By Chris Morgan
It’s time for another weekend of NHL playoff action. Friday’s contests also include Saturday’s game, making for a true kickoff to the weekend. If you’re hoping to make the most of things, here are some players to target and to avoid on the latest Yahoo Daily Fantasy two-day slate.
Craig Anderson, OTT vs. PIT ($33): The Senators only allowed 2.32 goals per game this season, but they were even better with Anderson in net. He closed out the campaign with a 2.28 GAA, and that number has dropped to 2.20 in the playoffs. On top of that, he’s only allowed one goal in every game in this series, and the Penguins are dealing with a few injuries that could sap them offensively.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT at OTT ($28): Fleury is the least expensive goalie on the slate, but with John Gibson improving his play recently, Fleury is the only one who’s left looking the least bit iffy. In his last game, Fleury allowed four goals on nine shots and didn’t even make it out of the first period. Because of that, there are actually murmurs that Matt Murray, and not Fleury, will be getting the starting nod.
Kyle Turris, OTT vs. PIT ($15): Ottawa’s top center, Turris has started 35.3 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, fourth among Senators forwards. He’s averaged 6.6 fantasy points per game, and he’s tallied six points in his last nine games. The Senators haven’t exactly been road warriors, but Turris should be involved with anything they’re able to do on offense.
CENTER TO AVOID
Sidney Crosby, PIT at OTT ($33): No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Why consider avoiding Crosby? Well, he’s the most expensive non-goalie, but things aren’t going great by his standards. He did score a goal in Game 3, but that was his first point of the series. It was also his first goal in eight games, and he only has 12 shots on goal in those contests. Given how expensive Crosby is, he needs to be in top form to justify his price point.
Filip Forsberg, NAS at ANA ($23): Make that four games in a row with a goal for Forsberg to open this series, and five consecutive contests with a point. On top of that, he put six shots on net in Game 4, giving him 17 in his last three tilts. Forsberg scored 31 goals on 234 shots this year, so none of this is surprising.
Bobby Ryan, OTT vs. PIT ($15): Ryan had a rough regular season, which makes it easy to forget that he once had the talent to score 30 goals in four seasons. He may not be quite that good anymore, but he’s certainly found some of his old form in the playoffs. Ryan has tallied 13 points in 15 playoffs games, including four on the power play. He also has four points in the first three games of this series.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jakob Silfverberg, ANA vs. NAS ($22): Silfverberg was putting a lot of pucks on net early in these playoffs, but the Predators have slowed him down a bit. He’s only notched two shots on goal in his last three games, and he’s been held without a point in his last two contests. Heading into Thursday’s game, the Predators had only given up 28.0 shots on net per game in the playoffs, the fewest of any team to make it out of the first round. Pekka Rinne has also been the best goalie in the playoffs, and even though he’s regressed a bit, Nashville’s defense has still been formidable.
Conor Sheary, PIT at OTT ($18): Injuries to the Penguins’ wingers led to Sheary getting more minutes, which felt encouraging. However, those minutes have not yielded greater results. He has zero points in this series, and he only has one point (an assist) in his last nine games. Even if he’s skating alongside Crosby, it’s become hard to get excited about Sheary even at this relatively low cost.
Roman Josi, NAS at ANA ($23): Josi has averaged 8.6 fantasy points per game, a number bested only by Erik Karlsson among defensemen left in the playoffs. He’s tallied five points in his last six games, and while he was held scoreless in Game 4, he still put six shots on net. That gives Josi 19 shots on goal in his last four contests — a massive number for a blueliner. The Ducks have allowed 33.4 shots on net per game in the postseason, and they haven’t really found a way to stop Josi thus far.
Sami Vatanen, ANA vs. NAS ($16): Vatanen picked up an assist in Game 4, giving him a three-game point streak. He also has tallied two shots on goal in all three of those contests, and he’s blocked 24 shots in nine playoff games. The Predators ranked eighth this year in shot attempts per 60 minutes, so Vatanen should have the opportunity to put his body in front of a few pucks. Vatanen also has shown power-play acumen, as he tallied 14 power-play points in 71 games.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Shea Theodore, ANA vs. NAS ($17): Theodore only has one point in his last seven playoff games, and he registered zero shots on goal in three of those games. He wasn’t able to add to those totals in Game 4 due to being scratched in favor of Kevin Bieksa. The Ducks won, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Anaheim go with the veteran over the youngster once again.
Olli Maatta, PIT at OTT ($16): Maatta is Pittsburgh’s third-most-expensive defenseman, but if Justin Schultz can’t play, he’ll be the most expensive active one. However, that doesn’t mean he’s provided much in the way of results. After all, he did only have seven points in 55 games this season, and Maatta has no goals in the playoffs. He only has one point in his last six games, and he’s only tallied two shots on net in his last two contests.
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