This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Traditionally, Thursday April 15 is tax day in the United States. Of course, this is an unusual year in many ways. That extends to the NHL as well, with teams played all within their division and also the fact the regular season is still going on. There are nine games on the docket. I have some players to target, and to recommend, for your daily fantasy lineup.
Ilya Samsonov, WAS vs. BUF ($28): I think the Capitals will start Samsonov given the quality of this matchup. The Sabres have only managed 2.31 goals per game and no longer have Jack Eichel or Taylor Hall available to them. Samsonov has struggled a bit this year (2.83 GAA, .899 save percentage) and I imagine Washington want him to try and round into form for the playoffs. On that front, he did make 29 saves on 30 shots in a win in the Caps' last game.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Juuse Saros, NAS at CAR ($36): Saros has been on fire I admit, but this is about matchup and upside. The Hurricanes have averaged 3.15 goals and 32.3 shots on net per contest. They are also at home, which means Saros has to tend goal on the road. Of the goalies with higher salaries that you might typically use, I think the Finn has perhaps the roughest situation, so I would not risk it today with so many other options. Eighteen teams are playing, after all.
Mika Zibanejad, NYR vs. NJD ($29): Zibanejad has started producing against teams that aren't the Flyers recently. In fact, he has a point in three straight games, and four of his last five. Meanwhile, the Devils' GAA has risen to 3.20, in part because MacKenzie Blackwood has a 3.24 GAA and .893 save percentage in his last nine starts.
CENTER TO AVOID
Aleksander Barkov, FLA at TAM ($33): The Lightning decided to start Curtis McElhinney in their last game, and they proceeded to give up seven goals. I assume they wanted to give Andrei Vasilevskiy a chance to rest up before this game, given that the Lightning and Panthers are vying for playoff seeding in their division. Vasilevskiy has a 2.00 GAA and .932 save percentage, and that doesn't bode well for Barkov.
Jason Robertson, DAL vs. CLM ($19): Robertson has started 65.9 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, highest on the Stars now that Alexander Radulov is out for the season. The rookie has been on an offensive tear as well, tallying 14 points and 53 shots on goal in his last 16 games. Columbus has actually been surprisingly bad defensive, as it has a 3.23 GAA, which is bottom five in the league.
Anthony Mantha, WAS vs. BUF ($18): Mantha was immediately plopped down on Washington's second line after being picked up from Detroit and has even gotten some power-play time. He cashed in right away as he tallied a goal, an assist, and six shots on net in his first outing in a Capitals uniform. Sure, Philly is a good team to make your debut against, but the Sabres aren't much tougher. Buffalo has a 3.43 GAA, third highest in the NHL.
WINGS TO AVOID
David Pastrnak, BOS vs. NYI ($33): When you are talking about a player of Pastrnak's caliber, any dry spell is worth noting. The Czech has zero points in his last four games, and zero goals in his last six. Hey, at this salary that means something. Given that Semyon Varlamov has a 2.21 GAA and .922 save percentage, Pastrnak's goal drought may not lift here.
Viktor Arvidsson, NAS at CAR ($19): Arvidsson has two three-point games in his last four outings, but it's worth digging in deeper on those. One game was against the Red Wings, and the other was against Curtis McElhinney. He may have five goals in his last four contests but he has 10 goals on the season. Carolina is a different level of competition, as it has a 2.44 GAA.
Adam Fox, NYR vs. NJD ($27): The other day when these teams were squaring off I leaped at the chance to recommend Fox, because the Devils have the league's worst penalty kill and Fox has 20 points with the extra man. Well Fox didn't add to his power-play total in that game, but to be fair he also got to see zero time on the power play. Also, he still managed two assists. So yeah, I still love this matchup for Fox.
Filip Hronek, DET vs. CHI ($13): Hronek has been a real bright spot for the Red Wings this season. He's tied for the team lead with 22 points, and he's also put 90 shots on goal. That's the second most on the roster now that Mantha has been traded. Chicago has given up 33.3 shots on net per contest, and I tend to like defensemen who stay active offensively when they face off with teams that allow a lot of shots.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Seth Jones, CLM at DAL ($18): Jones has been shooting a lot more recently, though with no goals to show for it in his last 12 games. I think his shooting numbers may be down Thursday, as the Stars have only allowed 27.4 shots on goal per game. That's a big reason why Dallas has a 2.46 GAA even without Ben Bishop for the entire season.
Ryan Pulock, NYI at BOS ($17): Pulock has 24 assists in 42 games, which is impressive, but he also only has one goal. On top of that, the 30-year-old hasn't had a point in his last six contests. The Bruins are a big banged up, to be fair, but they still have only allowed 27.6 shots on net per game and have the league's best penalty kill.