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: Nicklas Backstrom, WSH ($7,200)
Of the two games Friday, you're going to want to go heavy on the matchup between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs. Backstrom is $400 cheaper than Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and has been twice as productive in the series. The Capitals' top-line center has two goals, three assists and 10 shots on goal in the series (4.375 DraftKings points per game). All his points have come at even strength, and the Capitals will return home for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Verizon Center, where Backstrom had four goals and 15 assists with the man-advantage during the regular season.
VALUE CENTER: Derick Brassard, OTT ($4,500)
If you're going to stray away from Capitals-Maple Leafs, Brassard isn't a bad way to go at center. He has at least a point in the past three games, all wins by the Ottawa Senators for a 3-1 lead in their series against the Boston Bruins. Brassard has two goals, three assists and nine SOG in the series, including two power-play points. He's playing on a line with right wing Bobby Ryan, who has scored in three of four games, so chances are if Ryan can stay hot, it will lead to points for Brassard.
Video: OTT@BOS, Gm3: Brassard slams home Ryan's nice dish
TOP WING: T.J. Oshie, WSH ($6,900)
A case can obviously be made for linemate Alex Ovechkin as the top wing; he's priced highest among wings at $8,400. But Oshie has been just as productive as Ovechkin in the series; each is averaging 5.0 DraftKings points per game. Oshie has two goals, four assists and six SOG, but what has gotten him to Ovechkin's level are his six blocked shots. If you're mulling over whether to stack Ovechkin or Oshie with Backstrom, the clear choice is Oshie given his price alone.
VALUE WING: Zach Hyman, TOR ($3,700)
Hyman has been playing on a line with Matthews for much of his rookie season. That line now is the top line for the Maple Leafs, and Hyman has seen an increase in ice time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (18:40 per game) compared to the regular season (16:41). He has a point in back-to-back games (one goal, one assist) and at least 2.0 DraftKings points in each of the past three. You'll be hard-pressed to find another top-line wing for less than $4,000.
Video: WSH@TOR, Gm4: Hyman deflects shot past Holtby
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Kevin Shattenkirk, WSH ($6,000)
Shattenkirk has been relatively quiet in the series (two assists in four games). But his secondary-category coverage is what has made him an asset in the playoffs. Shattenkirk has 11 blocked shots and 17 SOG against the Maple Leafs, averaging 4.5 DraftKings points per game. The Capitals are 4-for-12 on the power play in the series, and Shattenkirk is featured on the top unit, which includes Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie. If that lethal power play shows up in Game 5, expect a solid return from Shattenkirk.
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Charlie McAvoy, BOS ($3,600)
The Bruins threw McAvoy into the fire with his first four NHL games coming in the series against the Senators. He's been up to the task, ranking second on Boston in average ice time (25:26) and first in PP ice time (3:03) per game. Though that hasn't translated into many points (one assist in four games), McAvoy has eight blocked shots and five SOG. For a rookie defenseman playing big minutes on Boston's top pair, McAvoy is priced 13th at his position in DraftKings.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Craig Anderson, OTT ($7,300)
Anderson is priced third among the four starting goaltenders Friday after he made 22 saves in a 1-0 win against the Bruins in Game 4. He's won each of his past three games against Boston to help Ottawa take a 3-1 series lead, averaging 5.15 DraftKings points per game. In the regular season and playoffs combined, Anderson is 7-1-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average and .933 save percentage with one shutout against the Bruins.
Video: OTT@BOS, Gm4: Anderson turns away Spooner late in 1st
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