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.
NOTE: Exact prices for May 20-21 contests will be available following Game 4 of Penguins-Senators on Friday.
TOP CENTER: Sidney Crosby, PIT ($8,300) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 6.5
After being limited to one point through the first three games of the Eastern Conference Final, Crosby bounced back with two points and five shots on goal in Game 4. He carries plenty of single-game upside when the Pittsburgh Penguins return home for Game 5 against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. Injuries have decimated the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Senators defense has contained a once-dominant offense and power play. That said, fantasy owners can expect Crosby to continue making adjustments and provide more offense the deeper this series goes. Stack Crosby, who has 76 points in 70 NHL career playoff home games, with affordable linemate Conor Sheary.
Video: PIT@OTT, Gm4: Crosby slides home power-play goal
VALUE CENTER: Ryan Kesler, ANA ($5,800) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 3.0
After the three most expensive centers (Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Getzlaf), there is a sizable dropoff in price to the next player at the position. Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler has more blocks (16) than Malkin (12) and Crosby (three), giving the Ducks center a higher floor for a much more affordable price. Kesler has been strong at home this postseason with seven assists in eight games, and is eventually due for a goal at Honda Center with none on 18 SOG. Kesler is one of the few forwards in the League who can reach 4.0 DraftKings points despite not scoring a point (three blocks, five shots on goal in Game 4).
TOP WING: Filip Forsberg, NSH ($7,000) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 4.5
Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg has scored a goal in each of the four Western Conference Final games against the Ducks, leading the round in the category (four) entering Friday. He has three straight games of at least five SOG and has 19 in four games this series. He has seven points (six goals, one assist) and 36 SOG in seven games against the Ducks this season. He leads Predators forwards in ice time per game (21:03) and will likely shoulder an even heavier workload with top center Ryan Johansen (thigh) done for the playoffs. Stack Forsberg with his new center, likely Calle Jarnkrok ($3,300) or Colton Sissons ($3,200), to offset the most expensive wing. Predators center Mike Fisher (undisclosed) is uncertain for Game 5.
Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Forsberg ties game in final minute
VALUE WING: Bobby Ryan, OTT ($4,400) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.5
Senators forward Bobby Ryan is tied for third in road points this postseason (nine in eight games) behind Crosby (12) and Jake Guentzel (11). Ryan leads the Senators with three playoff overtime points and had multiple points in Games 1 and 3 of this series. He also had an assist and two SOG in Game 4 on Friday. Priced in the mid-$4,000 range yet again, don't hesitate to spend elsewhere and take your chances on one of the most resurgent playoff scorers compared to his regular-season production.
Video: PIT@OTT, Gm4: MacArthur deflects home Ryan's setup
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Cam Fowler, ANA ($4,900) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 1.0
Cam Fowler has quietly been a difference-maker for the Ducks since returning from a knee injury in the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers. He has eight points (one goal, seven assists), 22 SOG and 16 blocks in 11 playoff games for an average of 3.3 DraftKings points per game. He leads Anaheim in ice time per game (26:43) by more than two minutes and is second in power-play time (3:08 per game). He has six points (one goal, five assists) in six home playoff games.
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Mattias Ekholm, NSH ($3,600) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 3.5
Mattias Ekholm has had an outstanding series against the Ducks, totaling four assists, seven blocks and 11 SOG in four games (4.3 DraftKings points per game). That is production we've come to expect any given night from fellow Predators defensemen Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and P.K. Subban, but Ekholm is going for a fraction of the cost. He leads the Predators in even-strength ice time per game (21:43) and is one of their unsung heroes of the postseason. Expect Nashville's defense to be even more involved the rest of the way with its centers facing an uphill battle minus Johansen.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: John Gibson, ANA ($7,800) - DRAFTKINGS POINTS TOTAL: 2.0
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne entered this series with a .951 save percentage compared to John Gibson's .908, but the tables have turned rather quickly. Through four games, Gibson has a .935 SV%, compared to Rinne's .911. The Ducks have regained home-ice advantage after winning Game 4 on the road in overtime, and Gibson can be trusted at Honda Center; he's won 22 of 34 home decisions with four shutouts in the regular season and playoffs combined. He has at least 5.6 DraftKings points in seven of his past eight games, and the Predators are without the offensive player they could least afford to lose.
Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Gibson extends pad to rob Forsberg
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