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DraftKings lineup: Ward dangerous in big spots

Sharks forward has seven points in 11 potential series-clinching games

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

DraftKings Daily Picks: Friday

DraftKings Daily NHL Picks for Friday

The NHL Tonight crew makes its picks for top DraftKings players for Friday night including Wayne Simmonds, Nick Bjugstad and Justin Williams

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C - Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks ($5,900)

Thornton has been a wizard behind the net during the Western Conference First Round against the Los Angeles Kings, and has a three-game point streak heading into the Sharks' potential series-clinching Game 5 at Staples Center on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, TVAS, PRIME, CSN-CA). He has 11 points in nine regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoffs games against the Kings this season. Thornton has 16 points in 23 potential series-clinching games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That includes two game-winning goals, one of which came against the Kings in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

C - Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars ($4,000)

Tyler Seguin will miss Game 5 because of injury, so Eakin will continue centering Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp on the Stars' top line against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 at American Airlines Center on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-SW, FS-N, FS-WI). Eakin was held off the scoresheet in Game 4 but had three blocked shots to keep his DFS owners afloat. He had one assist in each of the prior two games of the series, and will be in position to distribute to Benn, who has 31 home goals in 43 games this season (including playoffs), and Sharp, another high-volume shooter.

W - Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars ($6,300)

Sharp presents a middle-tier stacking threat with the low-priced Eakin. Including the playoffs, he has four goals, three assists, three blocked shots and 31 shots on goal in his past 10 games. His past two games have been polar opposites; he had two goals and seven shots on goal in Game 3 (9.5 DraftKings points) but had no points or shots on goal in Game 4. Expect Sharp to produce somewhere in between, with 3-5 SOG and at least one point as the Stars try to win Game 5 and close out the series. Sharp has eight goals and 13 points in 21 potential series-clinching games, according to Elias, and his team has won 17 of those games.

W - Joel Ward, San Jose Sharks ($4,000)

Ward has met or exceeded DFS expectations in three of the four games this series against the Kings. He had three assists, five blocked shots and six SOG in Games 1, 3 and 4. Beyond the stats from this series, Ward's playoff resume speaks volumes. He has 14 goals, 24 assists, 105 SOG, three game-winning goals and one overtime goal in 57 career postseason games. The Sharks signed him specifically to help them get over the hump in these high-pressure playoff situations. Per Elias, Ward has three goals, including one game-winning goal, and four assists in 11 potential series-clinching games.

W - Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings ($3,800)

Pearson has six points, seven blocks and 12 SOG in nine regular-season and playoff games against the Sharks this season, and will look to chip in again with the Kings facing elimination. He's playing on Los Angeles' third line, with Dustin Brown and Vincent Lecavalier, and scored in overtime in Game 3. He has five goals and 10 assists in 29 career playoff games and is a sneaky value option in DFS.

D - Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks ($8,700)

Burns is one of the most uniquely dominant offensive players in the League. Per Elias, Burns became one of three expansion-era defensemen with 350 or more SOG in a single regular season. The other two were Bobby Orr, who did it five times, and Ray Bourque, who did it twice. Burns has two goals, three assists, three power-play points, eight blocks, and 4.5 SOG per game (most among defensemen) in this series. He continues to orchestrate offense with Thornton and Joe Pavelski, and has a chance to combine on points with either forward. He has 39 points in 43 road games, including playoffs, and has 12 points, 18 blocked shots and 40 SOG in nine regular-season and playoff games against the Kings this season.

D - Kris Russell, Dallas Stars ($4,500)

Russell, known for his elite shot-blocking ability (212 in 65 games, including playoffs), looked fresh after missing Game 3 against the Wild because of an illness when he posted two power-play assists in 1:02 of power-play ice time in Game 4. He could see more ice time with the man-advantage for the Stars, who are in position to close out the Wild on Friday, and could also produce multiple blocked shots and SOG. He's tied for 17th at his position in price.

G - Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals ($8,700)

Holtby has limited the Flyers to two goals or fewer in each of the four games this series, and DFS owners can expect the Capitals to lock down defensively and try to keep Game 5 low-scoring as well. Holtby has the best playoff save percentage (.939) among active goalies with at least 20 career postseason games, and is worth spending up for as the Capitals look to advance. Holtby is the most expensive DraftKings goalie for a reason; he's 5-1-2 with a .946 save percentage in eight games against the Flyers this season, and is 27-3-3 at home this season (including playoffs). 

UTIL - Brock Nelson, New York Islanders ($4,100)

Nelson has been the Islanders' most consistent secondary scorer during the Eastern Conference First Round against the Florida Panthers. He has at least one point and multiple shots on goal in three of the four games this series. Heading into Game 5 at BB&T Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, SUN, MSG+), he has four points, seven blocked shots and 16 SOG for 3.1 DraftKings points per game in seven games against the Panthers this season (including playoffs). With defenseman Ryan Pulock out because of an upper-body injury, the Islanders could go with four forwards on their top power-play unit. Usual first-unit forward Anders Lee is out because of a broken fibula, so Nelson could see an uptick in usage with the man-advantage. He's priced 18th among centers.

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