By Neil Parker
Yahoo has two-day contests that include Game 1 of the Ottawa-Pittsburgh series Saturday and Game 2 between Nashville and Anaheim on Sunday. Here are a number of players to consider targeting and fading while assembling your lineups.
John Gibson, ANA vs. NAS ($29): Look for a bounce-back showing from the Ducks. Anaheim showed admirable resilience is round 2 against the Oilers, and Game 1 was a tough schedule. Nashville had four days off to rest and prepare, whereas Anaheim had just one. Additionally, Gibson’s salary is the lowest of all four backstops, and this series should be lower scoring than the Senators-Penguins tilt.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Craig Anderson, OTT at PIT ($30): Before a strong Game 6 showing to help advance the Sens to the Eastern Conference finals, Anderson allowed 16 goals over the previous four games with a .878 save percentage and 3.86 GAA. The Penguins own a dangerous offensive attack, and this series should feature more high-scoring, back-and-forth games than the Nashville-Anaheim matchup.
Ryan Kesler, ANA vs. NAS ($18): A mid-priced target, Kesler had an excellent series against Edmonton with a goal, six assists and 20 shots while averaging 21:42 of ice time per game. He was on the ice for 13 scoring chances against Nashville in Game 1 while logging a hefty 4:32 of power-play time with the No. 1 unit. If Anaheim is going to bounce back Sunday, Kesler will be a huge part of it.
CENTER TO AVOID
Ryan Johansen, NAS at ANA ($18): With two goals and nine assists through 11 playoffs games, including consecutive multi-point games, Johansen is producing at a high level. However, Anaheim boasts a deep veteran presence up the middle with Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getlaf and Antoine Vermette boasting the 200-foot game capable of shutting down a line. Johansen isn’t a high-volume shooter, so his fantasy floor is low.
Phil Kessel, PIT vs. OTT ($25): With just a single goal and assist through his last five games, Kessel has tailed off after a dominant start to the postseason (11 points through seven games). He registered four shots in Game 7 against Washington, though, and when goal scorers start to show an uptick in shot volume it usually translates to scoresheet appearances. It’s also not out of the question to suggest that the Sens will be an easier matchup for the Pittsburgh offense than the Caps were.
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Jakob Silfverberg, ANA vs. NAS ($21): A potential stack option with Ryan Kesler, Silfverberg looked dominant for stretches of Game 1 against Nashville. His unassisted goal upped him to eight tallies, four assists and 51 shots through just 12 games, which is a nice follow up to his breakout regular season (49 points). In particular, Silfverberg’s confidence with the puck was on full display Friday, and it highlights his growth as a scorer.
WING TO AVOID
Filip Forsberg, NAS at ANA ($23): With the expectation that there will be plenty of ebbs and flows during this series, Forsberg and the Preds are likely eyeing a tough matchup Sunday. While he’s been an excellent offensive contributor during the postseason (four goals and five assists through 11 games), the winger has also gone eight games without a multi-point showing. At this salary, that’s the target.
Bobby Ryan, OTT at PIT ($14): After a dominant Round 1 against the Bruins with five goals and eight points through seven games, Ryan posted just two assists against New York in Round 2. He’s certainly capable, but after a career-worst regular season, and his recent return to that poor form, there are probably better options.
Erik Karlsson, OTT at PIT ($30): Pittsburgh could be in a ripe letdown spot after an emotional seven-game series against Washington, and Karlsson has had three days off to rest for Saturday’s game. He proved his health with consecutive multi-point showings to lead Ottawa into the Eastern Conference Finals, and the star defenseman’s high fantasy floor is accompanied by a high floor because of his shot volume and willingness to block shots.
Mattias Ekholm, NAS at ANA ($12): This price is too low for a player that’s averaged 25:16 of ice time per game. Ekholm had a breakout showing in Game 1, and expecting another two-point showing is ill-advised. However, he can do enough in the supporting statistics to return value on his contest-low salary.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Roman Josi, NAS at ANA ($24): In Game 1, Josi matched up consistently against Anaheim’s best players, and he actually was on the ice for more scoring chances against than for. At this salary, the risk outweighs the reward considering Anaheim will be eyeing to tie the series Sunday in Game 2. Despite registering eight points and Nashville allowing just 16 goals all postseason, Josi only has a plus-2 rating, which highlights the daunting in-game matchups he faces nightly.
Sami Vatanen, ANA vs. NAS ($16): After posting a disastrous 32.0 Corsi For percentage in Game 1, Vatanen’s poor playoff run continued. Through seven games, he has just one assist, 12 shots and a minus-3 rating. Those numbers aren’t moving the needle, and Vatanen wasn’t deployed with the No. 1 power-play unit Friday, either.
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