL vs. NAS ($17): Thanks to a foot injury, Stastny missed the end of the regular season, then most of the series against Minnesota, and he hasn’t looked great since returning. While he managed an assist in the series opener against Nashville, he’s been held scoreless in his last three games. That’s not surprising, considering that Rinne has a 1.33 GAA and .953 save percentage in the postseason, both best in the league. It’s hard to bet on Stastny turning things around as long as Rinne is on the top of his game.
Corey Perry, ANA vs. EDM ($18): With Patrick Eaves injured, Perry is again skating on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell. While Perry only had one shot on goal, he did register an assist while playing 20:30, a major uptick in playing time. Eaves could be back for this game, but the way the Getzlaf-Perry-Rakell line played may make it hard to break them up. Being at home, where Anaheim can control the matchups, should help as well. The Oilers have allowed 31.6 shots on net per game in the playoffs, and they had the 25th-ranked penalty kill after the All-Star break.
Milan Lucic, EDM at ANA ($15): Lucic ended the regular season with a five-game point streak before adding two more points in the first playoff game. He went cold after that, but he has two points in this series, including a power-play goal in Game 4. Gibson’s stats — a 2.82 GAA and a .911 save percentage — in these playoffs are far from impressive, and the Ducks have been the second-worst penalty killers in the playoffs.
WINGS TO AVOID
Vladimir Tarasenko, STL vs. NAS ($30): Tarasenko is $7 more expensive than any other wing Friday, meaning he’ll really need to put up big numbers to justify his price. That will be quite hard to do in this matchup. As previously noted, Rinne has been dominating, and he’s held the Russian sniper scoreless in three of this series’ four games. The Predators have also allowed only 29.0 shots on net per contest, the fewest of any team left in the postseason.
Viktor Arvidsson, NAS at STL ($23): Arvidsson had a great regular season, but he’s been held pointless by the Blues thus far. St. Louis allowed a league-low 1.88 goals per game after the All-Star break, and the Blues only gave up 28.4 shots on net per tilt this season. Arvidsson is tied for the second-most-expensive wing Friday, and he only notched three shots on goal over this series’ first two games in St. Louis.
Kris Russell, EDM at ANA ($15): Russell only has two points in the playoffs, both in this series, but that’s not surprising. His fantasy value comes from blocking shots. He picked up 213 blocked shots in 68 games this season, which led the league. Russell has added 38 more in the playoffs, including seven in Game 4. If he picks up a point, it’s just icing.
Cam Fowler, ANA vs. EDM ($15): Fowler has averaged 6.5 fantasy points per game, so it’s a little surprising to see him at this relatively low price. It’s not like he’s been a bust in the playoffs. He missed the first-round series, but he’s played 25:42 per game this round, including 3:09 on the power play. Both of his points have come with the extra man, and as previously noted, Talbot has not quite been on top of his game in the playoffs.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
P.K. Subban, NAS at STL ($21): After a big game to open this series, Subban has been unable to recapture that magic. He only has two shots on net in his last three games, and he’s taken one or no shots on goal in four of the last five games. If we include the regular season, he only has three goals in his last 31 games, including only one in the playoffs. The defensive prowess of the Blues, who have allowed 2.11 goals per game in the playoffs, isn’t helping. Subban is tied for being the second-most-expensive defenseman, and while he has that high-end breakout potential, it’s hard to bet on that at this price.
Joel Edmundson, STL vs. NAS ($18): Sure, Edmundson is a fun story in the playoffs, but he’s still a guy who has averaged 4.3 fantasy points per game. His three goals in the postseason are equal to the number he tallied in the regular season, and he only has eight shots on net in nine playoff contests. He’s not going to keep up this scoring rate, especially with the way Rinne has played in net.
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