This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Can the Hurricanes stave off elimination in front of their home crowd? They ranked 24th in the league with 41 goals scored in the first period but rank fourth and seventh in the second and third periods, respectively, and it cost them dearly in Game 4 after trailing 1-0 after the first period and blowing a 4-2 lead in the second period. Petr Mrazek was not sharp in his second straight start, and it looks like they'll have to turn to Alex Nedeljkovic to save their season again. Game 5 is at 6:30 p.m. EDT.
In truth, the Golden Knights should be leading the series after outplaying the Avalanche the past three games. Home crowds seem to be a difference maker, and the Avs need to find their game quickly or risk blowing a 2-0 series lead. The Avs are 4-0 at home in the playoffs, but they looked a little tired and didn't have the same jump they showed in Round 1 or Game 1, and after stealing Game 2, Philipp Grubauer suddenly looks mortal. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. EDT.
Philipp Grubauer, COL vs. VGK ($8,300): The Avs lost three straight games just once during the season – that's how good they've been. We should give them the benefit of the doubt even their showing in Vegas was particularly abysmal. They've outscored their opponents 20-7 at home during the playoffs, and it's not a series until the home team loses. It looks like this series could go the distance.
Alex Nedeljkovic, CAR vs. TB ($7,400): Rod Brind'Amour said he wanted to give Nedeljkovic some rest, so let's see if that move will pay off. The rookie 'tender has had quite a workload this season and lost both home games to start the series, but both were close and could've gone either way. It'll be difficult to win three straight against Tampa, but with their backs against the wall, they should have enough to push for a Game 6.
Tyson Jost, COL vs. VGK ($3,700): The Avs are 2-0 when Jost scores a point and 0-2 when he doesn't in this series. The Avs just can't depend on their top line all the time, and with their home crowd behind them and last change on home ice, hopefully the depth scoring can get back on track. Jost's a good play with his role on PP2.
Brock McGinn, CAR vs. TB ($3,800): With Warren Foegele's status up in the air for Game 5, McGinn might be tasked with a bigger role. He's a utility winger who can move up and down the lineup with ease; it's easy to think of him as just a grinder, but he is pretty good at getting shots on net. McGinn has gone only two games without a shot on net in the playoffs.
Hurricanes vs. Lightning
With the Canes backed against a wall, look for them to lean heavily on their top line. They know Andrei Vasilevskiy can be beaten after he allowed four goals last game, and it's unlikely the Canes defense can keep the Lightning off the board. It might be a tight-checking affair, but the Canes' top line should provide most of the offensive opportunities.
Avalanche vs. Golden Knights
If you can afford to fit all three on your entry, they're a worthwhile option even though they've been quiet the past two games. They've combined for just 10 points on the road in the playoffs, but have scored 26 at home, with MacKinnon accounting for 11 of them.
Samuel Girard, COL vs. VGK ($4,700): Both Girard and Devon Toews ($4,400) remain good value plays, especially since the Avs have been so good at scoring at home. They're averaging a league-best five goals per game at home, and Girard alone has four assists in four games.
Jaccob Slavin, CAR vs. TB ($4,100): Both Slavin and Brett Pesce ($4,100) are good options if you expect the Canes to make a strong push. They'll both play plenty of minutes, and even though Slavin's season totals dipped, he's scored three points on five shots in his past two games and generally speaking offers a bit more offensive upside than Pesce.