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NHL DFS picks, projections for Stanley Cup

Lehner has .934 save percentage in postseason; more Monday fantasy targets

by Fantasy Hockey Staff @NHLFantasy

NHL.com identifies daily fantasy hockey picks, lineup notes and strategies for FanDuel DFS contests for the 2020 Stanley Cup. For more coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Stanley Cup pool rankings | Cheat sheet

 

MON. AUG. 3

CENTER

Nick Suzuki, MTL ($4,400 vs. PIT): The Montreal Canadiens center scored a goal on three shots on goal and played an NHL career-high 23:10 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1. Suzuki ranked third among rookie forwards in points (41 in 71 games) this regular season and has an even higher ceiling this postseason.

WING

Dominik Kubalik, CHI ($5,100 vs. EDM): The Chicago Blackhawks wing, who led all rookies in goals (30) this regular season, is worth riding the hot hand after scoring five points (two goals, three assists) against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1. The Oilers had a middle-of-the-pack team save percentage in the regular season (.905; 14th in NHL) with Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen, and Kubalik is a fixture on a line with a proven postseason performer in center Jonathan Toews (113 points in 129 playoff games).

Kaapo Kakko, NYR ($3,700 vs. CAR - early-only contests): The New York Rangers rookie led them with five SOG in 15:21 against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 and also had four SOG in their exhibition on Wednesday. Although he had no goals in those games and an underwhelming regular season in mostly a bottom-six role, he has bounce-back fantasy appeal and could take on an expanded role after Jesper Fast's injury in Game 1 and with Brendan Lemieux suspended for one more game. Kakko's low DFS price can offset the high cost of drafting either elite forward Artemi Panarin or Mika Zibanejad.

DEFENSEMAN

Sami Vatanen, CAR ($4,400 vs. NYR - early-only contests): He had a power-play assist and four SOG and played 20:41 in his Hurricanes debut. Vatanen, who was acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 24 but hadn't previously played for Carolina because of injury, remains a DFS value pick on defense with elite option Dougie Hamilton likely out again in Game 2 against the New York Rangers.

GOALIE

Robin Lehner, VGK ($8,500 vs. DAL): The Vegas Golden Knights are expected to start Lehner over veteran Marc-Andre Fleury against the Dallas Stars in their first round-robin game. Lehner, who had a .920 SV% in 36 regular-season games for Vegas and Chicago, faces the Stars, who were shut out in their exhibition against the Nashville Predators on Thursday and scored the sixth fewest goals per game in the regular season (2.58). Lehner has a .934 SV% in 10 career postseason games.

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TUE. AUG. 4

CENTER

Auston Matthews, TOR: The Toronto Maple Leafs center was held without a point against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 but had six shots on goal in 24:38. He has 10 goals on 81 SOG in 21 career postseason games and is worth spending up for in a bounce-back spot in Game 2 after Toronto was shut out in the series opener. Matthews ranks second in regular-season goals (158) behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (181) since entering the NHL in 2016-17.

WING

Phil Kessel, ARI: The Arizona Coyotes right wing had two assists, one on the power play, and four SOG in 17:25 against the Nashville Predators in Game 1. Kessel, who struggled in the regular season (38 points in 70 games), played on a new top line with valuable left wing Taylor Hall and center Christian Dvorak, giving him renewed fantasy appeal. Kessel has 79 points (33 goals, 46 assists) in 88 career postseason games and won the Stanley Cup twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

DEFENSEMAN

Seth Jones, CBJ: The Blue Jackets defenseman is worth rostering based on his heavy usage (26:54) against the Maple Leafs in Game 1. Jones, who played 2:50 on the power play, did not have a point but helped Columbus dictate play on both ends in his first game since having ankle surgery on Feb. 11. Jones has 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in 28 career postseason games and is among the safest DFS plays at his position.

GOALIE

Sergei Bobrovsky, FLA: The Florida Panthers goalie had an underwhelming regular season but stopped 26 of 28 shots faced (.929 save percentage) in a loss to the New York Islanders in Game 1. Bobrovsky is 6-5 with a .925 SV% in 11 games over the past two postseasons and should get more goal support in Game 2 from an offense (3.30 goals per game, sixth) and power play (21.3, T-10th) that excelled in the regular season.

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