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Fantasy picks: Rick Nash shedding past playoff reputation

Rangers forward among April 22 DFS targets against Canadiens in Game 6

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL games during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (until end of conference finals). This article includes expensive and value plays and should be used as a basis for your roster decision-making.

 

TOP CENTER: Logan Couture, SJS ($5,700)

Couture has had an up-and-down Western Conference First Round series for the San Jose Sharks against the Edmonton Oilers after returning from a mouth injury, but scored two goals on three shots on goal for 7.5 DraftKings points in Game 4 at home on Tuesday. Entering Game 6 on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, NBCSCA), Couture has 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 39 combined regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoff home games, and is more affordable now in DraftKings than he was for most of the regular season. He has nine points (five goals, four assists) in 10 career games with the Sharks facing elimination, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

 

VALUE CENTER: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM ($4,600)

Nugent-Hopkins was buzzing late in Game 5, helping the Oilers dominate possession and outshoot the Sharks 14-2 in overtime. His 17 SOG in five games are tied for the fourth-most among players without a goal during the postseason. That kind of shot volume means there's a chance he could break through on the road in Game 6. He scored 11 of his 18 regular-season goals on the road, and has solid linemates in Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic.

Video: EDM@LAK: Nugent-Hopkins nets backhand for second goal

 

TOP WING: Mikael Granlund, MIN ($5,500)

Granlund has one assist for the Minnesota Wild in four games against the St. Louis Blues during the Western Conference First Round, but has had plenty of chances. He has eight SOG and is plus-31 in 5-on-5 shot attempts, tied for seventh in the NHL. The Wild's chances of losing a third straight home game in the series are slim; they lost three straight at home once during the regular season. So take advantage of Granlund's discounted price. He had an NHL-career best 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists) and 20 power-play points in 81 regular-season games, including 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 41 home games. The Wild's power play has struggled during the playoffs, scoring one time in 12 attempts (8.3 percent; 15th), but has enough talent to bounce back at any time.

 

VALUE WING: Rick Nash, NYR ($5,300)

Nash has 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in his past 29 playoff games for the New York Rangers over the past three postseasons. He has three points (two goals, one assist) in five games and his 20 SOG rank fourth in the NHL. He had 6.5 DraftKings points (one assist, one blocked shot, eight SOG) in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Montreal Canadiens. Nash has scored 15 of his 25 goals in the regular season and playoffs combined at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers host the Canadiens in Game 6 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Nash backhands go-ahead goal

 

TOP DEFENSEMAN: Shea Weber, MTL ($5,900)

In the playoffs, tight series usually equate to plenty of blocked shots. You can take advantage of this trend by drafting Weber, who has 19 in five games, including seven each in Games 2 and 5. Weber hit the post late in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden, so don't be surprised if he puts together a strong DraftKings foundation in Game 6 from blocks and shots alone. He also has three points (one goal, two assists) in the series and at least 3.0 DraftKings points in each game.

 

VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS ($4,400)

Vlasic has seven assists in 10 regular-season and playoff games against the Oilers and has been nearly as valuable as Weber during the postseason for a fraction of the cost. The Sharks defenseman has three assists, 17 blocks and seven SOG in five games for an average of 3.6 DraftKings points per game and has contained Art Ross Trophy winner Connor McDavid for much of the series. Vlasic had 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 24 games during the Sharks' run to the Stanley Cup Final last year, so he's been there and provided coverage like this before.

Video: SJS@CGY: Vlasic wrists puck past Elliott's glove

 

GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Henrik Lundqvist, NYR ($7,600)

Lundqvist, locked into a goalie duel with Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, has a chance to close the series in Game 6 on Saturday. The 35-year-old has a 1.82 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and one shutout in five playoff games. The Canadiens had a middle-of-the-pack offense during the regular season (2.72 goals per game; 15th in NHL), but it's been an impressive bounce-back effort after Lundqvist had the worst GAA (2.74) and SV% (.910) of his NHL career during the regular season. Lundqvist is 6-1 with a .964 SV% in seven home playoff games since 2012 when the Rangers can close out a series.

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