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: Evgeni Malkin, PIT ($8,000) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
Malkin leads the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs in scoring with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in five games. He had multiple points in four of five games in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and is $400 cheaper than Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Sidney Crosby ($8,400). Malkin had six points (five goals, one assist) in four games against the Washington Capitals during the regular season (6.6 DraftKings points per game). The Capitals will likely hone in on Crosby's line, leaving Malkin and the second line with a favorable matchup.
Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Malkin slams Crosby's feed into cage
VALUE CENTER: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, OTT ($3,900) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
Pageau was relatively quiet in the first round against the Boston Bruins with one goal, 12 blocks and 10 shots on goal in six games (2.3 DraftKings points per contest). He's more of a penalty kill specialist, but that will only help him get more blocks, increasing his daily fantasy floor. Pageau did have plenty of success against the New York Rangers during the regular season, scoring five points (two goals, three assists) in three games.
Video: BOS@OTT, Gm5: Pageau goes five-hole on breakaway
TOP WING: Phil Kessel, PIT ($6,600) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
If you remember the Penguins' run to the Stanley Cup last season, you'll recall Kessel led Pittsburgh in scoring with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists). You also might recollect Kessel and the popular 'HBK line' dominating the Capitals in last year's second-round series. Kessel had six points (two goals, four assists) and 23 SOG to help Pittsburgh defeat Washington in six games. Now instead of playing with Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino, Kessel enters the series on a red-hot line with Malkin and Bryan Rust. Expect that line to fuel the Penguins, making Malkin and Kessel well worth stacking.
Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm5: Kessel snipes from circle for PPG
VALUE WING: Marcus Johansson, WSH ($4,900) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.5
Everybody continues to talk about the Stanley Cup Playoff heroics of Justin Williams and the exceptional play of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. But few realize how important Johansson has been for the Capitals this season. He scored twice, the tying goal and overtime winner, in Game 6 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs to help Washington escape the series. He finished the first round with five points (two goals, three assists) and nine SOG, and is a cost-effective forward playing in the top six of a high-powered offense.
Video: WSH@TOR, Gm6: Johansson scores two to seal the series
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Erik Karlsson, OTT ($7,500) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 7.0
Let's face it, no other defenseman in the two-game contest possesses the upside of Karlsson. For that reason, it will be tough to fade Karlsson despite the Norris Trophy finalist reportedly playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel. Karlsson had six assists and 15 SOG in the first round against the Bruins, and the Rangers will need to adjust to the Senators speed and tenacity in Game 1. Ottawa should be able to take advantage of New York on the power play, where Karlsson does a ton of damage (27 power-play points in regular season). Don't hesitate to spend up.
Video: OTT@BOS, GM 4: Ryan nets Karlsson's perfect pass
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Dmitry Orlov, WSH ($3,800) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
Of the two games Thursday, you'd expect Capitals-Penguins to be the higher-scoring one. This is usually a good thing to note prior to selecting any value plays for your fantasy lineup. Orlov is second on Washington in average ice time per game (24:59) in the playoffs. He isn't going to have exposure to the Capitals' power play, but gets some shorthanded ice time, which helps keep his block total up (16 in six games). Orlov also had two assists and 12 SOG in the first round, making him a safe, cheap option.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Craig Anderson, OTT ($7,500) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 8.8
The margin for error is small with two games and four starting goalies. But Anderson, who is third in DraftKings salary among the group, has a lot going in his favor for Game 1 against the Rangers. He won each of his two starts against New York during the regular season, stopping 51 of 52 shots with one shutout (8.6 DraftKings points per game). Anderson went 13-5-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .925 save percentage at Canadian Tire Centre during the regular season. He shouldn't see a high volume of shots from the Rangers, who were 12th in the first round at 30.2 per game.
Video: OTT@BOS, Gm6: Anderson shuts down Acciari's one-timer
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