This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
We're back! After many months off, the NHL is returning with the strangest version of the playoffs ever. The league has sent 12 teams from each conference to a bubble. This makes the process of deciding who to target, and who to avoid, for your daily fantasy lineup as tricky as ever. There is no home-ice advantage. The splits related to how teams perform at home and on the road don't matter. There are no hot streaks or cold streaks. Everybody is starting up anew. This is exciting, but it's also going to be weird to navigate. Nevertheless, I have recommendations for the four NHL games started at 3:00 PM ET or later. Sorry to the Hurricanes and Rangers, but that game starts at noon and I know a lot of you would have trouble getting a lineup in before that.
Sergei Bobrovsky, FLA at NYI ($24): Yes, Bobrovsky's first season in Florida has been a struggle. He had a 3.23 GAA and a .900 save percentage. However, this is a man with two Vezinas to his name. After all this time off playing on neutral ice with no fans, I wonder if maybe he looks like the Bob of old. Especially since the Islanders only averaged 29.6 shots on net per game this season.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Carey Price, MON at PIT ($31): Like Bobrovsky, Price has a sterling resume. This is a much tougher matchup than the Islanders, though. The Penguins scored 3.20 goals per game despite injuries plaguing them all season. Jake Guentzel is back. Do you remember that Jason Zucker got dealt to the Penguins? Full-strength Pittsburgh is a force to be reckoned with.
Mark Scheifele, WPG at CGY ($25): Even with 24 teams in the playoffs, there still aren't a ton of bad defenses left in the action. Six of the bottom 10 teams in terms of GAA are all at home right now. That means there aren't a ton of great matchups out there. David Rittich had a 2.97 GAA and .907 save percentage, and he doesn't have the track record of many playoff goalies. Meanwhile, Scheifele had 73 points in 71 games, the third season in a row where he's averaged a point per game.
CENTER TO AVOID
Aleksander Barkov, FLA at NYI ($27): Do you want to bet against Barry Trotz in the playoffs? The Islanders weren't as defensively stout as last year, but they still only had a 2.79 GAA. Semyon Varlamov was struggling a bit before the break, but that was months ago, and on the season he had a 2.62 GAA. Barkov is a great player, but the only centers more expensive are the dynamic duos in Edmonton and Pittsburgh.
Jordan Eberle, NYI vs. FLA ($18): I'm willing to bet on Bobrovsky given his track record, and his relatively cheap price, but let's say nothing has changed for the Panthers. They are still the team with the 3.25 GAA and the 20th-ranked penalty kill. In that case, Eberle is intriguing. He skates on New York's top line, the only line that really matters, and had 40 points in 58 games. Eleven of those points came with the extra man.
Conor Sheary, PIT vs. MON ($12): The reunion between Sheary and the Penguins was brief after he was traded by the Sabres, but in eight games he started 70.4 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone and scored four points. Also, while lineups will obviously be tinkered with a bit early, Sheary seems in line to skate with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. If that happens, the 28-year-old is in a perfect position for success.
WINGS TO AVOID
Johnny Gaudreau, CGY vs. WPG ($22): This was not the kind of season we expected from Gaudreau. The 26-year-old only managed 18 goals and 58 points in 70 games, which is not the kind of production we usually see from Johnny Hockey. On the other hand, Connor Hellebuyck has a great case for his first Vezina, as he posted a 2.57 GAA and .922 save percentage to carry the Jets to this point.
Mike Hoffman, FLA at NYI ($21): Hoffman was red hot when the NHL went on break, but it's not exactly like you can expect him to just pick up where he left off. This will be his first competitive game in months, and that's true for all his teammates as well. Hoffman tallied 21 of his 59 points on the power play. Will there be any rust from Florida's power-play unit? And can he solve an Islanders team with a 2.79 GAA, top 10 in the NHL?
Jeff Petry, MON at PIT ($18): Petry tallied double-digit goals for the third season in a row while averaging 23:39 in ice time, a career high. The Penguins are likely to rely on Matt Murray in net, given his track record of playoff success. However, he was not at his peak this season. In fact, Murray had a 2.87 GAA and .899 save percentage this year.
Justin Schultz, PIT vs. MON ($12): Hey, remember Schultz? He broke out when he joined the Penguins a couple years ago, but he had a rough season. That is, except on the power play. Schultz averaged 2:46 per game with the extra man and tallied six power-play points in 46 games. The Canadiens had the 19th-ranked penalty kill, so Schultz might be in his element in this matchup.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Mark Giordano, CGY vs. WPG ($20): Giordano followed in the footsteps of his teammate Gaudreau in terms of having a down season. He followed up his Norris-winning campaign with a mere five goals and 31 points this year. Meanwhile, Hellebuyck was at the peak of his performance this year with his .922 save percentage. That doesn't bode well for the veteran defenseman.
Duncan Keith, CHI at EDM ($18): Keith is getting by on name recognition at this point. He's still a decent player – he 27 points in 61 games – but decent players don't usually cost you this much in DFS. Plus, 11 of Keith's points came with the extra man, and the Oilers had the second-ranked penalty kill.