NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL contests 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: These picks do not include the 3 p.m. ET Game 3 between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues.
TOP CENTER: Evgeni Malkin, PIT ($8,000)
Of the three centers priced higher than $8,000, Malkin is the safest bet. Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby ($8,400) broke out for 9.5 DraftKings points Friday in Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but was limited to 0.5 points in Game 1. The San Jose Sharks have done a nice job holding Oilers center Connor McDavid ($8,600) in check through two games. But Malkin has a goal, two assists, three blocks and six shots on goal in two Stanley Cup Playoff games, and draws an easier assignment from the Blue Jackets. He's still on the Penguins power play with Crosby and Phil Kessel, and is more cost effective.
Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Malkin slams Crosby's feed into cage
VALUE CENTER: Phillip Danault, MTL ($4,800)
Danault had an assist with two blocks and three SOG (4.5 DraftKings points) in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-3 overtime win against the New York Rangers in Game 2 on Friday. He's centering the top line between Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov, and played 19:58 of ice time in the win Friday. Danault has five assists, five blocks and six SOG in five games (3.1 DraftKings points per contest) against New York this season, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Given his price and spot in Montreal's lineup, Danault is an appealing tournament play.
TOP WING: Cam Atkinson, CBJ ($6,500)
Atkinson was more active in Game 2 against the Penguins, finishing with five SOG in 19:42 of ice time. His price has dipped, making him more of a value play, but his ceiling is always high given his ability to score goals. Down 2-0 in the series, expect a response from the Blue Jackets at home, where Atkinson had 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 41 games during the regular season. Atkinson will give you some variation in your lineup for use in guaranteed prize pools.
Video: CBJ@TOR: Atkinson buries SHG on the rush for lead
VALUE WING: Joel Ward, SJS ($3,800)
Through two games in the Western Conference First Round, the Sharks have had 12 power plays. San Jose is 1-for-12 on those opportunities, but it's only a matter of time before they capitalize, particularly at home. Ward scored that lone PP goal in the 3-2 overtime win in Game 1, and scored eight of his 11 goals during the regular season at SAP Center. He has three goals in the past four games dating to the regular-season finale, and his chances of getting on the scoresheet again are higher than usual.
TOP DEFENSEMAN: Shea Weber, MTL ($5,700)
Weber possesses upside given his ability to rack up points, but also is an incredibly safe play with high peripheral coverage. Through two playoff games, he has nine blocks and nine SOG, averaging 5.5 DraftKings points per game. Weber has shown that consistency against the Rangers all season, with two goals, two assists, 14 blocks and 14 SOG (4.8 DraftKings points per contest) in five games. His road splits were encouraging (25 points in 39 games) during the regular season, and is $2,300 cheaper than top-priced defenseman Brent Burns of the Sharks.
Video: OTT@MTL: Weber hammers home PPG with big slapper
VALUE DEFENSEMAN: Marc Staal, NYR ($3,000)
Staal offers little if any offensive upside. But for the price, he's a decent bargain play considering his ability to consistently block shots. Staal has three blocks in each of his past five games going back to the regular season, and he even had three SOG in the OT loss Friday. The Canadiens are averaging 44.5 SOG per game so far in the series, which only means more block opportunities for Staal.
GOALIE SPOTLIGHT: Carey Price, MTL ($7,500)
Among the six projected starting goalies Sunday, Price is fourth in salary, which seems odd given he's still considered the best goaltender in the NHL by many. The Rangers had the eighth-worst home record during the regular season (21-16-4), and Price is 4-1-0 with a .930 save percentage and 2.06 goals-against average in five games against New York this season, including the playoffs. He's 15-5-1 with a 1.82 GAA and .940 SV% in his career against New York, and should return value win or lose.
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