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DraftKings outlook: Lightning at Penguins, Game 1

Malkin should end scoring drought; Stralman's status alters landscape

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

NOTE: Player prices are for two-game contests spanning Thursday, May 12 (one game) and Friday, May 13 (one game).

BREAKOUT CANDIDATE:

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins ($7,000)

Malkin has 42 points in 31 regular-season games in his career against the Tampa Bay Lightning, including two assists, one block and three shots on goal in one game this season. Malkin missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Rangers before returning to score points in six straight Stanley Cup Playoff games. His point streak ended in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals, who held him without a point in the final four games of their series. Malkin had three blocks and 10 SOG in the four-game slump.

On the bright side, Malkin has 39 points in 35 games at Consol Energy Center this regular season and postseason combined. Though he's playing on a separate line from Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel at even strength, he remains a power-play threat on Pittsburgh's top unit (five of nine playoff points have come with the man-advantage). The Penguins had two days of rest between Game 6 against the Capitals on Tuesday and Game 1 against the Lightning on Friday, so expect Malkin to take advantage of the clean slate.

STEADY PERFORMER:

Nick Bonino, Pittsburgh Penguins ($5,200)

The Penguins won their series against the Capitals largely because their organizational depth and trade activity throughout the year paid enormous dividends. Bonino, who was acquired in the deal that sent Brandon Sutter to the Vancouver Canucks on July 28, 2015, had 16 points in his final 16 regular-season games and has been the Penguins' most reliable point producer in the first two playoff rounds. He has at least one point in eight of 11 postseason games and has taken Kessel and in-season trade acquisition Carl Hagelin along for the ride. Bonino, who scored the overtime goal in Game 6 to lift the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Final, is as safe a bet as you'll find per DraftKings dollar; he's ninth among centers in price even after nine points, 18 blocks and 11 SOG in his past 10 games.

INJURY WATCH:

Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning ($4,600)

Stralman has skated and taken part in full practice as he recovers from a fractured fibula. He hasn't played since March 25 and his status for Game 1 against the Penguins remains in question. If he plays, he gives the Lightning added power-play depth and a much better chance of containing the Penguins' top-nine forward arsenal. Stralman is familiar with the Penguins from his years with the New York Rangers and scored four of his nine goals this regular season in three games against Pittsburgh. He's priced third among defensemen from this series behind Kris Letang ($7,500) and Victor Hedman ($6,700), a gap large enough to make him draftable alongside either of those 'D' assets if he returns.

VALUE PICK:

Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay Lightning ($5,500)

Killorn has spent a good amount of time this spring with two-thirds of "The Triplets" line, Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. He's tied for the fourth-most points (27 in 36 games) of any player in the past two playoffs combined, trailing his current linemates and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. He has nine points, six blocks and 20 SOG for an average of 3.4 DraftKings points per contest through 10 playoff games. He had three points (one goal, two assists), two blocks and four SOG in three games against the Penguins in the regular season. This line should draw Letang and Pittsburgh's A-list defenders to begin the series, but that's no different than the other difficult matchups the Lightning's top line has faced dating back to last postseason. Killorn offers affordable DFS exposure to that elite playoff duo.

GOALIE MATCHUP:

Ben Bishop ($8,500) vs. Matt Murray ($8,400)

Bishop had the most efficient regular season of any goalie (top five in wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts) and has cruised to an 8-2 record this postseason with strong peripherals. That said, he will have his hands full if the Penguins' deeper attack overwhelms the Lightning in Game 1. Bishop was 2-0-0 with five goals allowed against the Penguins in the regular season, but it's worth noting they have become a far different beast than when he last faced them in February.

Murray, meanwhile, has never faced the Lightning but has burst onto the scene this postseason, relegating now-healthy Marc-Andre Fleury, a Stanley Cup champion, to backup duties. Murray has the best even-strength SV% (.951 in nine games) by a rookie goalie in a single postseason (minimum three games) since Ilya Bryzgalov of the Anaheim Ducks in 2005-06 (.956 in 11 games). Picking a goalie in Game 1 is a virtual toss-up, but DFS owners should opt to start Murray, who's $100 cheaper than Bishop in DraftKings and 8-1-1 with a .930 SV% at home this regular season and playoffs combined.

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