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Fantasy X-factors for 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Healthy Pavelski, Svechnikov give Sharks, Hurricanes higher gear in conference finals; DeBrusk, Thomas key secondary scorers for Bruins, Blues

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

NHL.com has identified a potential X-factor from each Stanley Cup Playoff team with a high ceiling in playoff pools and FanDuel DFS contests. For more fantasy hockey coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Playoff ranks | Sleepers | Top 250

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Boston Bruins: Jake DeBrusk, F -- The Bruins left wing had points in three of the final four games against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round. DeBrusk, who plays on the second line with valuable center David Krejci, has a high shot volume (40 shots on goal in 13 games) and low shooting percentage (5.0), indicating he could have better fortunes ahead. He has no power-play points in the playoffs despite playing 1:53 per game in such situations with exposure to elite skaters Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug on the first unit. Secondary contributions from DeBrusk are important for the Bruins against a deep Carolina Hurricanes' forward group; he had two points (one goal, one assist) in two regular-season games against them.

Carolina Hurricanes: Andrei Svechnikov, F -- The No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft missed six games over the first two rounds because of a concussion but has been productive when healthy in his first postseason. He has four points (three goals, one assist) and 10 SOG in five playoff games and scored a goal on the top line with forwards Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen against the New York Islanders in Game 4. Even after a sweep, Carolina has a higher ceiling with Svechnikov healthy and in the top nine for a full series and may need to reach that gear to match the Bruins' top scorers and solve elite goalie Tuukka Rask in the Eastern Conference Final.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

San Jose Sharks: Joe Pavelski, F -- The Sharks forward made an immediate impact in his return from a head injury against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the second round with a goal and an assist in 19:49. Pavelski, who usually plays on a line with valuable center Logan Couture, was on a separate unit with center Tomas Hertl and left wing Evander Kane and in his usual spot on the first power play with exposure to the rotation of elite defensemen Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. Having Pavelski, one of the most versatile, net-front scorers in the NHL (led Sharks with 38 goals in regular season), in the lineup for a full series would create matchup nightmares for the St. Louis Blues.

St. Louis Blues: Robert Thomas, F -- The Blues rookie forward assisted on Pat Maroon's double-overtime goal against the Dallas Stars in Game 7 of the second round. Thomas, who had two assists in the deciding game, plays on the third line with Maroon and center Tyler Bozak and was an offensive factor with four points (one goal, three assists) and 12 SOG in the seven-game series. Thomas could be elevated into the top six at any time and/or spark the power play after St. Louis went 2-for-22 against Dallas in the second round. Thomas' line faces its toughest matchup yet against San Jose's third unit, which features veteran center Joe Thornton and wing Kevin Labanc, in the Western Conference Final.

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