Fantasy owners usually can expect some players to produce at higher rates in the Stanley Cup Playoffs compared to the regular season. This first round was no different.
With data provided by DraftKings, we've been able to identify players that rose to the occasion in the opening round. The list has been narrowed down to players who have increased their DraftKings points per game average by at least .70 compared to their regular-season rates. Their average must have been at least 2.3 DraftKings points per game in the first round, and each player must have played at least half of their respective team's playoff games.
Be sure to use this list and NHL.com's daily fantasy picks for DraftKings NHL games through the end of the conference finals as a basis for your roster decision-making.
Video: Pete Jensen on rising fantasy values in Second Round
Shea Theodore (+3.09)
Nate Thompson (+2.87)
Kevin Bieksa (+2.04)
Jakob Silfverberg (+1.14)
Ryan Getzlaf (+1.12)
John Gibson (+0.93)
With Cam Fowler (knee) sidelined for the entire first round and Sami Vatanen also missing time, Theodore took over on the first power-play unit and was tied for second among defensemen in scoring with five points in four games. Center Ryan Kesler (-1.54) had a rough round offensively, but the Ducks got contributions from a depth-line forward in Thompson and veteran defenseman Bieksa (four assists in four games). Silfverberg took full advantage of first power-play usage by averaging 4.38 DraftKings points per game.
Video: ANA@CGY, Gm3: Theodore's wrister finds twine
Cam Talbot (+1.36)
Zack Kassian (+1.03)
Mark Letestu (+0.81)
Talbot earned some bonus points for his back-to-back shutouts against the San Jose Sharks in Games 2 and 3, and also held them to one goal in the series-clinching Game 6. His heavy workload (80 games in regular season and playoffs) has yet to catch up to him, making him one of the most valuable daily fantasy goalies of the year. With quiet series for top forwards Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle in the first round, the Oilers were fortunate to have Kassian (two goals) and Letestu (one goal, two assists) outperform expectations.
Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Talbot gloves Lindholm's slapper
Pekka Rinne (+5.85)
Colton Sissons (+2.49)
Ryan Ellis (+1.88)
Filip Forsberg (+1.67)
Roman Josi (+1.18)
Kevin Fiala (+1.04)
Ryan Johansen (+0.97)
Viktor Arvidsson (+0.71)
Rinne had the highest uptick in DraftKings points per game League-wide, putting forth the best save percentage (.976) in a first-round series since Patrick Lalime's .985 in 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Nashville had the most players (eight) to fit the criteria for this list, including each of their three top-line forwards in Forsberg, Johansen and Arvidsson. Ellis quietly covered points (four), blocks (13) and shots (10) as well as any defenseman in the round. Fiala, prior to his season-ending injury, was also having a breakout postseason.
Video: NSH@STL, Gm1: Rinne makes great point-blank pad stop
NEW YORK RANGERS
Henrik Lundqvist (+2.59)
Jesper Fast (+0.91)
Mika Zibanejad (+0.72)
After the worst statistical regular season of his NHL career, Lundqvist responded in a huge way to outduel Carey Price in the first round. The 35-year-old had a .947 SV% and one shutout, leading the Rangers to three straight wins with a combined four goals allowed after they trailed the series 2-1. It was a low-scoring series, but Zibanejad overcame an injury-plagued regular season to lead the Rangers in scoring (four points). Fast, a fourth-liner, gave New York an added dimension with two goals, one assist and six SOG in six games.
Video: MTL@NYR, Gm6: Lundqvist shuts down Gallagher in 1st
Bobby Ryan (+2.41)
Derick Brassard (+2.06)
Another tight, low-scoring series was the one between the Senators and Boston Bruins, but Ottawa got a tremendous boost from second-liners in Brassard and Ryan. The duo also played together on the power play with defenseman Erik Karlsson and combined for 15 points in six games with a total of eight coming on the power play. Each was better than a point per game in the playoffs after low averages in the regular season (Brassard: 0.48; Ryan: 0.40).
Video: OTT@BOS, Gm6: Ryan tips Brassard's blast past Rask
Jake Guentzel (+3.12)
Marc-Andre Fleury (+2.73)
Evgeni Malkin (+2.58)
Phil Kessel (+2.22)
Ron Hainsey (+2.17)
Bryan Rust (+1.79)
Guentzel and Rust exploded in the first round, with Guentzel leading the playoff field with five goals and Rust close behind with four. Exposure to Sidney Crosby, Malkin and Kessel continues to do wonders for their linemates' fantasy value in all formats. With Kris Letang (neck surgery) sidelined, Hainsey had three points, nine shots on goal and 13 blocks in the first round. Fleury shook off a poor regular season as Matt Murray's backup to help the Penguins defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games.
Video: PIT@CBJ, Gm4: Guentzel roofs rebound for late SHG
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Jake Allen (+3.38)
Joel Edmundson (+1.27)
Colton Parayko (+1.23)
Jaden Schwartz (+1.22)
The Blues were heavily outshot in the Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild, but Allen was quite possibly the biggest individual difference-maker in any of the eight series. His DraftKings points-per-game average skyrocketed from 4.38 in the regular season to 7.76 in the playoffs. Top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (-0.31) had a quiet first round, but the emergence of Parayko and unlikely hero Edmundson more than picked up the slack.
Video: NSH@STL, Gm1: Allen makes a pair of difficult stops
Justin Williams (+1.65)
T.J. Oshie (+1.58)
Tom Wilson (+0.94)
John Carlson (+0.79)
Dmitry Orlov (+0.79)
Braden Holtby (+0.74)
The legend of Williams has carried over into another postseason, with the veteran right wing scoring six points in as many games against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has 91 points in 133 playoff games. Oshie, tied for fourth in regular-season goals per game, was better than a point per game (seven points in six games) in the first round. Forward Tom Wilson earned a promotion to the Capitals' third line with Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky and scored three goals in six games after only seven in 82 regular-season games.
Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Williams one-times overtime winner