This two-game weekend NHL slate features a pair of pivotal Game 5s, as both Conference finals are tied at two. The Predators will visit Anaheim at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, followed by a 3:00 p.m. Sunday matinee in Pittsburgh between the Senators and Penguins. While there's never a shortage of surprise heroes in the playoffs, the players below are best positioned to make a positive impact relative to price.[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest now]
John Gibson, ANH vs. NSH ($29): Gibson is the cheapest of the four starting goalies despite displaying unmatched consistency in this round. He has come up with at least 30 saves in every game against Nashville while reaching the 15.0-fantasy point mark in each contest. None of the alternative options can match either of those achievements. With the Predators having dropped three of their past four road games, owners shouldn't be sweating this matchup too much.
Goalie to Avoid
Pekka Rinne, NSH at ANH ($37): Rinne's price has been at or near the top for goalies since his superhuman first-round performance against the Blackhawks, but he has struggled to live up to his lofty $37 price since. He has averaged 12.1 fantasy points per game in 10 subsequent appearances, and just 9.1 per contest in five road starts. Another performance in line with his recent form wouldn't justify Rinne's place as this slate's most expensive option.
Rickard Rakell, ANH vs. NSH ($18):
Rakell's goal in Game 3 gave him his third three-game point streak of this postseason, and he should be able to get right back on the scoresheet after extending each of the previous two to four games. His line with Ryan Getzlaf
($27) and Jakob Silfverberg
($22) has combined for 44 points in 15 games, with Rakell providing 13 of those. Each member of the trio is worth a look, but the team's leading regular-season goal scorer (33) makes for the best value on the line thanks to his affordability.
Center to Avoid
Sidney Crosby, PIT vs. OTT ($33):
Crosby has been a complete non-factor at home since the start of the second round, with a total of 5.0 fantasy points in four appearances at PPG Paints Arena against the Capitals and Senators. While he has more than enough skill to change the narrative in a hurry, $33 is a lot to risk on the center given how well Craig Anderson
has played in net for Ottawa.
Bobby Ryan, OTT at PIT ($16):
Ryan is priced at $16 after an ineffective and injury-plagued regular season, but that valuation undersells his ability when healthy. The four-time 30-goal scorer has been firing on all cylinders in the playoffs, with five goals and 14 points in 16 games. Ryan should be in your lineup every time until his price starts to reflect his play more accurately.
Chris Kunitz, PIT vs. OTT ($12):
Kunitz is the perfect choice for owners looking to take a shot in the dark at a minimum-priced player to free up more money at other positions. The 37-year-old veteran has often looked a step slow, but his physicality and history of chemistry with Pittsburgh's stars has led coach Mike Sullivan to keep entrusting Kunitz with a top-six role. He has skated north of 15 minutes in three consecutive games, and that much time alongside Sidney Crosby
or Evgeni Malkin
is bound to lead to points before long.
Wings to Avoid
Clarke MacArthur, OTT at PIT ($17):
While Ryan is underpriced at $16, his less-skilled teammate is overpriced at $17. MacArthur has eight points in 16 playoff games, and even keeping up that pace should be difficult for a player who has topped 40 points in only three of 11 NHL seasons.
Phil Kessel, PIT vs. OTT ($25):
Kessel has failed to crack double-digit fantasy points in any of the past eight games, and he continues to see swings in playing time. His 14:46 of ice time in Game 4 marked the fifth time in this eight-game span that Kessel has been on the ice for fewer minutes than his 17:56 regular-season average. If his coach doesn't have enough confidence in the veteran winger to increase his role in moments like this, fantasy owners shouldn't feel good about using a position-high $25 on him.
P.K. Subban, NSH at ANH ($20):
Nashville's blue line had three members top 40 points in the regular season, and Anaheim's defensive strategy has allowed that group to continue producing offensively with a multitude of attempts from the point. Subban is the cheapest member of that trio, but he easily outplayed his $20 price in Game 4 by scoring a goal while tying for a game-high with six shots and leading everyone with five blocks. His ability to contribute on both ends gives Subban as much upside as anyone at his position, and he'll have plenty of opportunities to display his two-way skills as he's likely to top 25 minutes of ice time for the seventh consecutive contest.
Ian Cole, PIT vs. OTT ($13):
Cole's ability to block shots gives him a high floor, while sharing the ice with Pittsburgh's high-octane offense creates opportunities to contribute on the other end as well. He has been willing to put his body on the line all postseason, blocking multiple shots in 14 of 16 games while averaging 2.9 per contest. Factor in Cole's 26 points and plus-26 rating from the regular season, and you get a well-rounded player the likes of which are rarely available for just $1 above the minimum.
Defensemen to Avoid
Brandon Montour, ANH vs. NSH ($17):
Montour hasn't gotten much run in this series, having played just 16:56 per contest in Games 1 through 4. The heavier usage of teammates Sami Vatanen
($17) and Hampus Lindholm
($16) gives them more opportunities to rack up value without costing owners any more.
Mattias Ekholm, NSH at ANH ($17):
Ekholm has seen his price jump to $17 after scoring double-digit fantasy points in four of the past eight games, but he's unlikely to maintain that level of production considering he failed to reach double digits in any of his previous 30 appearances. The stay-at-home defenseman gets plenty of ice time, but he doesn't come close to possessing the offensive capabilities of Subban, Ryan Ellis
($21) or Roman Josi
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.