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: Evgeny Kuznetsov, WSH ($6,000) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 4.5
Kuznetsov's shot volume has spiked significantly in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; he's averaging 3.7 per game (37 shots on goal in 10 games; 3rd in NHL entering Friday) compared to 2.1 in the regular season (170 SOG in 82 games). He has four points (three goals, one assist) and 18 SOG in four games against the Pittsburgh Penguins this series. His price remains the same after 7.5 DraftKings points in Game 3 and 6.0 in Game 4, so take full advantage ahead of Game 5 at Verizon Center on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).
VALUE CENTER: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, OTT ($4,000) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 2.5
On this two-game slate, you'll want to make room for Penguins center Evgeni Malkin ($8,200), and the easiest way to do so is by drafting Pageau. The Ottawa Senators center continues to exceed expectations in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers, combining for five goals, four blocked shots and 15 SOG in four games (6.5 DraftKings points per game). That average was clearly bolstered by his four-goal Game 2, but he has followed up with 5.5 DraftKings points in Game 3 and 3.5 in Game 4. He didn't have a point in Game 4, but returned value on SOG (four) and blocks (three) alone. Keep riding the hot hand.
Video: OTT@NYR, Gm3: Pageau buries Ryan's no-look dish
TOP WING: Jake Guentzel, PIT ($6,000) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
Guentzel made it very clear he's not just a product of Sidney Crosby against the Capitals in Game 4, adding to his stellar postseason totals with one goal and one assist. He's nearing point-per-game territory with 45 in 49 games (regular season and playoffs combined) and is averaging 5.0 DraftKings points per game this series. Already a DFS lineup lock, Guentzel's price has surprisingly dipped from $6,300 in Game 4 to $6,000 in Game 5 on Saturday. He's the fourth player in NHL history to score eight goals in his team's first nine playoff games, joining legends Maurice Richard, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
VALUE WING: Andre Burakovsky, WSH ($3,500) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 7.5
It's been a miserable postseason for Burakovsky, who has no goals and two assists in 10 games and no points and six SOG in four games against the Penguins. His ice time this series (13:27 per game) has been limited, but it's worth noting he skated on the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie at practice Friday with Alex Ovechkin moving to the third line with Lars Eller and Tom Wilson. It remains to be seen if these new lines will be used in Game 5, but it at least adds to the bounce-back appeal of Burakovsky, who had five points in four games against the Penguins in the regular season.
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Ryan McDonagh, NYR ($5,300) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 6.5
McDonagh has been one of the few steady performers for the Rangers this postseason. He has combined for four points (one goal, three assists), two power-play points, nine SOG and 13 blocked shots in four games against the Senators this series. He is averaging 4.9 DraftKings points per game in six games against the Senators this season, far outperforming his overall average (3.2). He ranks third among players with at least seven games in ice time per game (27:19), leading Rangers skaters by more than 5:00 per game (Dan Girardi next at 22:07).
Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: McDonagh nets PPG from the point
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Dion Phaneuf, OTT ($4,000) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
Phaneuf, 32, isn't nearly as dominant offensively as he was earlier in his NHL career, but still brings reliable coverage in DraftKings. He has five points, 16 SOG and 18 blocks in 10 playoff games, including two assists in Game 2 against the Rangers at home. His DraftKings points-per-game average in that span (2.8) is in line with his season average. With the series shifting back to Ottawa for Game 5 on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) and top defenseman Erik Karlsson banged-up but able to play, expect Phaneuf to receive heavy usage on both ends. He plays on the second power-play unit and has 20 points in 42 career postseason games.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT ($7,400) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.6
The shot differential in the Capitals-Penguins series is severely lopsided, with Washington holding a 142-93 advantage. But it hasn't mattered with how well Fleury is playing; he's 6-0 this postseason when facing at least 35 shots and 3-0 in such games this series. Even when he lost to the Capitals in Game 3 at home, he stopped 30 of 33 shots faced for 3.0 DraftKings points. It's fair to expect a response from the Capitals facing elimination in Game 5 at home, but Fleury is somehow the cheapest of the four projected goalies Saturday despite stealing Games 1 and 2 in Washington (combined .944 SV%).
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