This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Two more second-round series kick off Sunday. We have the Lightning facing the Hurricanes and the highly-anticipated battle between the Avalanche and Golden Knights. All four of these teams finished in the top 11 in goals per game this season, and don't forget the Lightning, who finished ninth, didn't have Nikita Kucherov until the playoffs. Then again, on the flip side, these four teams also finished in the top six in GAA. Will scoring win out in these matchups, or defense? The first game of the day starts at 5:00 p.m. ET, so you'll have to have your DFS lineups in by then.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TAM at CAR ($7,500): For all the consternation about the Panthers having Vasilevskiy's number, he finished his first-round series with a .929 save percentage. That was actually an improvement on the .925 save percentage he had during the regular season that might win him a Vezina. Carolina scored 3.13 goals per game, and that's quite good, but it's also fourth of the four teams playing Sunday.
Philipp Grubauer, COL vs. VGK ($8,100): If you fall on the "rust" side of "rest vs. rust" you might look elsewhere. Me, I see a goalie that hasn't played since May 23 thanks to a first-round sweep. He's facing a Vegas team that was taken to seven games and just played Friday night. If that's not enough, Grubauer had a 1.95 GAA and .922 save percentage this season.
Gabriel Landeskog, COL vs. VGK ($5,800): OK, finding offensive players to recommend in these series is tricky. Like I said, all four of these teams ranked in the top six in GAA. They all ranked in the top eight on the penalty kill. Heck, they're even all in the top nine in shots allowed per contest. In a situation like this, I look to the elite players. The Avalanche have maybe the top line in the league, and they tend to score in clusters since when one of them gets a goal, oftentimes one or both of them will get an assist. I speak of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Landeskog, of course. Landeskog has the lowest salary, so to me he has the highest upside.
Andrei Svechnikov, CAR vs. TAM ($5,200): After having 24 goals and 61 points in 68 games last season, Svechnikov had 15 goals and 42 points in 55 contests this year. Also, he notched 147 shots on net per game, and he had 23 more in the first round. Tampa technically allowed the most shots on net per contest of these four teams at 28.3, which means something when you're splitting hairs.
LINE STACK TO CONSIDER
With a line stack, I want to avoid an expensive first line if I can. I tried to find the best second line I could, and to me that came down to the Lightning or the Golden Knights. The Avalanche allowed 25.4 shots on net per game this year, fewest in the NHL by almost two shots per game. Also when it comes to goalies, Grubauer has a greater track record than rookie Alex Nedeljkovic, who did have three games in the first round where he allowed three goals or more. Thus, I'm going with the second line of Tampa Bay here.
Killorn picked up his play in the postseason, perhaps because he's skating alongside Stamkos now. The 23-year-old had four points and 18 shots on net over six games. Stamkos returned from injury for the playoffs and immediately picked up three goals and five assists. Killorn is perhaps an overlooked player, as he had 26 goals last season and 15 this season. Like Stamkos, he had eight points against the Panthers in the first round.
Shea Theodore, VGK vs. COL ($5,600): Theodore was struggling to score a bit against the Wild, but then he had two points in Game 7. It's not like he wasn't active either, as he put 25 shots on net. During the regular season he had 42 points in 53 games, including 15 with the extra man. The Avalanche had the eighth-ranked penalty kill, which is really good, but the worst of these four teams.
Jaccob Slavin, CAR vs. TAM ($3,800): Slavin returned from injury to notch three assists over the final two games of the series against the Predators. He didn't notch a ton of points, but he did put 101 shots on net in 52 games, second most among Carolina defenseman. Also, Slavin is considered one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL, and he blocked 87 shots this year.