This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Robin Lehner, NYI vs. PIT ($7,700): Barry Trotz has not officially named his starter, but it's likely to be Lehner, who was 5-1-0 to finish the season, including a 29-save shutout against the Caps. The Penguins have a playoff switch they can turn on no matter how inconsistent they look during the regular season, but home-ice advantage should be a big factor in this series. The Coliseum is going to be loud.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, CLS at TB ($4,900): The Lightning are supposed to win in a cakewalk, but the Jackets play a physical brand of hockey that makes them suited for the playoffs. They'll lose if they turn the game into a track meet, but if they can grind their opponents down low – an area where PLD excels and also has a size advantage over Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point – they could keep the series close. Matt Duchene ($5,600) has no track record in the playoffs.
Joe Thornton, SJ vs. VGK ($3,900): He finished the season with four assists in the final three games, giving him at least 50 points for the 17th time in his career. The future Hall of Famer may have lost a step, but he's an elite playmaker and if the Sharks want to beat the Knights, they'll need both their top line and depth scorers to pull through. This a good price for an elite playmaker who plays second-line minutes.
Evander Kane, SJ vs. VGK ($6,200): Kane was the league leader with 153 penalty minutes this season, 28 of which came against the Knights. His physical style is built for the playoffs, and in nine games last season scored four goals and collected 23 penalty minutes. The Sharks have last change on home ice, and that should put Kane is slightly more optimal situations. Joe Pavelski ($6,100) is the more reliable scorer but Kane offers more peripheral stats.
Reilly Smith, VGK at SJ ($4,900): This is a good value proposition for Smith, who's playing on his usual spot on the top line and last season led all Knights in playoff scoring with 22 points in 20 games. The Knights have a formidable second line but Gerard Gallant will likely default to Smith's line for some scoring and then give Paul Stastny's line a chance if the top line falters. The Sharks' goaltending is by far the weakest of the 16 teams.
Patrik Laine, WPG vs. STL ($4,600): He's really only effective on the power play and he's coming off a career-low 30 goals despite playing all 82 games for the second straight season. The Blues are a difficult opponent, but the hope is that playoff hockey kicks Laine's play into another gear. He scored 12 points in 17 playoff games last season so the potential is there. At home ice, hopefully the Jets can take advantage, and in three games against the Knights during the season he scored twice.
Erik Karlsson, SJ vs. VGK ($6,400): Karlsson played in the season finale, skating 22 minutes and finished with a plus-3 rating, so he's good to go for Game 1. At a $800 discount to Brent Burns, Karlsson feels like a value pick here despite being the third most expensive defenseman. His usage will skyrocket in the playoffs, and Peter DeBoer can ease him in a little bit with last change on home ice. Karlsson has 22 points in his last 25 playoff games.
P.K. Subban, NSH vs. DAL ($5,000): He had a very average regular season for his standards, but he finished the season on a strong note and the premium for Roman Josi ($6,200) just seems a tad high. Subban fired 15 shots over the final three games compared to Josi's six, and Peter Laviolette will likely lean on Josi for the more difficult matchups. The Stars are stingy but Subban also has a history of strong playoff performances.