This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
The NHL is a quarter of the way through its season. This represents an intriguing inflection point. Soon enough, the players on hot starts will either regress or show they are no fluke. The struggling skaters will either turn it around or be written off. As we keep an eye on these matters, there are only two NHL games Friday. Here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your daily fantasy hockey lineup.
Tristan Jarry, PIT vs. NJD ($31): Jarry has seen limited action this year, but he has posted a 1.99 GAA and .938 save percentage. The Penguins are on the second leg of a back-to-back, but I still like Jarry the best among potential starters Friday especially since the Devils have only scored 2.50 goals per game.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Anders Nilsson, OTT vs. NYR ($24): Nilsson has impressed with a .924 save percentage, but still sits at a mediocre 2.79 GAA. And he's struggled the last two years with save percentages of .908 and .901, respectively. Basically, I don't expect this to continue. Meanwhile, the Rangers have notched 3.37 goals per game, which ranks them top-10 in the NHL.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, OTT vs. NYR ($19) : Pageau has been on absolute fire recently, with 10 goals in his last 10 games. His 24.5 shooting percentage is sure to regress, but he should have plenty of opportunities to stay hot in this matchup. The Rangers come in with a 3.47 GAA, largely because they've allowed a whopping 35.8 shots on net per contest.
CENTER TO AVOID
Nico Hischier, NJD at PIT ($17): This is not an easy day to find players to avoid. Which, for the daily fantasy player, is probably not a bad thing. The Penguins have by far the best team GAA of the four teams in action, so I have faith in them even though they are on the second leg of a back-to-back. Being at home certainly helps on that front as well. Additionally, Hischier has struggled on the power play and the Penguins possess a top-five penalty kill.
Bryan Rust, PIT vs. NJD ($17): Rust is on the wing of Pittsburgh's top line alongside Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel, which is a great place to be. Since returning from injury, Rust has racked up 12 points in 11 games. Now he gets to take the ice against a Devils' team that maintains a 3.55 GAA.
Anthony Duclair, OTT vs. NYR ($17): Duclair has been quite active this season by putting 63 shots on net through 22 games. Given the Rangers have allowed 35.8 shots on goal a night, Duclair should get plenty of opportunities in this one. The 24-year-old has also averaged 2:58 per game on the power play, and the Rangers own a bottom-five penalty kill.
WINGS TO AVOID
Taylor Hall, NJD at PIT ($28): Hall's bad puck luck is almost unfathomable at this point. The man who once scored 39 goals in an MVP season has only two goals through 20 games this year. Eventually that should change, but Jarry has a .938 save percentage and the Penguins also rank in the top-10 in shots allowed per contest.
Chris Kreider, NYR at OTT ($17): I didn't want to just suggest avoiding Devils players Friday. Kreider has been fine with 11 points in 19 games, but hasn't been so great that you don't need to worry about him in any matchup. This could be considered a hedge against Nilsson - and his .924 save percentage - staying hot. Also, Kreider has played 4:04 per game on the power play, and the Senators are ranked in the middle of the pack on the penalty kill.
Anthony DeAngelo, NYR at OTT ($18): DeAngelo showed some potential last year when he notched 30 points in 61 games. The 23-year-old could be primed for a breakout campaign, as he's already tallied 15 points in 19 contests. He's played well enough, and the defensive options are scarce enough, that I'm happy to recommend DeAngelo against the Senators, especially since they've allowed 34.0 shots on net per contest.
Thomas Chabot, OTT vs. NYR ($17): Chabot has been snakebit, with only one goal through 22 games. However, he's put 56 shots on net, which means he's compiled an 1.8 shooting percentage. That's bound to improve. As the Rangers have allowed 35.8 shots on net per game, Chabot should have plenty of opportunities to get some better luck and maybe find the net Friday.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Jacob Trouba, NYR at OTT ($17): Yes, I've recommended one Rangers' defenseman in DeAngelo, but one I'm suggesting you avoid. It's simple, really. Trouba has been struggling this year with only one goal in 19 games and only one point - an assist - in his last 13 outings. Three of his seven points have come on the power play, and Ottawa hasn't looked terrible on the penalty kill.
Sami Vatanen, NJD at PIT ($17): Vatanen has returned from his injury, but his shooting percentage hasn't returned to reality yet. He's fired home four goals in 16 games on only 24 shots, which means he's produced a 16.7 shooting percentage. That's bound to regress. Given Pittsburgh's defensive stoutness and the play of Jarry in net, that regression could come tonight.