This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Only five NHL games Thursday? What a ripoff! In all seriousness, the return of hockey has been great so far, but this first round is coming to a conclusion. With the Hurricanes already moving on, they aren't taking the ice against the Rangers on Thursday, and we could see another series end Thursday if the Flames can beat the Jets. All that said, five games' worth of players for your DFS lineup provides plenty of options. So here are some players to target, and also some players I recommend avoiding.
Frederik Andersen, TOR at CLM ($29): I've recommended Andersen for Toronto's first two games, and I'm doing it again for Game 3. After all, it's worked so far. He's only allowed one goal across two starts, and this remains the easiest matchup any goalie is facing in this postseason. The Blue Jackets only averaged 2.57 goals per game this year, the lowest of any playoff team.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jordan Binnington, STL vs. VGK ($31): Binnington emerged last season as a rookie, posting a .927 save percentage during the regular season and helping the Blues win the Cup. This year he was still good, but his .912 save percentage was less impressive, and it was over 50 games as opposed to 32. The Golden Knights scored 3.15 goals per game this season, but that's with injuries to key players that aren't a concern right now. Plus, Vegas averaged 34.5 shots on net per contest, highest in the NHL.
Bo Horvat, VAN vs. MIN ($20): Horvat notched a goal and an assist in Vancouver's Game 2 win over Minnesota, with that goal coming with the extra man. That's not surprising, given that 12 of Horvat's regular-season goals came on the power play. It's also not surprising considering that the Wild had the 25th-ranked penalty kill.
CENTER TO AVOID
Sean Monahan, CGY at WPG ($19): Monahan had three points in Game 2, but I don't expect that kind of performance again. That's not just because Monahan only had 22 goals and 48 points this year, his worst numbers since his rookie season. I simply don't expect Connor Hellebuyck to struggle again like he did in Game 2. After all, he had a 2.57 GAA and .922 save percentage this year.
David Perron, STL vs. VGK ($22): Perron had a productive year with 60 points in 71 games, mostly due to his success on the power play. He averaged 2:59 per game with the extra man and tallied 27 power-play points. His power-play success bodes well in this matchup, as the Golden Knights had the 27th-ranked penalty kill.
Nikolaj Ehlers, WPG vs. CGY ($18): Though Ehlers didn't play much on the power play, he was still put in beneficial position much of the time. In fact, he started 61.6 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest on the Jets. That helped him notch 25 goals and 58 points even without lots of time with the extra man. The Flames finished with a 3.06 GAA this year, middle of the pack, but they also had a .906 save percentage and allowed 32.4 shots on net per contest.
WINGS TO AVOID
Max Pacioretty, VGK at STL ($30): Pacioretty didn't play in Vegas' first game of the round robin for undisclosed reasons, and it's possible he might not play here. However, if he does he may not be up to full speed. Additionally, Pacioretty's primary skill is putting shots on net, and the Blues only allowed 29.6 shots on goal per contest. It may be a slower day than usual for the 31-year-old.
Mitch Marner, TOR at CLM ($26): Marner did tally 67 points in 59 games this season, but only 16 of those were goals. In fact, he's only scored two goals in his last 20 games. He's also been held without a point in this series so far. The Blue Jackets had a 2.61 GAA this year, despite having to use three different starting goalies, so this is not an easy matchup to get going in.
Quinn Hughes, VAN at MIN ($19): Hughes is already a force with the extra man, as he registered 25 power-play points in 68 games as a rookie. Plus, he now has his first ever playoff point, and of course it came with the extra man. The Wild had the 25th-ranked penalty kill this year, as I previously mentioned, but they also had a 3.14 GAA.
Ivan Provorov, PHI vs. WAS ($18): Provorov stepped up this year offensively to notch 13 goals and 23 assists in 69 games. The Russian was helped by the fact this was his first season getting real power-play time, as he averaged 3:03 with the extra man. That helped him tally 16 power-play points. With Ilya Samsonov out for the playoffs, the Capitals have no choice but to start Braden Holtby, who had a 3.11 GAA and .897 save percentage this season.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
John Carlson, WAS at PHI ($29): Carlson was fantastic this year, which is what makes him so expensive. In this matchup, I consider him prohibitively expensive. I was curious how Carter Hart would perform in the bubble. After all, he had a 1.63 GAA at home and a 3.81 GAA on the road this year. However, in the first game in the bubble Hart made 34 saves on 35 shots. That's a tiny sample size, sure, but it was still encouraging.
Colton Parayko, STL vs. VGK ($17): When you look at the Golden Knights' overall goaltending numbers, you have to remember that Malcolm Subban played in 20 games for Vegas before being traded to Chicago. In those games he had a 3.18 GAA and .890 save percentage. He's now been replaced by Robin Lehner, who had a .920 save percentage. That's not good for Parayko, who also did not excel on the power play. That means it's unlikely he can take advantage of Vegas' penalty kill.